In re M.R.: Truancy Courts Must Now Strictly Follow the Code of Civil Procedure Before Incarcerating Youth For Contempt

In a decision on September 27, 2013, the First District Court of Appeal held that a juvenile court must comply with the contempt provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure before ordering the secure confinement of a contemptuous habitual truant. These contempt procedures, applicable to adults, must now be applied to children in truancy cases,  requiring an affidavit, an order to show cause, a hearing, and proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Because the contempt proceeding in this case was not instituted by an affidavit and there was no issuance or service of an order to show cause, the M.R. court held the juvenile court’s order void and declared it annulled. The case is In re M.R. (Sept. 27, 2013, A137586) __Cal.App.4th__ [2013 WL 5422898], litigated by PJDC member Richard Braucher on appeal.  PJDC member Dominique Pinkney represented M.R. in the juvenile court and litigated and preserved the issue for appeal.