Friday, July 6, 2018
Court of Appeal:
Judge Had Good Cause to Disbelieve Youth’s Account of ‘Unintentional’ Probation Breach
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The First District Court of Appeal has found good reason for a judge to disbelieve a juvenile probationer’s assertion that his failure to charge his ankle monitoring device was not willful, and that he just happened to wind up, during a period when his whereabouts couldn’t be tracked, at a school other than the one he attended where a student’s wallet was stolen.
Writing for Div. Two, Presiding Justice J. Anthony Kline, said that a Contra Costa Superior Court judge “reasonably found appellant’s testimony less credible than the evidence that demonstrated the willfulness of his probation violation.” The opinion, filed Tuesday, was not certified for publication.
The boy, “D.Y.,” was found last year to have committed a second degree robbery and was sent home, with a condition that he wear, and keep charged, an ankle monitor for 60 days. After that time elapsed, the device was removed—but was put back on after he committed a probation breach by using drugs.
Arrested for Theft
One day later, D.Y. was arrested for the theft, which took place during a five-hour period when the ankle device was not charged. He insisted the charger was on when he went to bed the night before but must have become dislodged, and when he was at school the next morning and saw the device blinking, indicating it needed to be plugged into an outlet, he couldn’t do anything about it.
The youth said he did not have the charger with him, and could not have brought it because backpacks were not allowed on the school grounds.
He went inside another school, D.Y. explained, because he needed to use the lavatory. A boy accused him of stealing his wallet but, he maintained, the allegation was false.
The Probation Department charged two probation violations: the theft and allowing the device to be unpowered. D.Y. was ordered committed to a youth rehabilitation facility, and appealed on the ground that the evidence did not support a finding that his failure to charge the monitoring device was intentional.
“We find, contrary to appellant’s claim, that a great deal of evidence was presented at the hearing from which the court could infer that appellant’s probation violation was willful. First, despite his claim that he did not receive sufficiently detailed instruction on how and when to charge the ankle monitor, the evidence shows that he had successfully completed more than 60 days of ankle monitoring shortly before the current violation.”
“The evidence also shows that the day he had failed, for the first time, to properly charge the monitor, appellant did not inform high school staff or his probation officer of his predicament. Instead, he went to a school he did not attend—itself a probation violation—during the hours he could not be monitored and stole a wallet from a student’s pocket. Plainly, the court was not required to believe this was all a coincidence or to credit appellant’s testimony that the failure to charge the ankle monitor was accidental.”
The case is In re D.Y., A153093.
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