In re D.L.: Good Language on Waiver
A case from the Third District Court of Appeal certified for publication yesterday, In re D.L. (C067525), contains some interesting and potentially useful language on waiver. The case concerns the juvenile court’s failure to hold a hearing consider the appellant’s suitability for deferred entry of judgment. There does not appear to have been any objection below, and one might suppose there would be a waiver problem on appeal. But no:
we cannot agree with the People’s claims that D.L.’s failure to object to the “summary nature of the court proceeding” and the lack of express findings forfeits his claims on appeal. This response misses the point of D.L.’s complaint. The complaint is not that the court did not state its reasons on the record, but rather that the court failed in its mandatory duty to conduct a hearing and consider, in addition to the information provided by the prosecuting attorney and probation department, “any other relevant material provided by the child or other interested parties.” (Rule 5.800(f).) In the absence of even notice that a hearing on D.L.’s DEJ suitability was proceeding on a particular date, the court cannot have met its obligations. The cases cited by the People on waiver are inapposite as they involve a court’s failure to state reasons for its discretionary choices. (People v. Scott (1994) 9 Cal.4th 331, 353; People v. Zuniga (1996) 46 Cal.App.4th 81, 84.) This case does not involve a failure to state reasons fora discretionary choice, or an abuse of discretion at all. This case involves the failure of the court to fulfill its mandatory duty to consider D.L.’s suitability for DEJ. A finding of forfeiture is inappropriate in these circumstances. (See In re Luis F. (2009) 177 Cal.App.4th 176, 183-184.)
Emphasis added. That language suggesting that there is no need for an objection when the court has failed to fulfill a mandatory duty may be helpful in avoiding getting lumped into People v. Scott-type waiver scenarios.