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In re Gregory S.
California Court of Appeal
85 Cal. App. 3d 206, 149 Cal. Rptr. 216 (1978)
Gregory S. (defendant) was 13 years old and weighed around 95 pounds. Gregory routinely hung out with older boys. Gregory was with some of these older boys when they all kidnapped, robbed, and assaulted a 15-year-old boy. Gregory was charged in juvenile court and convicted. Gregory had a history of violence and had indicated a willingness to run away from a low-security setting if he was unhappy there. However, Gregory had also exhibited indications that he would benefit from a structured environment like a group home. Gregory’s probation officer recommended that Gregory be sent to a specific group home that could closely supervise Gregory and provide him with a positive adult-male role model. The probation officer expressed concern that if Gregory were sent to the state’s juvenile lockup facility, the Youth Authority, Gregory’s small size and young age would mean that he would either (1) be the victim of sexual or other assaults or (2) align with older, tougher juvenile criminals for protection and learn to become a better criminal. Thus, although there was a risk that Gregory might escape from the group home, the probation officer believed that the risk was low and was strongly outweighed by the benefit to Gregory of being placed in a group home instead of in lockup. The prosecution (plaintiff) argued that there was no perfect option for Gregory and that he should be sent to the Youth Authority to protect the public. The juvenile court found that Gregory needed to be locked up for the public’s safety and that Gregory might benefit from the Youth Authority’s educational program. The juvenile court then committed Gregory to the Youth Authority, and Gregory appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Paras, J.)
Concurrence (Reynoso, J.)
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