In re Jay J.

66 Cal. App. 3d 631, 136 Cal. Rptr. 125 (1977)

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In re Jay J.

California Court of Appeal
66 Cal. App. 3d 631, 136 Cal. Rptr. 125 (1977)

Facts

California law permitted juvenile-court judges to appoint adjudicatory officials called referees, who were required to have the same qualifications as judges. After hearing a matter, the referee made recommended findings of fact, which a juvenile-court judge could choose to adopt. Judges could review transcripts of hearings, but juveniles had the right to a full de novo trial before a judge only if the hearing before the referee had not been reported and transcribed. The state (plaintiff) filed a wardship petition in juvenile court alleging that Jay J. (defendant) had fired a gun inside a house. A referee heard the matter, which turned on witness testimony and credibility, and the matter was recorded and transcribed. The referee found that the allegation was true, and Jay moved the court for a full de novo hearing before a judge. The judge denied Jay’s motion, and Jay was placed under state supervision. Jay appealed, arguing that his right to procedural due process required a judge to determine witness credibility by hearing the matter firsthand in a full de novo hearing, rather than by reading the transcript.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Thompson, J.)

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