IN RE D.S.

No. C081440.

In re D.S., a Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. D.S., Defendant and Appellant.

Court of Appeals of California, Third District, San Joaquin.


NOT TO BE PUBLISHED

California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115

BUTZ, J.

Following a contested jurisdiction hearing, the juvenile court found that minor D.S. vandalized property in violation of Penal Code section 594, subdivision (a)(2).1 The court reduced the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor and declared the minor a ward of the court pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 602. The court ordered the minor to serve 20 days in the juvenile detention center with credit for two days served and the remaining days of detention suspended pending a successful school review. The minor was released to his parents and ordered to comply with various probation conditions upon completion of his commitment to the juvenile detention center.

On appeal, the minor contends there is insufficient evidence in the record to support the juvenile court's finding that he committed misdemeanor vandalism. We reject this contention and affirm the judgment.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On May 25, 2015, two Stockton police officers were dispatched to a residence in response to a report of trespassing. Upon their arrival, a neighbor advised Officer Jesus Cortes that the residence was for sale and vacant, and that she had recently seen people going in and out of the residence. When the officers entered the residence, the lights were on and the minor was sleeping in one of the rooms. In that room, Officer Cortes saw stains on the carpet and holes in the walls. Officer Cortes also noticed that some of the cabinet doors in the kitchen were off their hinges and some were missing.

When Officer Cortes asked the minor about the damage to the residence, the minor admitted he had removed a window screen so he and his friend could get inside the residence. He also admitted he had been at the residence for the last four days and had stained the carpet, but denied damaging the walls. The minor claimed his friends had vandalized the residence. However, he did not tell Officer Cortes the names of those individuals.

On September 24, 2015, a juvenile wardship petition (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 602) was filed, charging the minor with one count of felony vandalism (Pen. Code, § 594, subd. (a)(2)) and one count of misdemeanor unauthorized entry of property (id., § 602.5). At the contested jurisdiction hearing, the minor testified he had stayed at the residence for only two days prior to his arrest, and that other people had been inside the residence. The minor admitted that he had accidently spilled some noodles on the carpet, and that the room he was found in had holes in the walls. The minor, however, denied he damaged the walls. He further claimed that while he did not see anyone damage the residence, he knew someone who had. He also claimed he told the police the names of his friends who had been inside the residence. The homeowner testified that she spent approximately $3,500 to fix the damage to her residence, which included cleaning the bathroom, removing trash and dirt from the residence, fixing holes in the walls, removing stains from the carpet, and replacing a refrigerator that had been stolen.

At the conclusion of the jurisdiction hearing, the juvenile court found the allegations in the petition to be true but reduced the vandalism charge from a felony to a misdemeanor. At the dispositional hearing, the court adjudged the minor a ward of the court and ordered him to serve 20 days in the juvenile detention center with credit for two days served. The court also ordered that the minor participate in the juvenile work program for seven days. The court suspended the remaining 18 days of detention pending a successful school review. The minor was released to his parents and ordered to comply with various probation conditions upon completion of his commitment to the juvenile detention center.

The minor filed a timely notice of appeal.

DISCUSSION

The minor contends there is insufficient evidence in the record to support the juvenile court's finding that he committed vandalism. We disagree.

1.0 Standard of Review

"Our review of [a minor's] substantial evidence claim is governed by the same standard applicable to adult criminal cases. [Citation.] `In reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence, we must determine "whether, after viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt." [Citation.]' [Citation.] `"[O]ur role on appeal is a limited one." [Citation.] Under the substantial evidence rule, we must presume in support of the judgment the existence of every fact that the trier of fact could reasonably have deduced from the evidence. [Citation.] Thus, if the circumstances reasonably justify the trier of fact's findings, the opinion of the reviewing court that the circumstances might also reasonably be reconciled with a contrary finding does not warrant reversal of the judgment.'" (In re V.V. (2011) 51 Cal.4th 1020, 1026.) Reversal is not warranted unless it appears that upon no hypothesis whatever is there sufficient substantial evidence to support the adjudication. (People v. Bolin (1998) 18 Cal.4th 297, 331.)

2.0 Substantial Evidence Supports the Vandalism Adjudication

A person who maliciously defaces, damages, or destroys any real or personal property not his own is guilty of vandalism. (§ 594, subd. (a).) If the defacement, damage, or destruction amounts to $400 or more, the crime can be classified as either a felony or misdemeanor. (§ 594, subd. (b)(1).) If the defacement, damage, or destruction is less than $400, it must be classified as a misdemeanor. (§ 594, subd. (b)(2).)

Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, we conclude substantial evidence supports the juvenile court's finding. The minor admitted he stayed in the residence for at least two days and stained the carpet. We reject the minor's contention that reversal is warranted because there is no evidence he acted maliciously in damaging the carpet or otherwise intentionally damaged the residence. To support his claim that he stained the carpet on accident, the minor cites his own testimony. The juvenile court, however, was not required to believe the minor's testimony. (People v. Thomas (1951) 103 Cal.App.2d 669, 672.) Further, vandalism is a general intent crime and the requisite mens rea can be demonstrated by proof the defendant intended to do the act that caused the resulting harm. (See People v. Kurtenbach (2012) 204 Cal.App.4th 1264, 1282 [concluding that jury could find that defendant acted maliciously based on his commission of any wrongful act that caused damage]; see also People v. Atkins (2001) 25 Cal.4th 76, 85-86 [explaining the difference between general and specific intent in the context of the arson statute].) Here, the minor's unlawful act was intentionally entering another person's residence without permission. During the commission of that unlawful act, he caused damage to the residence. Accordingly, there was proof that the minor maliciously damaged another person's property.

The minor's reliance on In re Leanna W. (2004) 120 Cal.App.4th 735 is misplaced. The minor in Leanna W. was charged with burglary and vandalism of her grandmother's house. (Id. at p. 737.) While her grandmother was out of town, the minor entered her grandmother's house without permission and threw a party with at least 30 to 40 people. (Id. at pp. 737-739.) During the party, utilities and alcohol were used, a boxing match and several adult movies were ordered from a cable provider, jewelry, a television stand, and money were stolen, and the premises were damaged. (Id. at pp. 739-740.) The damages to the home included "damage to the master bedroom door, blood on the bedroom sheets, broken glass on the interior floor, two missing long-stemmed drinking glasses, a chipped kitchen floor tile, and a liquid spill on the carpet. Beds were remade, furniture and items on it moved, drawers gone through, and the window screens moved or damaged." (Id. at p. 740.) The juvenile court found true the allegations of burglary and vandalism, but the Court of Appeal reversed, concluding the evidence was insufficient to support the juvenile court's findings (id. at p. 738) based on the "critical deficiency [of] the lack of evidence of what [the minor] did while she was in her grandmother's home" (id. at p. 740). Here, in contrast, there was evidence of what the minor did inside the residence that linked him to the vandalism, including direct evidence that he damaged the carpet.

DISPOSITION

The juvenile court's order is affirmed.

HULL, Acting P. J. and RENNER, J., concurs.

FootNotes


1. Undesignated statutory references are to the Penal Code.

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