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Court of Appeal, Second District, California.

IN RE: SANTIAGO N., a Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. SANTIAGO N., Defendant and Appellant.


Decided: January 20, 2011


Santiago N. (minor) appeals from a judgment sustaining petitions under Welfare and Institutions Code section 602.1  His appointed counsel filed a brief pursuant to People v. Wende (1979) 25 Cal.3d 436 (Wende ), raising no issues.   On October 20, 2010, we notified minor of his counsel's brief and gave him leave to file, within 30 days, his own brief or letter stating any grounds or argument he might wish to have considered.   That time has elapsed, and minor has submitted no brief or letter.   We have reviewed the entire record, and finding no arguable issues, affirm the judgment.

In 2009, when minor was 15 years old, the People filed a petition pursuant to section 602 to bring him within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court.   The petition alleged felony possession of cocaine in count 1, and misdemeanor possession of marijuana in count 2. Minor admitted the allegations, and the court found them to be true, but deferred entry of judgment, placed minor on probation for 12 to 36 months, upon specified terms and conditions, and released him to his father.   The court found the maximum confinement period under section 726, subdivision (c), to be three years and set a hearing on the deferred entry of judgment for August 19, 2010.

In June 2010, the probation officer filed a report recommending that the juvenile court proceed to disposition and suitable placement, due to minor's persistent violation of numerous conditions of probation.   The report included the written statements of family members, as well as minor himself, describing some of his problem behavior.   Based upon the report, the juvenile court revoked probation, detained minor in a juvenile hall, and calendared a disposition hearing.

In the meantime, the People filed a second petition which alleged that on April 1, 2010, minor disobeyed a court order (a gang injunction), in violation of Penal Code section 166, subdivision (a)(4), a misdemeanor (contempt).   The petition was thereafter amended by striking the contempt allegation, and inserting count 2 which alleged that on the same date, minor possessed marijuana for sale, in violation of Health and Safety Code section 11359, a felony.

Minor denied the allegations, and the contested adjudication hearing went forward July 13, 2010, with the testimony of Los Angeles Police Department officers, who testified that on April 1, 2010, they saw minor seated in the driver's seat of a parked car, with another young man, Rodriguez, in the passenger seat.   A third person, Tavares, was standing in the street, leaning into the car through the front passenger side window conversing with minor and Rodriguez.   The officers recognized Tavares, who was known as both a gang member and a narcotics user.   Narcotics activity was suspected.

Officers approached the car, spoke to Tavares, and looked into the car.   Rodriguez and minor were patted down for weapons.   In the car officers saw a pile of one-inch by one-inch plastic baggies, including one that appeared to contain marijuana.

The officers then conducted a search of the car.   Under the front passenger seat, they found what appeared to be marijuana, and on the driver's seat, they found a scale.

After waiving his Miranda 2 rights, minor said that he and Rodriguez had come to the area to buy marijuana.   Minor claimed that he had bought the scale for his father, who was a jeweler, and lent it to Rodriguez to weigh the marijuana they purchased from an unknown white man.   Minor told the officers that he paid $15 for his share, and intended to take it to a party to share with some friends.

The total amount of marijuana found by the officers was 3.67 grams, and each one-inch or “dime bag” would hold approximately .20 grams of marijuana.   The officers were of the expert opinion that the marijuana was possessed for the purpose of sale.

Minor denied that he intended to sell any of the marijuana.   He claimed that he was going to smoke it with other people at a party, and denied knowing what Rodriguez intended to do with his share of the marijuana.   His friends had given him marijuana in the past, so he thought he would repay them and build goodwill, in case of his own future need.   He and his friends had an understanding that marijuana would occasionally be shared in this way.

Minor testified that Rodriguez needed a scale to weigh their purchase and avoid being cheated.   He explained that because his father, a jeweler, had lost his scale and needed one, he intended to give it to him--although his father had not asked him to get a scale.

The juvenile court found that minor had aided and abetted the possession of marijuana for sale, based upon the evidence that there were baggies in the car, minor drove to the location, provided the scale, and was present while the marijuana was weighed.   The court found that minor's story--buying the scale for his father and lending it to Rodriguez to avoid being cheated--was too convoluted to be believed.   The court noted that the purchase of 3.67 grams would yield 18 dime bags, which could be sold for $180, a significant amount of money for the minor.   The court inferred that minor and Rodriguez intended to sell dime bags of marijuana at the party.

Thus, the juvenile court found count 2 of the petition to be true, and sustained the amended petition.   The court found count 2 of the amended petition and count 1 of the 2009 petition to be felonies.   After reading and considering the probation report, the court revoked the deferred entry of judgment as to the 2009 petition, and declared minor to be a dependent of the juvenile court.

The court ordered suitable placement, imposed the same terms and conditions as the order entered August 20, 2009, and recommended a facility with intensive drug counseling and a school.   The court noted that minor had been arrested June 7, 2010, found the maximum confinement time to be three years eight months, and awarded 37 days of custody credit.   Minor was ordered to give a DNA sample.

We conclude that minor has, by virtue of counsel's compliance with the Wende procedure and our review of the record, received adequate and effective appellate review of the judgment entered against him in this case.   (Smith v. Robbins (2000) 528 U.S. 259, 278;  People v. Kelly (2006) 40 Cal.4th 106, 112-113.)




FN1. All further references are to the Welfare and Institutions Code, unless otherwise indicated..  FN1. All further references are to the Welfare and Institutions Code, unless otherwise indicated.

FN2. See Miranda v. Arizona (1966) 384 U.S. 436..  FN2. See Miranda v. Arizona (1966) 384 U.S. 436.