Law School Case Brief
In re Nathan W. - 205 Cal. App. 3d 1496, 253 Cal. Rptr. 312 (1988)
In choosing the least restrictive placement and leaving the minor in the parental home on probation, the juvenile court does not take the minor away from a parent's physical custody. Instead, the minor remains home on probation in his parents' physical custody. However, when a court determines a minor's welfare requires physical custody be taken from the parent or guardian, Cal. R. Ct. 1372(b)(3) requires the additional finding that continued custody by the parent or guardian would be detrimental to the minor.
The juvenile court, after sustaining drunk driving allegations against the minor Nathan W., made him a ward of the juvenile court and placed him on probation in the physical custody of his parents. On appeal, Nathan W. claimed that the court's disposition order was erroneous because the court removed him from his parents' custody. While it found his welfare required his custody be taken from his parents, he argued that the court committed a reversible error when it failed to find under California Rules of Court, rule 1372(b)(3) that continued parental custody would have been detrimental to the appellant.
Did the court commit a reversible error when it failed to find under California Rules of Court, rule 1372(b)(3) that continued parental custody would be detrimental to the appellant minor, who was a juvenile offender?
The Court of Appeal of California rejected appellant minor's contention that he was removed from the custody of his parents without the juvenile court having found under applicable rules of court that continued parental custody would be detrimental to the minor. The Court affirmed the judgment that made the minor, as a juvenile offender, a ward of the juvenile court. The Court held that the juvenile court did not err in failing to make a finding that continued parental custody would have been detrimental, because the orders did not remove the minor from his parents' physical custody and did not amount to confinement. The Court held that, although the juvenile court placed the minor in the care, custody, and control of the county probation department for placement in the home of his parents, the custody awarded to the probation department was only the minor's legal custody, and there was therefore no need for a finding of detriment.
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