Children Under Fourteen Delinquent In California

California cases have rejected even the limited dicta in Planned Parenthood suggesting that children under fourteen could not be found delinquent for having violated the statute prohibiting lewd and lascivious acts with a child. For example, in In re Jerry M., 59 Cal. App. 4th 289, 69 Cal. Rptr. 2d 148, 151-52 (Ct. App. 1997), the court concluded that an eleven-year-old child could be subject to delinquency proceedings for having committed lewd and lascivious acts against older children. In so ruling, the court noted that, notwithstanding the dictum in Planned Parenthood, several courts had concluded that minors under fourteen years of age could be adjudicated as delinquents for having committed lewd and lascivious acts against other children. See 69 Cal. Rptr. 2d at 151. Similarly, the court in In re Paul C., 221 Cal. App. 3d 43, 270 Cal. Rptr. 369, 372-73 (Ct. App. 1990), rejected the implication in Planned Parenthood that children under fourteen could never be perpetrators under a statute prohibiting "any person" from committing a lewd and lascivious act with a child. In the court's view, the fact that consent could not be used as a defense to having violated the statute did not mean that all children under fourteen are incapable of understanding the wrongdoing of their sexual conduct and thus not subject to delinquency proceedings. See 226 Cal. Rptr. at 373-74. In short, Planned Parenthood does not support the majority's holding that juveniles under sixteen cannot be adjudicated as delinquents for having committed statutory rape. The California court's decision protecting juveniles from dissemination of information concerning their sexual practices is not "the equivalent of recognizing a right to engage in such practices." In re T.A.J., 62 Cal. App. 4th 1350, 73 Cal. Rptr. 2d 331, 336 (Ct. App. 1998).