Bobby Dale and Judith Ann Young, turned in to police by their teen-age daughter for alleged narcotics abuse, asked Tuesday to be placed in a drug education and rehabilitation program.
The Tustin couple appeared in Central Orange County Municipal Court not only to ask Judge Manuel A. Ramirez's permission to apply for the diversion program but also to enter not guilty pleas to charges of possessing cocaine.
With the agreement of Deputy Dist. Atty. James J. Mulgrew, Ramirez approved the application and ordered the couple to return to court Nov. 6 when it will be determined if they qualify for the program based on an investigation by the county Probation Department.
The Youngs' request is not an admission of guilt, the attorney for the mother stressed.
"It doesn't really matter whether they are innocent or guilty," said William Gamble of Santa Ana. "They're concerned about having this on their record.
"The benefit (of the program) is that if they complete it, this will be taken off their records and they will be able to lawfully answer under oath at any time in the future that they have never been arrested for a narcotics violation," he said.
Gamble said the program is "a smart thing to do rather than taking a chance on a jury trial" on the narcotics charges in which there would be no guarantee they would be acquitted.
"Even if they were found innocent, they still couldn't say they had never been arrested," he said.
The Youngs were catapulted into the national limelight after their 13-year-old daughter, Deanna, walked into the Tustin police station Aug. 12 with a trash bag containing about an ounce of cocaine--with a street value estimated at $2,800--and drug packaging equipment, small amounts of marijuana and pills.
The girl told officers she was turning in her parents after being inspired by an anti-drugs lecture she had heard earlier at a community church.
At the time of their arrests the father operated a construction company and worked at a Santa Ana tavern. His wife was a clerk in the federal bankruptcy court in Santa Ana.
Following Tuesday's hearing, Judith Young declined to answer most of the questions by reporters waiting outside the courtroom, saying she would probably have more to say after the Nov. 6 hearing.
She did admit, however, that she was "very relieved" that Ramirez had approved the request for a diversion program. She also said the family has still not been able to return to the home they had been renting in Tustin because of all the attention the case has generated.
Her husband evaded reporters by ducking down a back stairway in the courthouse.
Although Deanna was taken into protective custody when she turned her parents in, the family was reunited Aug. 21 after a Juvenile Court judge ordered the girl released from Orangewood, the county's home for abused or neglected children.
And earlier this month, the same judge dismissed a petition by the county Social Services Agency that had accused the Youngs of failing to exert proper parental control.
On Tuesday, Gamble said the family has been "getting along very well."