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Name: Alex O. v. Superior Court
Case #: D053979
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 05/27/2009
Summary

A condition of probation imposed by the juvenile court which restricted the re-entry of the juvenile, a U.S. citizen living in Mexico, to the United States is essentially banishment and is unconstitutional as it did not relate to the crime committed or to future criminality. Alex O., an American citizen, had lived in Mexico with his mother, a Mexican citizen, for approximately three and a half years. He had no significant relationship with his father, an American citizen, who resided in the United States. In 2008, 17-year-old Alex O. attempted to enter the United States at the border crossing but was stopped and searched and found in possession of a large quantity of marijuana. He stated that a friend in Mexico had paid him to transport the marijuana across the border. He admitted possessing the marijuana for sale and was declared a ward of the court and placed on probation with a condition requiring him to live with his mother and not enter the U. S. except for specified reasons, i.e., school, employment, etc. The condition, which essentially resulted in banishment, infringed on Alex O.’s constitutional right to freedom of travel, association, and assembly. Although the juvenile court has broad authority to impose probation conditions, when they restrict constitutionally protected rights, they must relate to the offense, to future criminality, or have a rehabilitative purpose, and must be narrowly drawn. Here, since there was no relationship to the crime, which began in Tijuana and ended at the border, the limit on Alex O.’s right to enter the U.S. is unreasonable and because it is not narrowly drawn, it is also unconstitutional and must be vacated.