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Name: In re Christopher M.
Case #: D044090
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 03/17/2005

The minor was found to be a ward of the court pursuant to a petition which charged him with a robbery which was found to be a hate crime. The juvenile court placed him on probation with conditions including one which required disclosure of his psychiatric and medical records pertaining to his treatment. On appeal, the minor argued that the condition was unnecessary and overbroad, and violated his constitutional right to privacy. The appellate court rejected the argument. The probation condition were reasonable and tailored to fit the minor’s needs. Both the nature of the offenses and the probation report showed that the minor had deep-seated psychological problems. The disclosure of his treatment records would assist the court in determining whether the minor was complying with probation and whether the treatment was succeeding in helping him overcome his problems. Although the minor had a privacy interest in the records, the state had a legitimate countervailing interest in protecting the public. Further, the condition did not violate the psychotherapist-patient privilege because the court acted under the authority of Evidence Code section 1012 and avoided unnecessary disclosure of the communications.