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Name: In re Erica R.
Case #: A143215
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 09/28/2015
Summary

Where there was no evidence connecting minor’s usage of electronic devices or social media to her offense or future criminal conduct, probation condition allowing warrantless search of electronics was unreasonable. A school counselor found dozens of ecstasy pills in minor Erica’s purse and called police. Erica admitted a misdemeanor possession of ecstasy allegation in a Welfare and Institutions Code section 602 petition. At the disposition hearing the juvenile court adjudged her a ward and placed her on probation subject to numerous terms, including that she submit to searches of her electronics. The juvenile court informed her that this included providing the probation officer with all her electronic passwords. Erica objected to the condition and challenged it on appeal. Held: Electronic search condition stricken. While a juvenile court’s discretion to impose probation conditions is broad, it is not unlimited. A condition of probation is valid unless it (1) has no relationship to the crime of which the offender was convicted, (2) related to conduct which is not in itself criminal, and (3) requires or forbids conduct which is not reasonably related to future criminality. (People v. Lent (1975) 15 Cal.3d 481, 486.) Here, the electronic search condition was invalid under Lent. First, the condition had no relationship to the crime Erica committed as there was nothing in the record that connected Erica’s usage of electronic devices or social media to her possession of illegal substances. Second, the use of electronic devices and social media is not itself criminal. (In re D.G. (2010) 187 Cal.App.4th 47, 52.) Finally, there was nothing in the record demonstrating Erica had a predisposition to use electronic devices or social media in connection with criminal activity and, as a result, the condition was not reasonably related to future criminality.