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Name: In re J.B.
Case #: A144396
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 11/25/2015
Summary

Juvenile probation condition that permitted search of minor’s electronics was invalid under People v. Lent. J.B. admitted an allegation in a juvenile delinquency petition that he committed a petty theft (stealing a shirt from Sears) and was placed on probation. Over J.B.’s objection, the juvenile court imposed a condition that required him to submit to a search of his “electronics including [his] passwords.” Later, J.B. moved to delete the condition. The court denied the motion, explaining that J.B. could have used the Internet to plan the theft, and that minors use the Internet to buy and sell drugs and brag about their drug use. The court also noted the connection between J.B.’s phone and his poor attendance and performance at school. J.B. appealed. Held: Condition stricken. Although juvenile courts have broad discretion to fashion probation conditions, a condition is invalid under People v. Lent (1975) 15 Cal.3d 481 if it (1) has no relationship to the crime of which the offender was convicted, (2) relates to conduct which is not in itself criminal, and (3) requires or forbids conduct which is not reasonably related to future criminality. The electronics search condition here clearly met the first two Lent factors because there was no evidence that J.B. used electronics or social media to commit the petty theft and the use of electronic devices and social media is not itself criminal. As to the third Lent factor, the Court of Appeal here followed the reasoning in In re Erica R. (2015) 240 Cal.App.4th 907 to conclude that there was no connection between J.B.’s use of electronic devices and his past or potential future criminal activity. The court distinguished In re Malik J. (2015) 240 Cal.App.4th 896, 901 and People v. Ebertowski (2014) 228 Cal.App.4th 1170, 1173-1176, and disagreed with In re Ricardo P. (2015) 241 Cal.App.4th 676 and In re Patrick F. (2015) 242 Cal.App.4th 104.