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Name: In re Sheena K.
Case #: S123980
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 03/15/2007

A constitutional challenge to a probation condition based on its overbreadth and vagueness can be raised for the first time on appeal. Appellant was adjudicated a ward of the juvenile court and placed on probation subject to conditions, including that she “not associate with anyone disapproved of by probation.” Although she did not object to the condition at disposition, on appeal, she contended that it restricted her association and was vague and overbroad. The appellate court declined to apply the doctrine of forfeiture on appeal and concluded that the probation condition was overbroad as it stood. The appellate court modified the condition to require that the defendant have knowledge that the probation officer disapproved of a particular associate, and upheld the condition as so modified. The California Supreme Court granted review to resolve the conflict among appellate courts concerning whether the waiver doctrine applies to a challenge to a condition of probation, raised for the first time on appeal, when it is based on a contention that the condition is unconstitutional because it is vague or overbroad. The Court held that appellant’s constitutional challenge to her probation condition was not forfeited despite her failure to object. The Court warned, however, that this conclusion does not apply in every case in which a probation condition is challenged on a constitutional ground, but only to those which present pure questions of law which can be resolved without reference to the particular sentencing record developed in the trial court. Further, the condition was vague and overbroad, but, as modified by the appellate court, it satisfied constitutional requirements. [Proceedings were abated, however, due to appellant’s death while the case was pending.]