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Name: People v. Brandao
Case #: H037871
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 10/24/2012

A no-gang-contact probation condition is unreasonable and invalid under state law when it has no connection to the defendant’s crime and the defendant has no current or prior gang ties. Appellant, convicted by his plea of no contest to possession of methamphetamine, was granted three years probation. The trial court imposed a no-gang-contact term of probation. On appeal, appellant claimed the condition resulted in a violation of his First Amendment rights and was error under state law. The appellate court found that appellant had not waived the claim because he objected to the condition prior to its imposition. Further, the claim was not forfeited as a result of trial counsel’s failure to state a constitutional ground because counsel was not provided a full opportunity to state the basis for the objection before the condition was imposed. The court, applying state law, found that the condition was invalid because it was not reasonably related to future criminality and did not fall within the trial court’s authority to impose reasonable conditions to rehabilitate a probationer. (People v. Lent (1975) 15 Cal.3d 481; Pen. Code, § 1203.1, subd. (j).) The offense of conviction had no connection to gangs. Further, there was nothing in the record indicating that appellant had any current or prior ties to criminal street gangs, that there were any family ties to gangs, or that appellant had any criminal history showing or strongly suggesting a gang tie. Because the court granted relief under state law, it did not address the constitutional issue.