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Name: People v. Gonsalves
Case #: A159031
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 06/30/2021

Probation condition prohibiting defendant from associating with persons with a known “criminal record” is unconstitutionally vague and overbroad. A jury found defendant guilty of misdemeanor grand theft (Pen. Code, § 484e, subd. (d)) and felony fraudulent possession of personal information (Pen. Code, § 530.5, subd. (c)(3)). The trial court placed defendant on probation for three years and, as relevant here, imposed a probation condition forbidding him from associating with any persons known to him to have a “criminal record.” Defendant appealed. Held: Probation condition reversed. The right of association is constitutional but “may be restricted if reasonably necessary to accomplish the essential needs of the state and public order.” A probation condition that imposes limitations on a person’s constitutional rights must closely tailor those limitations to the purpose of the condition to avoid being invalidated as unconstitutionally overbroad. To withstand a vagueness challenge, a probation condition must be sufficiently precise for probationers to know what is required of them, and for the court to determine whether the condition has been violated. The term “criminal record” is impermissibly vague because it has no settled meaning and may include a record of an arrest resulting in no charge or conviction. The ambiguity is not cured by a requirement that defendant “know” of an associate’s “criminal record,” as the inherent vagueness of what constitutes a “criminal record” remains. Further, by broadly encompassing a prohibition on association with persons having mere arrest histories without charge or conviction, the condition is not carefully tailored to the government’s interests in rehabilitating defendant and protecting the public. The condition must be reversed. However, on remand, the trial court may consider imposing an association condition that takes into account all factors bearing on the reasonableness and proportionality of the condition, including temporal and other considerations. [Editor’s Note: In the unpublished portion of the opinion, the court concluded defendant’s three year probation term must be reduced in accordance with Assembly Bill No. 1950.]

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: