Skip to content
Name: People v. Hall
Case #: S227193
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 02/09/2017
Summary

Probation terms barring defendant’s possession of firearms and illegal drugs need not contain an express scienter provision because the terms implicitly include a knowledge requirement. Hall was convicted of possessing cocaine base for sale (Health & Saf. Code, § 11351.5) and was granted probation. For the first time on appeal, he challenged two conditions of his probation barring his possession and use of illegal drugs and firearms as unconstitutionally vague. The Court of Appeal affirmed. Review was granted. Held: Affirmed. A probation condition is valid if it relates to the crime for which the defendant was convicted, relates to other criminal conduct, or requires or forbids conduct that is reasonably related to future criminality. To withstand a vagueness challenge, a probation condition must be sufficiently definite to inform the defendant what conduct is prohibited or required of him and to enable the trial court to determine whether the probationer has violated a term. “Revocation of probation typically requires proof that the probation violation was willful” and case law has construed probation terms barring possession of contraband to require knowledge of its presence and its restricted nature. In an analogous context, criminal statutes are generally presumed to include some form of mens rea despite their failure to expressly articulate it. Therefore, Hall’s probation terms prohibiting him from possessing guns or illegal drugs are properly construed as prohibiting him from knowingly possessing, owning, using or controlling such items. The inclusion of an express scienter requirement is not constitutionally compelled.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S227193.PDF