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Name: People v. Holzmann
Case #: H044507
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 01/05/2018
Summary

A condition of probation ordering the defendant to “stay away from” a certain location without specifying a distance is not unconstitutionally vague. The defendant pleaded no contest to stalking his ex-wife and was granted probation. One of the conditions of his probation was that he must “stay away from the Apple campus.” On appeal, he argued that the condition was too vague to provide adequate notice of what he was required to do, and was therefore unconstitutional. Held: Affirmed. Probation conditions are unconstitutional if they are not sufficiently precise for the probationer to know what is required of him or her. The Court of Appeal concluded that the condition expresses in ordinary language what the defendant must do to comply with it. The common sense meaning of “stay away” in this context is “do not go to or enter” the identified location. The court did not accept the Attorney General’s concession, based on People v. Barajas (2011) 198 Cal.App.4th 748, that a stay away order without a distance is unconstitutionally vague and must be modified to indicate how close to a specified location a defendant may come. Barajas addressed the constitutionality of prohibiting the defendant from being “adjacent to any school campus” by modifying the term to specify “on or within 50 feet of any school campus.” The court here concluded that the resolution in Barajas was simply one approach, and did not endorse the conclusion in Barajas that “adjacent to” even needed further clarification. The failure to include a specified distance in the condition did not make it vague. Additionally, even though the condition did not more specifically define the “Apple campus,” it was not vague because “campus” is understandable enough. Because any violation of the condition would have to be willful, he would not violate his probation if he did not know he was within the Apple campus.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/H044507.PDF