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Name: People v. Stapleton
Case #: E064824
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 03/16/2017

In light of circumstances suggesting need for oversight, trial court did not abuse its discretion in imposing residency-related probation conditions. Defendant stole less than $950 worth of property from a Target store. He pleaded guilty to petty theft with a prior (Pen. Code, § 666) and admitted allegations that he was required to register as a sex offender (Pen. Code, § 290). The trial court placed defendant on probation and imposed a condition requiring defendant to reside at a residence approved by the probation officer, not move without the probation officer’s prior approval, and give written notice to his probation officer 24 hours before changing his residence. On appeal, defendant challenged the residency conditions as overbroad. Held: Affirmed. Trial courts have broad discretion to impose probation conditions that are reasonably related to the reformation and rehabilitation of the probationer. In People v. Bauer (1989) 211 Cal.App.3d 937, the court struck a probation condition aimed at preventing the defendant from living with his parents, in violation of the defendant’s right to travel and freedom of association. Unlike in Bauer, where there was no evidence connecting the defendant’s living situation to his crime or future criminality, here the circumstances of defendant’s case suggest a need for oversight, based on defendant’s mental health and substance abuse issues, and lengthy criminal record. Because where defendant lives will directly affect his rehabilitation, the residency conditions are reasonably related to defendant’s reformation and rehabilitation, and the court did not err in imposing the conditions. The court disagreed with defendant’s assertion that the challenged restrictions will make it difficult for him to find a place to live, noting that under People v. Olguin (2008) 45 Cal.4th 375, 382-383, his probation officer would not be able to withhold approval of defendant’s residence for arbitrary or capricious reasons.

Target stores stay-away probation condition is constitutional. Because of defendant’s history of stealing from Target stores, the trial court imposed a probation condition prohibiting defendant from having direct or indirect contact with Target stores and Target parking lots. On appeal, defendant argued the condition is overbroad and restricts his right to travel. The court disagreed. Although defendants placed on probation retain their constitutional right to travel, reasonable and incidental restrictions on their movement are permissible. (People v. Moran (2016) 1 Cal.5th 398, 406.) In Moran, the California Supreme Court upheld a similar probation condition prohibiting the defendant from contact with Home Depot stores and parking lots, reasoning that the resulting restriction on the defendant’s movement was too de minimis to implicate his constitutional right to travel and did not curtail his movement in any meaningful way. Moran forecloses defendant’s challenge to the Target stay-away condition in the instant case.

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