Probation Conditions Allowing Searches of Electronics

A number of trial courts have been imposing electronic search conditions and defense attorneys have been challenging the conditions. This has led to many published appellate decisions addressing the validity of these electronic search conditions, and the California Supreme Court has granted review of this issue (see below). We developed this page to assist appointed counsel with challenging these electronic search conditions on appeal.

We will post additional resources and sample briefing as they become available.

Pending Issues in the California Supreme Court

Did the trial court err by imposing an "electronics search condition" on the juvenile as a condition of his probation when that condition had no relationship to the crimes he committed but was justified on appeal as reasonably related to future criminality under People v. Olguin (2008) 45 Cal.4th 375 because it would facilitate the juvenile's supervision? (In re Ricardo P. (2015) 241 Cal.App.4th 676, review granted 2/17/2016 (S230923/A144149).)

Third District

In People v. Valdivia (Nov. 8, 2017, C082622) __ Cal.App.5th __, the Third DCA agreed with appellant's argument that, on the facts of his case, "the electronic storage device search condition is unconstitutionally overbroad because its potential impact on his Fourth Amendment rights exceeds what is reasonably necessary to serve the government's legitimate interest in ensuring that he complies with the terms of his probation." The court also determined that the electronic storage device search condition was not unreasonable under People v. Lent (1975) 15 Cal.3d 481, and was not unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment. The decision is available here (external link to PDF).


Recent Developments in Digital Privacy: Fourth Amendment and Probation Conditions (from the 2016 SDAP seminar) (external link to PDF)

Sample Briefing

SAMPLES CAVEAT: Counsel should consider whether a given sample is the best or the only approach to take in any given case, and are encouraged to make further, hopefully even better, arguments. CCAP provides these samples simply as possible options to consider before deciding the best tactical approach for a given case/client. Counsel's strategy will necessarily differ depending upon the circumstances and juncture of each case. Finally, CCAP encourages counsel to review the articles and memos provided by the projects to understand the full scope of possible options and considerations.

Sample briefing arguing that juvenile probation condition allowing searches of electronics is invalid under People v. Lent (1975) 15 Cal.3d 481. (PDF)

Sample briefing from In re D.H., A147361 provided curtesy of panel attorney Leah Spero.