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In re J.E.

California Court of Appeals, First District, Fourth Division

July 20, 2016

In re J.E., a Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law.
v.
J.E., Defendant and Appellant THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,

[REVIEW GRANTED BY CAL. SUPREME COURT]

          Superior Court of Alameda County, No. SJ15024169, Leopoldo E. Dorado, Judge.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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         COUNSEL

         Sejal H. Patel, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.

         Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General, Gerald A. Engler, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Jeffrey M. Laurence, Assistant Attorney General, Donna M. Provenzano and Hanna Chung, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

         Opinion by Rivera, J., with Ruvolo, P. J., and Reardon, J., concurring.

          OPINION

          [205 Cal.Rptr.3d 31] RIVERA, J.

          J.E. (Minor) appeals from a post-dispositional order denying his motion to remove an electronic search probation condition imposed upon his plea to misdemeanor second degree burglary (Pen. Code,[1] § 459). Minor contends the probation condition requiring him to submit his electronic devices to search upon the request of a probation officer or peace officer is invalid under People v. Lent (1975) 15 Cal.3d 481');">15 Cal.3d 481 [124 Cal.Rptr. 905, 541 P.2d 545] ( Lent ). He also contends the condition is unconstitutionally overbroad and that it risks violating California's Invasion of Privacy Act (§ 632). We affirm.

         I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND[2]

         The underlying factual basis for the plea stemmed from Minor's involvement in a burglary with two of his friends. They entered an Oakland home

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through a back window and rear door and took a watch, a camera, and loose change from a large jar. A neighbor reported the burglary, and Minor and his friends were apprehended a few blocks away. Upon his arrest, the police found approximately $50 in loose change in Minor's backpack.

         The dispositional hearing was held on March 19, 2015. The dispositional report noted that Minor had a " difficult" relationship with his mother after previously residing with his grandmother and that Minor admitted he had experimented with drugs and alcohol in the past; Minor began smoking marijuana when he was nine years old and had begun smoking it almost daily, including the date of his arrest.[3] He began drinking alcohol approximately a year earlier, but reported his last drink had been on Christmas 2014. Minor also experimented with Xanax and " syrup," a mixture of codeine cough syrup, soda, and Jolly Ranchers, in summer of 2014. Minor denied involvement in gangs, but said he associated with members of the Norteños gang a year prior to his arrest.

         Additionally, the dispositional report showed Minor was in danger of failing most of his middle school classes. Minor did not turn in classwork or attend his classes regularly. He also had various suspensions and reprimands for behavioral issues, including refusing to go to his workshops after class, cursing at the school principal and his staff, taking a knife and other contraband to school, and having gang-related graffiti in his locker; matching graffiti was also found on the wall around the corner from Minor's locker.

         The juvenile court placed Minor under the supervision of the probation department and imposed various probation conditions, including a 6:00 p.m. curfew, a no-contact order as to the victim and Minor's co-offenders, and conditions that Minor be on time and attend school on a regular basis, complete his schoolwork, remain drug free, submit to regular drug testing, and submit to a search of his person, residence, vehicles, containers, and " electronics, including passwords, at the request of a Probation Officer or peace officer." Counsel for Minor objected to the electronic search condition and indicated that she would file a motion on the issue.

         On April 3, 2015, Minor filed a motion to delete the electronic search condition. He argued the condition was invalid because " there is absolutely no evidence in the [205 Cal.Rptr.3d 32] record to support the conclusion that the minor's use of an electronic device and/or social media account was either one of the reasons that the minor committed the instant offense, or that requiring the minor to submit to a warrantless search of the minor's electronic devices and/or social media accounts would in any way prevent the minor from committing an offense in the future."

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         On April 28, 2015, the juvenile court held a hearing to address Minor's progress. The court expressed concerns over Minor testing positive for THC, as well as Minor's failing grades in school.

         On May 29, 2015, the court denied Minor's motion to delete the electronic search condition. The court reasoned that Minor was " a classic case of why the electronic [search] condition is a necessity [because], as was basically alluded to, he has some fairly substantial drug issues." The court further stated, " The Court is very well aware, from experience, that our minors typically communicate much more with their electronics than they do face-to-face. In fact, it's very typical to see minors sitting at a table together, and they're on their electronics. ... So, clearly their main method of communication is through the electronics.

         " [I]f we can ... supervise the minor, we need to use the electronics to make sure we can monitor the purchase, or sales, usage [of drugs]. There's a lot of minors who like to put the photographs of themselves on the internet, showing themselves with marijuana, with paraphernalia, smoking marijuana, smoking drugs, using other drugs. [¶ ] So, this is a really critical element in our ability to supervise our minors, and this is from the Court's experience with minors, experience with adult[s], but more particularly with minors. [¶ ] If we're going to, at all, ever be able to supervise the minor appropriately with drug ...


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