Criminal Defense Attorneys - Sonoma County - People vs. Bryant

The Sonoma County criminal defense lawyer at Adams Fietz has reviewed the case of People v. Bryant, filed May 2, 2017 by the Court of Appeal. At issue was a condition of mandatory supervision that the defendant submit to searches of text messages, emails, and photographs on any cellular phone or other electronic device in his possession or residence. He contended that the requirement is invalid under People v. Lent (1975) 15 Cal.3d 481, 486 (Lent) and was unconstitutionally overbroad. The Court agreed and struck the condition.

The court sentenced Bryant pursuant to subdivision (h) of section 1170. Under that statute, the court has discretion “to impose a hybrid or split sentence consisting of county jail followed by a period of mandatory supervision.” (People v. Catalan (2014) 228 Cal.App.4th 173, 178. During the period of mandatory supervision, “the defendant shall be supervised by the county probation officer in accordance with the terms, conditions, and procedures generally applicable to persons placed on probation.” Although mandatory supervision is comparable in some ways to probation, it is not identical. (See People v. Martinez (2014) 226 Cal.App.4th 759, 762-763.) A defendant who is offered probation, for example, may refuse probation if he “ ‘finds the conditions of probation more onerous than the sentence he would otherwise face.’ ” (People v. Moran (2016) 1 Cal.5th 398, 403). In contrast to a defendant who is given probation, however, a defendant may not refuse mandatory supervision. (People v. Rahbari (2014) 232 Cal.App.4th 185, 194‑195.)

Courts generally have “broad discretion in fashioning terms of supervised release, in order to foster the reformation and rehabilitation of the offender, while protecting public safety.” (People v. Martinez, supra, 226 Cal.App.4th 759, 764.) Under a test announced in Lent, supra, 15 Cal.3d 481, however, a court abuses its discretion when it imposes a term or condition that “ ‘(1) has no relationship to the crime of which the offender was convicted, (2) relates to conduct which is not in itself criminal, and (3) requires or forbids conduct which is not reasonably related to future criminality . . . .’ [Citation.]” (Id. at p. 486; see People v. Martinez, supra, 226 Cal.App.4th at p. 764 [applying Lent test to mandatory supervision terms]; People v. Relkin (2016) 6 Cal.App.5th 1188, 1194 [same].) “This test is conjunctive—all three prongs must be satisfied before a reviewing court will invalidate a . . . term.” (People v. Olguin (2008) 45 Cal.4th 375, 379 (Olguin); In re J.B. (2015) 242 Cal.App.4th 749, 754.)

Whether an electronic search condition is reasonably related to preventing future criminality depends upon on the facts and circumstances in each case. The Santa Rosa CA criminal defense attorneys at Adams Fietz offer Free Consultations on all criminal matters.