First District Holds Probation Condition Requiring Client To Turn Over Social Media Passwords is Overbroad

First District Holds Electronic Probation Condition is Overbroad.

In the published opinion of In re Malik J., A143355, the First District held that a probation condition imposed by the delinquency court that required the minor to provide all social media passwords and submit to searches of electronic devices was overbroad. In this case, the client was already on juvenile probation. When he subsequently entered an admission to a violation of probation for several arrests involving robberies and possession of marijuana, none of which involved the use of social media or any electronic devices, the court ordered the him to turn over to probation his passwords to all social media sites and authorized warrantless searches of electronic devices in his custody and control. The appellate court ordered modification of this condition, reasoning that:

Even though a juvenile court has broad discretion to formulate probation conditions, a probation condition is invalid if it: “(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.” (People v. Lent (1975) 15 Cal.3d 481, 486.) In addition, a juvenile court may not adopt probation conditions that are constitutionally vague or overbroad. Here, the court found that the minor’s use of social media had no relationship to the crimes at hand.

In short, the electronics condition is ordered modified to omit reference to Malik’s family and passwords to social media sites, and to authorize warrantless searches of electronicdevices in Malik’s custody and control only after the device has been disabled from any internet or cellular connection and without utilizing specialized equipment designed to retrieve deleted information that is not readily accessible to users of the device.

Congratulations to FDAP Panel Attorney Nathan Siedman and Deputy Public Defender Kara Portnow of the Alameda County Public Defender’s Office!

Here is the decision: