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Probation Condition Restricting Pets at Residence Held Overbroad

The California Court of Appeal, District 4, held that a probation condition requiring informing a probation officer of any pets in the probationer?s residence was invalid because it was overbroad.

Reyes Quintero pled guilty to methamphetamine possession and was sentenced to probation. One of the terms of probation was that Quintero ?keep the probation officer informed of the place of residence, cohabitants and pets, and give notice ... twenty-four (24) hours prior to any changes.? Trial counsel objected to the condition as to pets, but the court overruled.

On appeal on the pet notification restriction, the court noted that Quintero?s crime did not involve pets and that there was thus no nexus between the restriction and Quintero?s criminal conviction. The state argued that the probation officer was entitled to know what dangerous pets Quintero might be harboring before attempting a probation search.

The appellate court was unimpressed. The court relied upon People v. Lent, 15 Ca1.3d 481, 486 (1975) for the legal standard for invalid probation conditions: ?A condition of probation will not be held invalid unless 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 related to future criminality.?

Applying this standard, the court easily found that there was no logical connection between Quintero?s (or a co-resident?s) possession of a pet which could lead to future criminality. Arguably, ?any pet? meant Quintero would have to notify his probation officer of the presence of a goldfish or a hamster. ?Stated another way, the pet probation condition here is not reasonably tailored to meet the objective for which it has been imposed.?

Accordingly, the trial court was ordered to strike the ?any pet? restriction. The order was without prejudice to entering a new restriction that pertained to animals dangerous to probation officers when conducting a home search. See: People v. Quintero, 49 Cal.Rptr.3d 315 (Cal.App. 4 Dist. 2006), ordered not to be published, Oct. 25, 2006.

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Related legal case

People v. Quintero