Appeals Court Throws Out Probation Condition

In the criminal case of California vs. Forrest the Appeals a Court found that a condition that the defendant stay away from weapons was unreasonable. Here are the case details:

Forrest was convicted of multiple offenses arising from an attack on her sister-in-law. On appeal, Forrest challenged three probation conditions—two prohibited the possession of weapons or any instrument used as a weapon, the third prohibited Forrest from being in the presence of weapons—as being unconstitutionally vague and/or overbroad.

Held: Affirmed as to two conditions; third condition modified. One condition prohibited Forrest from possessing weapons, including replicas. She argued that the word “replica” and inclusion of “any instrument used as a weapon” rendered the condition vague. The appellate court disagreed, concluding that the condition gives fair notice of what is prohibited and that reasonable persons would understand the condition when read in context. Further, the condition prohibiting possession of a weapon is not overbroad because it fails to contain an exception for transitory possession of a weapon for self-defense. When a probationer has been convicted of a violent crime, imposition of a strict probation condition prohibiting possession of weapons is essential to public safety and it is reasonable to exclude a reference to self-defense to ensure that Forrest does not believe she is permitted to own or possess a weapon in anticipation of the possible need for self-defense. The third condition, prohibiting Forrest from being in the presence of weapons, should be modified to restrict her presence at locations where weapons are illegally present, given the widespread presence of arm security guards in buildings and other locals. As currently worded, the term impinges on her freedom of association, and her access to courts. Further, it is not narrowly tailored to safeguard these fundamental rights while restricting her conduct in a way that is designed to protect public safety. Thanks CCAP.

About thetorranceattorney

Matthew Ruff is a Torrance criminal defense attorney located near the 405 freeway on Crenshaw Blvd. Focusing on DUI and serious criminal cases for over twenty years. In addition to criminal cases, Matthew also defends clients at the DMV.
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