Monday, July 11, 2011

U.S. v. Quinzon (9th Cir. - July 11, 2011)

I agree that it's a hassle to have your computer activities monitored.  That's pretty intrusive.  It provides a pretty good glimpse into lots of aspects of your life.

But Quinzon should have thought of that before he downloaded child pornography.  Once you've done that, it's a pretty reasonable probation restriction.  We want to make sure you don't reoffend, and that's a pretty good way to do so.

I also liked what the panel did here.  The district court's order was imprecise and potentially very broad.  Understandably so, since computer technology will evolve, and the conditions at issue will start in 2016 and end in 2046.  Who knows what computers (or the internet) will look like then?  Not me, that's for sure.  Nor the district court, which wanted to have a flexible order that could accommodate such changes during the period it was in effect.

Some sorts of monitoring would be unnecessarily intrusive, such as programs that took a snapshot of what's on your computer every second or so.  So what the Ninth Circuit did was to interpret the restriction so it only applied to monitor Quinzon's connections to the internet.  Which makes sense, since that's the conduct for which Quinzon was convicted.  If he wants to write a diary on his personal computer, or use an electric calculator, that need not be monitored (though they can be searched randomly by the probation office if they want).  That makes sense.

A nice, reasonable adjudication.