People v. Hall, F041176.

CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
Decision Date30 July 2003
Docket NumberF041176.
PartiesTHE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. EDWARD LEE HALL, Defendant and Appellant.

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THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
EDWARD LEE HALL, Defendant and Appellant.
Court of Appeals of California, Fifth Appellate District.
Filed July 30, 2003.

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Fresno County. W. Kent Hamlin, Judge. Super. Ct. No. F96911155-0.


Rodney Richard Jones, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.

Bill Lockyer, Attorney General, Robert R. Anderson, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Jo Graves, Assistant Attorney General, Carlos A. Martinez and J. Robert Jibson, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

Before Vartabedian, Acting P.J., Buckley, J., and Cornell, J.


Appellant Edward Lee Hall contends the proceedings instituted to revoke his probation violated his right to due process under law.

Hall pled nolo contendere on October 30, 1996, to one count of lewd and lascivious acts on a child under age 14 (Pen. Code, § 288, subd. (a)). Under

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the terms of the plea agreement, Hall was sentenced to a suspended prison term of eight years with five years probation. On December 3, 1996, the trial court imposed sentence pursuant to the terms of the plea agreement.

Based on an arrest warrant issued on October 17, 2001, Hall was placed in custody on November 6, 2001. There was an allegation Hall violated the conditions of his probation by failing to complete a treatment program for sexual offenders. On November 28, 2001, Hall admitted he violated probation. The court reinstated probation on the condition Hall serve 75 days in jail and remain on probation an additional year until December 3, 2002.1

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On March 18, 2002, Hall appeared in court for a new felony violation. The matter was continued until March 29, 2002. The clerk's transcript from the March 29, 2002, hearing notes Hall violated probation. A felony complaint had apparently been filed as case No. 670754-1 and trailed. The matter was continued twice more until May 29, 2002, when the trial court dismissed the violation of probation allegation on the recommendation of the probation department.

On June 6, 2002, the prosecutor filed a petition requesting reinstatement of the violation of probation. According to the petition, the felony charge in case No. 670754-1 was dismissed with the understanding the People would proceed instead on a violation of probation. The district attorney responsible for Hall's case stated in the petition that she was absent during the May 29, 2002, hearing and Hall's violation of probation action was dismissed inadvertently. She also stated that the criminal action was dismissed against Hall with the understanding the People would proceed on the violation of probation action. On June 11, 2002, Hall denied he violated probation.

The evidence at the contested probation revocation hearing showed

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Hall beat, stomped, choked, and kicked Alice E. with whom he had lived for six years. Alice went to the hospital by ambulance. Her neck and eyes were bruised and her ribs were in pain. One officer who interviewed the victim at the hospital did not notice any serious injuries. A second officer who saw the victim two days after the incident noticed her eyes were red and bloodshot and her cheeks were swollen.

Hall denied striking the victim. Hall admitted they argued over the victim's use of drugs and alcohol with two other men while Hall was away.

The trial court found Hall violated the terms of his probation by failing to obey all laws. The court denied Hall's request for reinstatement of probation and lifted the stay of his eight-year sentence.


Hall contends he was not given proper notice of the allegations against him and was denied due process under law. Hall argues the trial court lacked jurisdiction to revoke his probation once the petition to revoke probation was dismissed on May 29, 2002. Hall also argues the prosecution's dismissal of the criminal charge of domestic violence was arbitrary and an abuse of its charging discretion because it lead to a greater

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prison term for the revocation of his probation than it would have had he been prosecuted for domestic violence.

A. Notice

Hall argues the proceedings against him were improper because the prosecutor failed to provide him with written notice of the allegations against him. Hall points out the written petition for reinstating the probation revocation proceedings does not have a file stamp on it and there is no evidence demonstrating it was officially filed in this action.2

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Written notice of a probation violation is constitutionally mandated. (Morrissey v. Brewer (1972) 408 U.S. 471, 33 L. Ed. 2d 484, 92 S. Ct. 2593; People v. Vickers (1972) 8 Cal.3d 451, 457-459, 105 Cal. Rptr. 305, 503 P.2d 1313.) Failure to give a defendant written notice of a probation violation is a reversible deprivation of a defendant's due process rights. (People v. Hackler (1993) 13 Cal.App.4th 1049, 1054, fn. 5; In re Moss (1985) 175 Cal. App. 3d 913, 929, 221 Cal. Rptr. 645.)

Though the absence of the file stamp on the People's petition is troubling, it is not dispositive of the issue of whether Hall had notice of the allegations. The probation revocation hearing commenced on July 23, 2002. At the beginning of the hearing, the trial court noted there had been an in-chambers conference with the parties. The court stated it was not considering...

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