People v. Pinon

Decision Date15 December 2016
Docket NumberG051212
Citation6 Cal.App.5th 956,211 Cal.Rptr.3d 787
CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
Parties The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Jamie Manuel PINON, Defendant and Appellant.

Robert Booher, San Diego, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.

Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General, Julie L. Garland, Assistant Attorney General, Eric A. Swenson, Lynne G. McGinnis and Kristine A. Gutierrez, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

OPINION

IKOLA, J.

This appeal arises from defendant Jamie Manuel Pinon's petition to be resentenced pursuant to Penal Code section 1170.18,1 a part of the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act adopted by the voters as Proposition 47. It is presently on remand to this court from the California Supreme Court. In our previous opinion, we held: (1) defendant was still serving his sentence while on Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS) and was thus subject resentencing under section 1170.18, subdivision (b), including a one-year period of parole under subdivision (d); (2) defendant is entitled to apply any excess custody credits against his period of parole; (3) the parole term may not exceed the remaining time on defendant's term of PRCS; (4) the court's sentence did not violate the prohibition against multiple punishment for indivisible offenses (§ 654); and (5) defendant was exempt from registering as a drug offender. The California Supreme Court granted review of our decision and held it pending the outcome of People v. Morales (2016) 63 Cal.4th 399, 203 Cal.Rptr.3d 130, 371 P.3d 592 (Morales ). In Morales , the high court held that excess custody credits do not reduce the one-year parole period. (Id . at p. 403, 203 Cal.Rptr.3d 130, 371 P.3d 592.) The Supreme Court then transferred this case back to this court with directions to vacate our decision and reconsider it in light of Morales . Morales addressed the issue arising under our second holding in this case—whether excess custody credits could be applied to the parole period imposed under Proposition 47. It did not address the issues arising under the first, third, fourth, and fifth holdings of our prior opinion.

We now reaffirm our original holdings on the issues not decided by the Supreme Court: (1) defendant was still serving his sentence while on PRCS; (2) defendant is subject to parole, but the parole term may not exceed the remaining time on defendant's term of PRCS; (3) the court's sentence did not violate the prohibition against multiple punishment for indivisible offenses (§ 654); and (4) defendant was exempt from registering as a drug offender. We also asked the parties to brief the question of whether excess custody credits may reduce applicable punitive fines, an issue not addressed in Morales . Having received briefs from both parties, we hold they may.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

In August 2011 defendant pleaded guilty to a felony complaint of possession of methamphetamine (count 1; Health & Saf. Code, § 11377, subd. (a) ), and misdemeanor possession of controlled substance paraphernalia (count 2; Health & Saf. Code, § 11364 ). In support of the plea, he stated, "On 8/12/11, I willfully and unlawfully possessed: (1) a usable quantity of methamphetamine, a controlled substance and (2) a pipe used for smoking a controlled substance." The court sentenced defendant to a state prison term of 16 months on count 1, and suspended imposition of sentence on count 2. Upon defendant's release from prison, he was placed on PRCS. (§ 3451, subd. (a).) His PRCS was set to expire in April 2015.

In December 2014, defendant petitioned to reduce count 1 to a misdemeanor pursuant to section 1170.18, subdivision (f), or, in the alternative, subdivision (a). The court granted defendant's petition under subdivision (a) and sentenced defendant to 545 days in county jail (thus imposing a 180-day jail term on count 2 that had previously been suspended, and running that term consecutively), credited him for the full 545 days, and, over defendant's objection, imposed one year of parole.

DISCUSSION

Defendant was still serving his sentence while on PRCS

Proposition 47 reclassified certain drug- and theft-related offenses from felonies (or wobblers) to misdemeanors. (People v. Rivera (2015) 233 Cal.App.4th 1085, 1091–1092, 183 Cal.Rptr.3d 362.) The measure reduced "penalties for certain offenders convicted of nonserious and nonviolent property and drug crimes." (Voter Information Guide, Gen. Elec. (Nov. 4, 2014) analysis of Prop. 47 by Legis. Analyst, p. 35.) As part of Proposition 47, the electorate enacted section 1170.18. (People v. Lynall (2015) 233 Cal.App.4th 1102, 1108, 183 Cal.Rptr.3d 129.)

Section 1170.18 applies to persons convicted of a reclassified offense prior to Proposition 47's effective date, and allows them to petition the court for reduction of the felony to a misdemeanor. The statute distinguishes between petitioners who are still serving a sentence and those who have completed a sentence.

A person "currently serving a sentence" for a felony conviction of a reclassified offense may petition for recall of the felony sentence under section 1170.18, subdivision (a).2 Under subdivision (b), the court must recall the felony sentence of a petitioner eligible under subdivision (a), and resentence the petitioner to a misdemeanor unless the court determines that doing so would unreasonably endanger the public. Under subdivision (d), a person resentenced under "subdivision (b) shall be given credit for time served and shall be subject to parole for one year following completion of his or her sentence, unless the court, in its discretion, as part of its resentencing order, releases the person from parole."

A person who has "completed his or her sentence" for a felony conviction of a reclassified offense may apply to have the conviction designated a misdemeanor under subdivision (f). Subdivision (f) does not provide for a period of parole.

Defendant contends the word "sentence," as used in subdivisions (a) and (f), means "prison term." He concludes he completed his "sentence" (within the meaning of subdivision (f)) before filing his section 1170.18 petition, even though he was still serving PRCS.

The word "sentence"—as used in subdivision (a) ("currently serving a sentence") and subdivision (f) ("completed his or her sentence")—is ambiguous. As defendant suggests, "sentence" might include only a defendant's prison term. On the other hand, "sentence" might encompass both the prison term and the corresponding period of parole or PRCS.

Because the word "sentence" in subdivisions (a) and (f) is ambiguous, we independently construe those subdivisions in light of (1) the statute as a whole, (2) the overall statutory scheme of which it is a part, and (3) the intent of the voters who enacted Proposition 47. (Robert L. v. Superior Court (2003) 30 Cal.4th 894, 901, 135 Cal.Rptr.2d 30, 69 P.3d 951.)3

We first examine section 1170.18 as a whole. The statute uses the word "sentence" differently in subdivisions (a), (b), and (f) than in subdivision (d). In subdivisions (a), (b), and (f), "sentence" refers to a pre-Proposition 47 felony sentence. Subdivision (a) applies to a "person currently serving a sentence for a conviction ... of a felony or felonies " (italics added), subdivision (b) provides for the recall of "the petitioner's felony sentence" (italics added), and subdivision (f) applies to a "person who has completed his or her sentence for a conviction ... of a felony or felonies ...." (italics added). In contrast, subdivision (d) provides that a "resentenced" person "shall be subject to parole for one year following completion of his or her sentence ...." (italics added), thus referring to the new misdemeanor sentence to which the court has resentenced the person. Thus, the misdemeanor "sentence" in subdivision (d) includes only the jail term. But this does not answer the question of whether the determinate felony "sentence" in subdivisions (a) and (f) includes a prison term and a period of parole supervision or PRCS. Rather, section 1170.18, viewed as a whole, reinforces the reality that the word "sentence" is ambiguous and can be used in different ways.

We turn to the interpretative aid of the overall statutory scheme governing determinate felony sentences. Section 3000 expressly applies to such sentences, i.e., sentences "resulting in imprisonment in the state prison pursuant to Section 1168 or 1170...." (§ 3000, subd. (a)(1).) Section 3000, subdivision (a)(1) mandates that a determinate felony sentence "shall include" a period of parole supervision or PRCS. Section 1170, subdivision (c) recognizes this expansive scope of a determinate felony sentence, providing in relevant part: "The court shall state the reasons for its sentence choice [of the low, middle, or upper prison term] on the record at the time of sentencing. The court shall also inform the defendant that as part of the sentence after expiration of the term he or she may be on parole for a period as provided in Section 3000." (Italics added; see In re Sosa (1980) 102 Cal.App.3d 1002, 1105, 162 Cal.Rptr. 646 [§ 1170 is part of "a comprehensive scheme to provide ‘uniformity of sentences' for like offenses"].) These statutes are clear: A determinate felony sentence includes a prison term and a period of parole supervision or PRCS. Accordingly, a defendant subject to PRCS is serving a sentence for purposes of section 1170.18, subdivisions (a) and (b).

Defendant's parole period may not exceed his remaining PRCS term

Section 1170.18, subdivision (e), states, "Under no circumstances may resentencing under this section result in the imposition of a term longer than the original sentence." Defendant's PRCS was scheduled to end in April 2015. The parole period, however, would have extended through December 2015. We conclude subdivision (e) precludes this result.4

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