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Name: CDCR v. Superior Court (Brackett)
Case #: C076785
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 06/24/2015

The Realignment Act of 2011 did not confer jurisdiction on the superior court to permit a parolee to change his place of residence. Brackett was paroled for convictions of vehicle theft and failure to appear in Sutter County. His parole was supervised in Placer County, requiring him to take two buses and a train to get to the parole office. He violated the terms of his parole. At a revocation hearing, the superior court revoked his parole but, at Brackett’s request, modified the parole terms to allow him to change his county of residence to Butte. A report provided to the court had stated that treatment and rehabilitation programs, as well as a homeless shelter, were available to him there, whereas he was homeless and without services in Sutter County. The district attorney supported the court’s order. The Attorney General, on behalf of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), challenged the order, arguing the court lacked jurisdiction to change parole placement. The trial court denied CDCR’s motion to vacate the order. CDCR filed a petition for a writ of mandate in the Court of Appeal. Held: Writ of mandate issued. Before Realignment, CDCR had exclusive jurisdiction to determine a parolee’s placement (Pen. Code, §§ 3003, 3058.6, subd. (b)(4)) and to impose parole conditions; the parole board conducted revocation proceedings. After Realignment, the superior court conducts parole revocation hearings, and may modify parole conditions if it finds that the parolee has violated the parole term (Pen. Code, § 3000.08, subd. (f)). However, CDCR retains the authority to place a parolee in an appropriate county. Here, the trial court made clear that it was not changing Brackett’s parole placement, but only modifying a parole term so that he could live in Butte County. However, permitting Brackett to live in another county effectively changed his county of parole supervision. While the “compelling and unopposed” facts of the case support the trial court’s order, statutory interpretation requires reversal.