Skip to content
Name: In re Kemp
Case #: C064821
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 01/27/2011
Summary

Equal protection requires that the amendments to Penal Code section 4019 be applied retroactively irrespective of the date a prisoner’s judgment becomes final. At issue was whether the 2010 amendments to Penal Code section 4019 should be applied to inmates whose judgments were final before their effective date. The Court of Appeal held that the equal protection clauses of the federal and state constitutions compel retroactive application to this class of people. The two groups of prisoners at issue are similarly situated since the only thing distinguishing them is the date of finality of their judgments. Just as in In re Kapperman (1974) 11 Cal.3d 542, there is no rational basis to treat the groups differently. For the same reason, the September 2010 credits amendment applies retroactively irrespective of the date a prisoner’s judgment becomes final. The court rejected respondent’s argument the separation of powers doctrine would serve as a rational basis to treat the two groups differently. The effect in shortening the prison terms is incidental to the legislative purpose of the amendment, which was based solely on the economic consideration of saving the state money by the early release of prisoners deemed safe for such release. (See Younger v. Superior Court (1978) 21 Cal.3d 102, and Way v. Superior Court (1977) 74 Cal.App.3d 165.)