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Name: People v. Armogeda
Case #: G048761
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 01/20/2015

The Postrelease Community Supervision Act of 2011 unconstitutionally amended Proposition 36’s provisions prohibiting parole revocation for nonviolent drug possession crimes or parole violations. While on postrelease community supervision (PRCS) Armogeda committed a nonviolent drug possession crime (NVDP). The court revoked his PRCS and sentenced him to 90 days in jail over defense counsel’s objection that the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act of 2000 (Prop. 36) prohibited revocation. Armogeda appealed. Held: Reversed. Although the appeal could be considered moot because Armogeda had served his period of incarceration, the Court of Appeal entertained it as a matter of continuing public interest because the issue could impact other persons whose PRCS is revoked for a NVDP. (See In re Walters (1975) 15 Cal.3d 738, 744.) Under Proposition 36, parole cannot be revoked if a parolee commits a NVDP except in very limited circumstances. (See Pen. Code, § 3063.1.) In 2011, the Legislature passed the Postrelease Community Supervision Act (Act), which created PRCS as another type of supervised release from prison. The Act permits PRCS to be revoked for NVDPs. The appellate court here concluded that the Act unconstitutionally amended Proposition 36 in so far as it allows supervised release to be terminated for NVDPs. The goal of both parole and PRCS is to provide oversight and guidance to inmates as they reintegrate into society. The Legislature may not change Proposition 36’s coverage by changing the name and the means of oversight without complying with the initiative’s amendment requirements. (See Cal. Const. art. II, § 10, subd. (c).) Proposition 36 permits amendment via a two-thirds vote of each house of the Legislature. This requirement was not satisfied.