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Name: People v. Hronchak
Case #: B262866
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 08/23/2016

Trial court’s authority to order custodial sanction for defendant who violates the one-year parole period following a Proposition 47 reduction is not limited to the maximum term for misdemeanors. In September 2014 appellant was convicted of a felony drug possession offense (Health & Saf. Code, § 11377, subd. (a)). In November 2014 his offense was reduced to a misdemeanor under Proposition 47. He was ordered to serve one year of supervised parole following his release from custody (Pen. Code, § 1170.18, subd. (d)). Subsequently, appellant admitted a parole violation, but argued that any custodial sanction for his violation could not exceed the 364-day maximum for a misdemeanor and that he already had 360 days of custody credit. The trial court ordered him to serve 60 days in custody as a condition of reinstating parole. Defendant appealed. Held: Affirmed. Proposition 47 reduced certain drug and theft-related felonies to misdemeanors for qualified defendants. It created a procedure whereby defendants serving a felony sentence could petition for reduction of their offense to a misdemeanor. A defendant who obtains resentencing under Proposition 47 is subject to one year of parole following his release from custody (Pen. Code, § 3000.08) unless the court exercises its discretion to release the defendant from parole. A felony that is reduced under Proposition 47 is a misdemeanor “for all purposes,” except for gun possession (Pen. Code, § 1170.18, subd. (k)). Punishment for a misdemeanor may not exceed 364 days in county jail (Pen. Code, § 18). However, a defendant who benefits from Proposition 47 has agreed to be subject to one year of parole (Pen. Code, § 3000.08). If a parole violation is proved, the trial court is authorized to return the defendant to parole supervision with modification of conditions, including possible incarceration (Pen. Code, §§ 3000.08, subd. (f)(1), 3000.08, subd. (g) [limiting confinement to 180 days]), without reference to the custodial time the defendant has previously served.

Defendant’s appeal is not moot because he has served the custodial term ordered as a condition of reinstating parole. The Attorney General argued that defendant’s appellate issue is moot because he has served the term of custody ordered as a condition of reinstating parole and likely has been released from parole. However, the appeal presents a significant issue involving the proper application of Proposition 47 that is capable of repetition but likely to evade review, i.e., the allowable custodial sanction for violating a condition of the one-year supervised parole term after reduction of an offense to a misdemeanor. Thus, the court exercised its discretion to decide the case.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: