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Name: People v. Lara
Case #: S192784
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 07/19/2012
Summary

A court’s authority to strike a prior conviction pursuant to Penal Code section 1385 does not include the discretionary power to ignore the prior convictions which disqualify the prisoner from earning credits at a more favorable rate. Effective January 25, 2010, the presentence and local credit scheme was revised to a more favorable rate with the exception of those inmates who were required to register as a sex offender, or committed for a serious felony or had a prior conviction for a violent or serious felony. (Former Pen. Code, § 4019, subds. (b)(2), (c)(2).) The trial court concluded that it had no power to disregard the prior burglary conviction, which had been stricken for the purpose of calculating the sentence, when it came to awarding presentence credits. The Court of Appeal reversed and remanded with directions that the trial court exercise discretion under section 1385 to determine whether the prior convictions should be stricken to maximize the presentence credits under the version of section 4019 applicable to the case. The People’s petition for review was granted. Reversed. California does not require pleading and proof of facts which limit conduct credits. The purpose of the conduct credit is to foster constructive behavior. As a matter of due process, the defendant is entitled to notice of the facts that restrict his ability to earn credits and he received notice when the historical facts were pled for the different purpose of sentence enhancements. When the court struck the prior for sentencing purposes, it did not eliminate the conviction from his personal history and it was available for other sentencing purposes. The trial court reasonably relied on the prior conviction in calculating conduct credits.