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Name: People v. Malago
Case #: D069858
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 02/27/2017

Trial court erred in failing to rule on defendant’s objection to mandatory supervision conditions, but the error was harmless. In January 2016, Malago pleaded guilty to importing a controlled substance (Health & Saf. Code, § 11352, subd. (a)). The trial court imposed a five-year split sentence, with the concluding 30 months on mandatory supervision. In addition, the trial court imposed certain alcohol-related conditions of supervision. While it noted Malago’s objections to the conditions, the trial court delegated a ruling on them to the future “mandatory supervision judge.” Malago appealed. Held: Affirmed. “The sentencing court has broad statutory discretion in decided whether to grant supervised release and any accompanying conditions.” Here, the trial court erroneously failed to exercise the discretion vested in it by law, by refusing to rule on Malago’s objections to the supervision terms. This was an abuse of discretion. However, the error was harmless because the conditions were reasonably related to future criminality.

The trial court reasonably imposed certain alcohol-related conditions of mandatory supervision. A county jail commitment followed by mandatory supervision (Pen. Code, § 1170, subd. (h)) is akin to a state prison commitment; it is not a grant of probation. Therefore, “mandatory supervision” is more similar to parole than probation. The fundamental goal of parole is to rehabilitate the offender so that he may be reintegrated into society as a self-supporting, constructive individual. Pursuant to this goal, the state may impose any condition reasonably related to parole supervision. A condition of parole will not be held invalid unless it (1) has no relationship to the defendant’s crime, (2) relates to conduct which is not itself criminal, and (3) requires or forbids conduct which is not reasonably related to future criminality. The alcohol conditions are reasonably related to future criminality because Malago has a history of drug and alcohol consumption. It was reasonable for the trial court to conclude that Malago’s continued sobriety will enhance his ability to avoid possessing, using or selling drugs (disagreeing with People v. Kiddoo (1990) 225 Cal.App.3d 922, which held that alcohol and drug abuse are not reasonably related and that alcohol use is unrelated to future criminality]).

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