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Name: People v. Mora
Case #: D062007
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 03/29/2013

The Realignment Act does not apply to a defendant whose sentence was imposed prior to the effective date of the Act, but executed after the Act became operative. In February 2011, Mora pled guilty to a drug offense and was placed on probation. Imposition of sentence was suspended. When she violated probation in August of 2011, the court imposed a two year prison sentence, suspended execution, and reinstated Mora’s probation. In May 2012, her prison sentence was executed when she again violated probation. The trial court refused to allow Mora to serve her time locally pursuant to Realignment. On appeal, Mora claimed the court’s refusal to retroactively apply Realignment to her sentence denied her equal protection. Held: Affirmed. Acknowledging that there is a split among the Courts of Appeal on this issue, the court found that when the trial court executed Mora’s sentence, it lacked jurisdiction to modify the earlier imposed term. Further, denying retroactive application of Realignment does not violate equal protection. Although defendants initially sentenced prior to Realignment are similarly situated to those sentenced after the Act’s effective date, the statutory classification is rationally related to a legitimate state interest in maintaining the integrity of sentences imposed prior to the Act, as well as ensuring the validity of charging and sentencing decisions previously made.