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Name: People v. Parodi
Case #: A130758
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 08/30/2011

Bringing drugs into a jail is not a “nonviolent drug possession offense” for purposes of Proposition 36. Appellant was arrested for possession of illegal drugs. Before entering the jail, he was asked if he had anything on his person he did not want to bring in — he answered “no.” A sign at the jail entry warned it was a criminal offense to enter with contraband. Drugs were found on appellant. He pled guilty to bringing drugs into the jail (Pen. Code, §4573). At sentencing he was denied drug treatment after the trial court found the offense was not a “nonviolent drug possession offense.” Penal Code section 1210, subdivision (a), defines a “nonviolent drug possession offense” as the unlawful use, possession or transportation for personal use, of illegal drugs, excluding violations of sections 4573.6 or 4573.8 (drug possession in correctional facilities). The focus of section 4573 is the act of bringing illegal substances into the jail, not on simple possession or use of drugs. The fact the Legislature did not list a violation of section 4573 as an excluded offense, as it did sections 4573.6 and 4573.8, does not mean it determined the act of bringing drugs into a jail constitutes a nonviolent drug possession offense. More likely, the Legislature wanted to exclude possession offenses in secure facilities from the scope of Proposition 36; it was unnecessary to list section 4573 because more than mere possession, i.e., smuggling drugs, is prohibited by that statute. Thus, a violation of section 4573 is not a “nonviolent drug possession offense” rendering appellant eligible for drug treatment under Proposition 36.