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Name: People v. Pinon
Case #: G051212
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 12/15/2016

A defendant who is resentenced pursuant to Proposition 47 (Pen. Code, § 1170.18) may not be given a parole term that exceeds the scheduled end date of his postrelease community supervision (PRCS). In 2011, Pinon pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine (Health & Saf. Code, § 11377, subd. (a)) and drug paraphernalia (Health & Saf. Code, § 11364), and was sentenced to prison. After Pinon’s release from prison he was placed on PRCS that was scheduled to expire in April 2015. When Proposition 47 passed, Pinon petitioned to reduce his drug possession offense to a misdemeanor. The court granted his petition. Over his objection, the court imposed one year of parole that would extend through December 2015. Pinon appealed, arguing the parole period improperly exceeded his PRCS end date. Held: Affirmed in part. A person resentenced under section 1170.18, subdivision (b) is subject to a one-year parole period following his sentence, unless the trial court orders otherwise (Pen. Code, § 1170.18, subd. (d)). After applying statutory construction principles, the Court of Appeal concluded that the word “sentence” in section 1170.18, subdivision (d) refers to the new misdemeanor sentence and includes a period of PRCS. However, subdivision (e) of section 1170.18, precludes imposition of a term which is longer than the original sentence. The word “term” in subdivision (e) refers to either a jail term or a term of parole, so when resentencing pursuant to Proposition 47 the trial court may not impose a parole term that exceeds the scheduled end date of the defendant’s PRCS. This interpretation comports with the objectives of Proposition 47 to provide shorter sentences for nonserious offenses and to save taxpayers money. [Editor’s Note: This was an opinion after transfer from the California Supreme Court with instructions to reconsider the case in light of People v. Morales (2016) 63 Cal.4th 399, which held that excess custody credits do not reduce the parole period in a Proposition 47 resentencing.]

A defendant resentenced pursuant to Proposition 47 may apply excess credits to reduce his fines. Penal Code section 2900.5 allows excess custody credits to be applied to fines at the rate of $125 per day. Although the California Supreme Court in Morales held that excess custody credits may not be used to reduce the section 1170.18, subdivision (d) parole period, section 1170.18 says nothing about fines and therefore does not supplant the legislative intent with respect to section 2900.5 as it applies to fines. Thus, Pinon’s excess credits may be applied to reduce his fines and assessments.

Defendant forfeited his objection to the felony restitution fine by failing to object below. Pinion claimed the restitution fine imposed when he received his felony sentence (Pen. Code, § 1202.4) should be reduced to the minimum fine for a misdemeanor. However, the fine initially imposed was within the maximum for a misdemeanor at the time Pinon was sentenced and was therefore not unauthorized. Pinon’s failure to object to the fine below therefore forfeited the restitution issue on appeal.

Defendant is no longer required to register as a drug offender. Health and Safety Code section 11590, subdivision (c) limits the required registration of drug offenders to those who suffer a felony conviction. Therefore, Pinon’s misdemeanor conviction under Health and Safety Code section 11377 does not require registration and the requirement that he register pursuant to section 11590 is stricken.

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