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Name: People v. Scott
Case #: H037923
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 05/23/2013
Subsequent History: Review granted 7/24/13: S211670

A qualified defendant whose sentence was imposed prior to the Realignment Act, but executed after its effective date, should serve his sentence in county jail rather than state prison. In May 2009, defendant pled guilty to possession of cocaine for sale. He was placed on probation with a suspended seven year prison sentence. In November 2011 he admitted violating his probation and his sentence was executed. Over prosecution objection, the trial court ordered the term served in county jail. The prosecution appealed. Held: Affirmed. The Legislative intent of the October 1, 2011 Realignment Act was to redirect low level offenders from state prison to local custody, including community-based programs, in the hopes of reducing recidivism rates. Applying the Act to defendants whose sentence was imposed prior to the Act but not executed until after the Act furthers this purpose. It also apportions prison space to more serious offenders. The prosecution’s reliance on People v. Howard (1997) 16 Cal.4th 1081 was unavailing because that case did not consider whether changing the location where a sentence is served might constitute a prohibited modification of a sentence. The court agreed that subdivision (h)(6) of section 1170 operates as a savings clause, but it was intended to apply to defendants whose sentence was already executed prior to the effective date of the Act.