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Name: People v. Steward
Case #: A148242
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 02/09/2018

When a defendant who was sentenced to prison on multiple convictions is partially resentenced under Proposition 47, any excess credits may be applied to reduce the term of postrelease community supervision (PRCS). In 2007, Steward was sentenced to nine years in prison for possession of methamphetamine, felony failure to appear, and enhancements. In 2015, his drug possession offense was reduced to a misdemeanor under Proposition 47 and the trial court waived the one year parole term (Pen. Code, § 1170.18, subd. (d)). Because Steward had credits that exceeded the new aggregate sentence, he was released from prison and placed on PRCS (Pen. Code, § 3451, subd. (a)). When he later violated PRCS, he sought reduction of his PRCS term with the excess credits. The trial court agreed, but did not accept his proposed method for calculating the credits. On appeal, the Court of Appeal considered whether the trial court had authority to apply excess custody credits to reduce Steward’s period of PRCS. Held: Affirmed. Proposition 47 is silent regarding application of excess custody credits to reduce a term of PRCS. As a result, generally applicable sentencing procedures apply. Penal Code section 2900.5 provides that presentence credits shall reduce any period of imprisonment and parole, but the Court of Appeal here determined that this statute does not include PRCS. Penal Code section 1170, subdivision (a)(3) provides for reduction of a sentence where preimprisonment credits equal or exceed the sentence. It also requires trial courts to advise a defendant to report to probation, unless the in-custody credits exceed the total sentence, including PRCS. While the plain language and the legislative history of this provision are ambiguous, the Court of Appeal construed it to provide that excess custody credits apply to reduce a period of PRCS. It would be absurd to require trial courts to advise defendants that excess presentence custody credits reduce a period of PRCS if this was contrary to the law. [Editor’s Note: In a footnote, the Court of Appeal stated that it found no error in the trial court’s calculation of credits.].

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