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Name: People v. Superior Court (Rangel)
Case #: E061292
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 01/12/2016
Subsequent History: Review granted 4/13/2016: S232439
Summary

Excess custody credits resulting from resentencing under the Three Strikes Reform Act (Pen. Code, § 1170.126) should be applied to reduce the period of postrelease community supervision (PRCS). In 1996, Rangel was convicted of being a felon in possession and sentenced to 25 years to life under the Three Strikes law. After the Three Strikes Reform Act (Prop. 36) passed, Rangel filed a petition for resentencing. The trial court granted it and resentenced Rangel to a term of nine years. Because Rangel had already served 18 years in prison, the trial court did not place Rangel on three years of PRCS, presumably applying his excess credits to wipe-out any period of community supervision. The People sought writ relief. Held: Denied. Although section 2900.5 provides that excess custody credits should be applied to reduce the maximum statutory period of parole, the People argued that section 2900.5 does not apply to PRCS. Rangel responded that there was no rational basis for treating parole and PRCS differently and therefore it would violate equal protection to do so. The Court of Appeal agreed with Rangel. Although strict scrutiny was warranted in light of the fundamental interest at stake, the distinction between PRCS and parole with respect to excess credits fails even rational basis review. Parolees and those subject to PRCS are similarly situated as both forms of supervision subject inmates to substantially comparable restrictions, control, and re-incarceration. “The policy considerations applicable to the two groups are identical and offer no basis for unequal treatment.” Moreover, inmates resentenced under section 1170.126 have never been convicted of an egregiously violent offense and have been found to not present undue risk to the public. Applying section 2900.5 to parolees but not those subject to PRCS is therefore unreasonable.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/E061292.PDF