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Name: People v. Wilcox
Case #: C069826
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 06/26/2013

A state prison sentence imposed and stayed before October 1, 2011, but then executed after that date is not subject to a county jail commitment under the Realignment Act (Act). Following his conviction for violating Health and Safety Code section 11377, subdivision (a), appellant was granted probation. In 2010, he admitted violating probation and the court imposed a 16-month prison term, stayed execution, and reinstated probation. After appellant admitted another probation violation in November 2011, the court revoked probation and ordered execution of the previously imposed prison sentence. Under the Act, appellant would have qualified for a county jail commitment if he was sentenced on or after October 1, 2011. The Court of Appeal rejected appellant’s contention, based on People v. Clytus (2012) 209 Cal.App.4th 1001, that he was entitled to be sentenced under the Act because the trial court ordered execution of his previously imposed prison sentence after this date. When a court revokes probation, its previously imposed judgment shall be in full force and effect. (Pen. Code, § 1203.2, subd. (c); People v. Howard (1997) 16 Cal.4th 1081.) In contrast to section 1202.3’s explicit mandate, the Act’s savings clause is ambiguously written in general terms and does not specify what constitutes “sentenced” or how to address state prison sentences imposed and suspended before the Act’s effective date. Applying rules of statutory construction, the court concluded that section 1202.3 controls and the Act can not be used to modify a state prison term imposed but suspended prior to the October 1, 2011. Contrary to the reasoning in Clytus, allowing appellant to serve his term in county jail, rather than prison, is a modification of the sentence as it reduces and alters it. Additionally, it is impermissible as it would also alter the terms of the plea agreement where the suspended state prison sentence was a specific component of the agreement. Finally, because the Legislature intended to limit the impact of the Act by providing for prospective application, sentencing appellant to jail would contravene the intent of the Legislature.