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Name: People v. Wilson
Case #: B244648
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 8
Opinion Date: 10/22/2013

After violating probation, convicted burglar must serve two-year sentence in state prison rather than county jail, in accordance with original plea agreement. In May 2011, under the terms of a negotiated plea agreement, Wilson pleaded no contest to felony commercial burglary and the trial court imposed and suspended execution of a two-year prison sentence and granted Wilson probation. In August 2012, Wilson admitted violating probation and his prison sentence was executed. On appeal, he argued that the trial court should have sent him to county jail rather than prison because he was effectively “sentenced” when his probation was revoked after the October 1, 2011 operative date of the Realignment Act and urged the court to follow People v. Clytus (2012) 209 Cal.App.4th 1001. The Attorney General asked the court to follow five published decisions that have disagreed with Clytus. Affirmed. The appellate court determined that it need not address Clytus, because, in this case, sending appellant to county jail under the Realignment Act would alter a material term in the parties’ plea agreement that he serve his executed sentence in state prison. The Legislature did not intend for the Realignment Act to affect any existing plea agreements because it expressly provided that the Act only applies prospectively. Here, the law as it existed prior to Realignment governed Wilson’s plea agreement because the language and surrounding circumstances of the agreement did not indicate otherwise. Given Wilson’s significant criminal history and the fact that he was on probation at the time of the offense, the parties’ plea bargain likely would have been different if the suspended sentence was only a county jail term. Applying the Realignment Act to Wilson’s sentence now would deprive the parties of an expressly agreed upon benefit of the bargain.