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The People v. David W. Parodi

August 30, 2011

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
DAVID W. PARODI, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



Trial Court Solano County Superior Court Trial Judge (San Mateo County Super. Ct. No. SC071158)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dondero, J.

CERTIFIED FOR PUBLICATION

Pursuant to a negotiated bargain, defendant David W. Parodi entered a plea of no contest to willfully bringing a controlled substance into a jail facility in violation of Penal Code section 4573 (section 4573).*fn1 He appeals the denial of his request for treatment under Proposition 36, contending the trial court erred in ruling his offense was ineligible for such treatment. We conclude the crime of willfully bringing a controlled substance into a jail facility in violation of section 4573 does not meet the statutory definition of a "nonviolent drug possession offense" as required for treatment under Proposition 36. (§ 1210, subd. (a).) We affirm the judgment.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On April 22, 2010, at approximately 1:00 a.m., Deputy Sheriff Chris Cloney was driving his patrol vehicle when he saw defendant walking by the side of the road. Cloney decided to contact defendant because he was wearing black clothing, carrying a plastic duffle bag, and had an illuminated flashlight. After contacting defendant, Cloney's partner searched the area nearby and found two foil packages appearing to contain methamphetamine, and a clear plastic baggie with a small amount of marijuana. Defendant was placed under arrest and searched.

Defendant was transported to the jail for booking. At the entrance to the facility, a posted sign approximately 18 inches by 18 inches in size states that it is a violation of the Penal Code to bring any contraband inside. Cloney searched defendant a second time before bringing him into the jail, and asked him if he had anything on his person that he would prefer not to bring inside. Defendant responded that he did not. After he was brought inside the jail, defendant was searched by a jail deputy who found a green plastic baggie inside his right sock that contained suspected methamphetamine. The substance was later determined to be 0.6 grams of methamphetamine. When Cloney asked defendant about the green plastic baggie, defendant told him that he had forgotten it was there.

On June 14, 2010, an information was filed accusing defendant of unlawful possession of methamphetamine (Health & Saf. Code, § 11377, subd. (a)), and willfully bringing a controlled substance into a jail facility (§ 4573.)

On November 8, 2010, defendant entered a negotiated plea of no contest to willfully bringing a controlled substance into a jail facility. The remaining charge was dismissed. Defendant entered into the plea agreement with the understanding that he would either be sentenced under Proposition 36 or be sentenced to probation with 60 days in county jail, depending on the trial court's ruling as to whether section 4573 precludes the application of Proposition 36.

On November 24, 2010, the People filed a motion asserting defendant was ineligible for Proposition 36 treatment as a result of his conviction of violating section 4573.

On November 29, 2010, defendant filed a memorandum asserting he was eligible for sentencing under Proposition 36.

On December 3, 2010, the trial court denied defendant's motion, suspended imposition of sentence, and placed defendant on three years of supervised probation contingent on serving 60 days in county jail and paying various fees, fines, and assessments. The court issued a certificate of probable cause to allow defendant to appeal its ruling regarding Proposition 36.

DISCUSSION

"Following the enactment of Proposition 36, the 'Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act of 2000, [(the Act)]' which took effect July 1, 2001, a defendant who has been convicted of a 'nonviolent drug possession offense' must receive probation and diversion into a drug treatment program, and may not be sentenced to incarceration as an additional term of probation." (People v. Canty (2004) 32 Cal.4th 1266, 1272-1273 [14 Cal.Rptr.3d 1, 90 P.3d 1168] (Canty).) If the defendant completes such drug treatment and complies with the other conditions of probation, "the conviction on which the probation was based shall be set aside and the court shall dismiss the indictment, complaint, or information against the defendant." (§ 1210.1, subd. (e).)

Defendant claims the trial court erroneously determined that a section 4573 conviction categorically precludes a grant of probation under the Act. When interpreting statutory language, we give the words their ordinary meaning. (Canty, supra, 32 Cal.4th 1266, 1276.) "Of course, the statutory language must also be construed in the context of the statute as a whole and the overall statutory scheme. [Citation.] 'The intent of the law prevails over the letter of the law, and " 'the letter will, if possible, be so read to conform to the spirit of the act.' [Citation.]" ' [Citation.] 'When the language is ambiguous, "we refer to other indicia of the voters' intent, particularly the ...


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