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People v. Bolian

California Court of Appeals, Second District, Eighth Division

December 2, 2014

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
BRUCE LEONARD BOLIAN, Defendant and Appellant.

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. MA052593, Daviann L. Mitchell, Judge. Reversed.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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COUNSEL

Gail Ganaja, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.

Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General, Lance E. Winters, Assistant Attorney General, Susan Sullivan Pithey and Mary Sanchez, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

OPINION

FLIER, J.

Bruce Leonard Bolian appeals from the trial court’s judgment revoking his probation and executing a previously imposed sentence of five years in state prison. We reverse and remand for the limited purpose of determining whether to reinstate or terminate probation, as it appears the court may have misunderstood the scope of its discretion.

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FACTS AND PROCEDURE

In December 2011, appellant was charged in an amended information with one count of possession of a deadly weapon (a billy club) in violation of Penal Code former section 12020, subdivision (a)(1).[1] The amended information also alleged appellant had suffered three prior convictions within the meaning of the “Three Strikes” law (§§ 667, subds. (b)-(i), 1170.12, subds. (a)-(d)) and had served prison terms for eight prior convictions within the meaning of section 667.5, subdivision (b). Appellant pled guilty and admitted two prior convictions within the meaning of section 667.5, subdivision (b). In February 2012, the court sentenced appellant to five years in state prison, consisting of three years for the substantive count and two years for the prior conviction allegations. The court then suspended execution of the sentence and placed appellant on formal probation for five years. The conditions of his formal probation required that he (1) perform 60 days of Caltrans (California Department of Transportation) community service, (2) not own, use, possess, buy, or sell any controlled substances except with valid prescription, and (3) submit to periodic controlled substance testing when requested.

According to the report of Deputy Probation Officer (DPO) Douglas Morales, appellant tested positive for marijuana in December 2012, January 2013, March 2013, and May 2013. The DPO’s report recommended the court find appellant had violated probation but modify probation by ordering appellant to complete an outpatient drug counseling program. The court set a probation violation hearing for August 2, 2013, for which appellant did not appear. The court preliminarily revoked appellant’s probation based on the report that he had violated the terms of his probation and his failure to appear.

The matter was continued for a contested violation hearing, at which DPO Morales testified. The DPO had previously discussed with appellant that he was not in compliance with the conditions of his probation because he had tested positive for marijuana, and he also had not performed his 60 days of Caltrans community service. Appellant said he could not perform his Caltrans service because he was having back problems and was on heavy medication. As to the marijuana use, appellant submitted a recommendation for the use of medical marijuana from his doctor. The recommendation was dated March 2, ...


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