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Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation v. Superior Court (Demond charles Brackett)

California Court of Appeals, Third District, Sutter

June 24, 2015

DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND REHABILITATION, Petitioner,
v.
THE SUPERIOR COURT OF SUTTER COUNTY, Respondent DEMOND CHARLES BRACKETT et al., Real Parties in Interest.

ORIGINAL PROCEEDING in mandate. Peremptory writ of mandate issued Super. Ct. No. CRPR140000183. Susan E. Green, Judge.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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COUNSEL

Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General, Jennifer A. Neill, Assistant Attorney General, Phillip J. Lindsay, and Andrew R. Woodrow, Deputy Attorneys General, for Petitioner.

No appearance for Respondent.

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Diane Nichols, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Real Party in Interest Demond Charles Brackett.

No appearance for Real Party in Interest the People.

OPINION

RAYE, P. J.

The Attorney General seeks a writ of mandate compelling the superior court to vacate its order permitting a parolee to change his place of residence. The facts in this case suggest there has been no abuse of discretion or miscarriage of justice to merit writ relief. No one at the parole revocation hearing, including the district attorney and the parole agent, objected to the parolee’s request to reside in Butte, rather than Sutter, County. A written report suggested an array of services available to the parolee in Butte County, whereas the parole agent provided but one possible service available in Sutter County. While paroled for convictions of theft of a vehicle and failure to appear in Sutter County, defendant Demond Charles Brackett was supervised from yet another county, Placer, and compelled to take two buses and a train to get to the parole office. The trial court revoked his parole, and pursuant to section 3000.08 of the Penal Code, amended as a part of the Public Safety Realignment Act (Realignment Act), changed the conditions of his parole, including his county of residency.[1] (Stats. 2011, ch. 15.) The court expressly stated it was not changing his parole placement.

The Attorney General thereafter intervened on behalf of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (Department) and moved to vacate the condition that allowed defendant to reside in Butte County. The district attorney opposed the motion. The Attorney General argued, as she does on appeal, that by enacting the Realignment Act the Legislature did not intend to give superior courts the authority to transfer violent parolees to other counties without regard for the advance notice requirements of section 3058.6 or to abandon the comprehensive statutory scheme governing parolee placement (§ 3003).

Mindful of the legal adage that bad facts are often the harbinger of bad law, we are careful in our review of the facts in this case to not lose sight of the controlling legal principles. Thus, the sole issue before us is one of statutory construction, a task blind to the compelling and unopposed facts presented to the trial court. As a matter of law and despite the many good reasons justifying the trial court’s order, we must agree with the Attorney General and issue a writ of mandate compelling the trial court to vacate its order granting defendant’s motion to reside in Butte County.

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FACTS

Defendant served a two-year prison term and was released on parole to Sutter County. Thereafter, in violation of his parole conditions, defendant cut off his global positioning system (GPS) monitor and possessed pepper spray. The Sutter County District Attorney brought parole revocation proceedings, and during the proceedings defendant moved to modify his parole conditions so that he could reside in Butte County. The district attorney supported the motion, pointing out that defendant’s last legal residence was Butte County, that treatment and rehabilitation programs are available in Butte County, and that the plan was to place him in Butte County, but “for some reason, ” he was placed in Sutter County instead. The district attorney continued, “Additionally, pursuant to parole policy which I received a copy from Parole, specifically Penal Code Section 3003(a) it indicate[s] that factors to consider in placement are educational and vocational programs and the existence of treatment programs all of which are in Chico in Butte County. Additionally there is a Chico GPS unit that can monitor Mr. ...


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