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People v. Yanez

California Court of Appeals, First District, Second Division

November 15, 2019

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
WILLIAM ANTONIO YANEZ, Defendant and Appellant.

          Trial Court: Alameda County Superior Court, No. 17CR008001, Hon. Jon R. Rolefson Judge.

          Micah Reyner, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.

          Xavier Becerra, Attorney General, Jeffrey M. Laurence, Assistant Attorney General, René A. Chacón, Nanette Winaker, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

          STEWART, J.

         Defendant William Antonio Yanez, sentenced to nearly six years in prison, challenges the trial court's refusal to grant him conduct credits for the time he spent in an electronic monitoring program on home detention prior to his sentencing. No statute provides for such credits. However, he contends that because recent amendments to Penal Code section 4019 have made conduct credits available to individuals who are placed on electronic home detention after imposition of sentence (see id., subd. (a)(7)), denying him eligibility for conduct credits for the time he spent on in-home detention[1] before he was sentenced violates equal protection. We agree.

         We hold that this disparity in eligibility for conduct credits between pretrial and post-judgment electronic monitoring home detainees violates equal protection, and therefore that the pre-sentencing time Yanez spent on home detention is eligible for conduct credits notwithstanding the Legislature's failure to provide for them in section 4019.[2]


         I. Statutory Background: Home Detention

         Briefly for context, two statutes governing home detention are relevant here. Penal Code section 1203.018 authorizes counties to offer a program under which pretrial detainees being held in a county jail or correctional facility may participate in a home detention program under specified conditions. (People v. Raygoza (2016) 2 Cal.App.5th 593, 599; § 1203.018, subd. (b).) The statute applies to “inmates being held in lieu of bail.” (§ 1203.018, subd. (a).) It has been construed to apply when a pretrial detainee is required to submit to home confinement in a local electronic monitoring program as a condition of a reduction in bail. (See Raygoza, at pp. 599-601.)

         Penal Code section 1203.016, by contrast, governs home detention post-sentencing. It authorizes counties to create electronic home detention programs in which certain inmates may be placed “during their sentence, ” under specified conditions, “in lieu of confinement in a county jail or other county correctional facility or program.” Those conditions are substantially similar to the conditions applicable to pretrial detainees released on home detention under section 1203.018, including that the participant “remain within the interior premises of his or her residence during the hours designated by the correctional administrator”; “admit any person or agent designated by the correctional administrator into his or her residence at any time” for purposes of verifying compliance with the conditions of detention; and allow the correctional administrator, without further court order, to immediately retake the participant into custody to serve the balance of his or her sentence if the electronic monitoring devices are unable for any reason to properly perform their function or if the person fails to remain within the place of detention, willfully fails to pay fees to the provider of the electronic home detention services or for any other reason no longer meets the statutory criteria for home detention. (Compare § 1203.016, subd. (b)(1)-(4) with § 1203.018, subd. (d)(1)-(4).)

         II. Factual Background

         Charged in connection with an incident in March 2017, Yanez pled no contest to possessing more than one kilogram of methamphetamine for sale (Health & Safety Code, §§ 11378; 11370.4, subd. (b)(1)) and admitted a prior strike conviction.

         The court had imposed home detention subject to electronic monitoring as a condition of reducing Yanez's bail from $480, 000 to $100, 000. By the time of his sentencing hearing, Yanez had spent 555 days on electronic home detention, in a program authorized by Alameda County.

         The trial court sentenced Yanez to serve five years and eight months in state prison. Although the court granted him custody credits for his 555 days of home confinement (see § 2900.5, subd. (a)), it deemed him ineligible for conduct credits. It rejected Yanez's argument that denying him eligibility for conduct credits violated the constitutional guarantee of equal protection ...

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