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Richardson v. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

United States District Court, N.D. California

January 9, 2020

Troy Alexander Richardson, Plaintiff,
v.
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S AND DEFENDANTS' CROSS-MOTIONS FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY ADJUDICATION ON CALCULATION ISSUE; EXTENDING TIME TO FILE AMENDED COMPLAINT; AND SETTING FURTHER CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE DKT. NO. 81, 91

          YVONNE GONZALEZ ROGERS UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Troy Richardson brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. section 1983 and the statutory and common law of the state of California alleging that defendants California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (“CDCR”) and the individual CDCR employees named. Plaintiff alleges that he was released from prison after serving the prison sentence allotted to him by the applicable Court orders, rules, and regulations, but was reincarcerated wrongly and treated as an escaped prisoner. (See operative Third Amended Complaint, Dkt. No. 57.) At the request of the parties, the Court permitted limited, early cross-motions for partial summary judgment on the issue of the correct release date. (See Order Vacating Trial and Pretrial Deadlines, Dkt. No. 79.)

         Plaintiff filed his motion for partial summary judgment on October 21, 2019 (Dkt. Nos. 81-84) seeking adjudication of the correct calculation of plaintiff's resentencing and a determination that, as a matter of law, CDCR re-calculated plaintiff's sentence on September 12, 2016, without legal authority to do so. Defendants CDCR, Gipson, Hatton, Pina, Weeks, Castaneda, Marion, Montoya, Quintero, Johnston, Lebard, Davis, Beeson, Moreno, Burris, Bomgardner, Ouye, Alfaro, Fernandez, Bautista, Bjorgum, Rios, Allison, Cullen, Gold, Kunz, Jones, Macomber, White, and Smalley (collectively, “defendants”) filed their cross-motion for summary adjudication on November 4, 2019 (Dkt. No. 91) contending that plaintiff's entire incarceration was lawful and therefore all of plaintiff's claims fail as a matter of law.[1] On December 10, 2019, the Court heard oral argument regarding the limited question of the calculation of plaintiff's release date.

         Having carefully considered the papers submitted in support of and in opposition to the motions, the admissible evidence in the record, [2] the parties' arguments at the hearing, and the pleadings in this action, and for the reasons set forth below, the Court Denies the scope of the summary adjudication order sought by each side in its motion, but finds, as a matter of law, that the earliest possible release date based upon his December 22, 2014 resentencing, was approximately February 10, 2019.

         I. Summary of Facts[3]

         Plaintiff was charged with crimes in connection with a robbery that occurred on October 21, 2011. Plaintiff was taken into local custody technically as of October 25, 2011. On May 24, 2012, plaintiff pleaded guilty and was sentenced by the Honorable Michael N. Garrigan to ten years in prison-five years for his plea of guilty to second-degree robbery plus a five-year enhancement for his admission to a prior “strike” conviction. (Shyrock Decl. Exh. 1.) All remaining charges against Plaintiff were dismissed.[4] The original abstract of judgment (“AOJ”) was dated June 6, 2012. The AOJ listed the enhancement as use of a firearm (under Penal Code § 12022.5(a)). The June 6, 2012 AOJ provided that plaintiff would receive credit for time spent in custody up to the date of sentencing - 212 days “actual local time” and 180 days “local conduct credit” for a total of 392 days of credit.

         A. April 2013 Resentencing

         On April 22, 2013, plaintiff was re-sentenced by the Honorable Franklin M. Stephenson as a result of a deal plaintiff reached with the prosecutor to reduce his sentence by approximately one year based on plaintiff's cooperation in an unrelated case. (Shryock Decl. Exh. 2.) The transcript of the sentencing hearing states that Judge Stephenson ordered that plaintiff be given “actual days credit, pursuant to the agreement of the parties in court, of 863 actual days, 132 good time credits, for a total of 993 (sic) days credit for time served.” (Id. at 3:27-4:1, “sic” notation in original transcript.) The AOJ dated April 23, 2013 states, at line 8, “STIPULATED THAT DEFT. RECEIVE CTS IN THE AMOUNT OF 863 DAYS” and the boxes on the bottom of the form state “credit for time spent in custody Total days: 993 included: actual local time: 863 local conduct credits: 130.” (Helbraun Decl. Exh. C.)

         On September 23, 2014, a CDCR Records Analyst in CDCR's Legal Processing Unit (“LPU”) wrote to Judge Stephenson, seeking clarification of two issues related to the April 23, 2013 AOJ: (1) the number of pre-sentence credit days; and (2) the five-year enhancement was not a term authorized by Penal Code section 12022.5(a). The CDCR Records Analyst stated that the court had “granted too many actual days” credits when it gave plaintiff 863 total days, since plaintiff had not been in custody 863 actual days, but only 549.[5] (Helbraun Decl., Exh. D.) The letter cited two cases for the argument that “when the trial court resentences a defendant who has already commenced serving a term for the crime, the trial court should only compute the actual time spent in prison following the initial sentencing.” (Id.) The letter continued:

It is the responsibility of the [CDCR] to determine the amount of worktime credit to which an inmate is entitled from the date of initial sentencing. At the time of defendant's original sentencing, he was granted a total of 392 days (212 actual and 180 conduct). The CDCR will calculate and apply the appropriate amount of good time/work time credits.

(Id.) As to the second issue, the CDCR Records Analyst noted that the April 23, 2013 AOJ gave a five-year enhancement under Penal Code section 12022.5(a), but the statute only allowed for enhancements of 3, 4, or 10 years. (Id.)

         On October 23, 2014, Judge Stephenson set a new hearing regarding the enhancement question and issued an amended AOJ which recited the sentencing date as April 22, 2013, reset total days credits to 392, the actual local time as 212 and the local conduct at 180 nunc pro tunc as they had appeared on the original June 6, 2012 AOJ. (Helbraun Decl., Exh. E.)[6]

         B. December 2014 Resentencing and Plaintiff's Release

         On December 22, 2014, Judge Stephenson held a further sentencing hearing. (Shryock Decl. Exh. 3.) At the hearing, Judge Stephenson and the parties discussed the sentencing issue. Jacobsen, counsel for plaintiff in those proceedings, stated:

MR. JACOBSEN: Doug Jacobsen for Mr. Richardson, who is present in custody.
Your Honor, at this time we are in receipt of a letter from the Department of Corrections regarding an error on the sentencing. And after discussions with court and counsel, I believe we're prepared to correct the error. And the gist of the correction would be that Mr. -- Mr. Richardson, on the date in question, was given five years consecutive, 12022.5, which only calls for sentences of three, four and ten. So the five was a mistake.
Mr. Richardson is agreeable that the sentence would be changed to the midterm of four years, which would make his total sentence nine years. However, on the extra one year credit that was stipulated to be added on April 22nd of 2013, he would agree to split that and take only half of that in terms of the credit, which we determined he was entitled. And that would be 159 days, which is half of the 318. Therefore, as I calculate it, Your Honor, when he was originally sentenced on May 24th of 2012, he had 212 days credit at that time. After that, he was brought back and resentenced on the 22nd of April, 2013. He had served 333 more days actual time. He would now agree to a stipulated 159 additional days, which is half of 318. And since April 22nd, 2013, to today, he has served an additional 609 days. I added up the 212 the 333 the 159 and the 609. It came to 313 [sic].[7]
THE COURT: Actual days?
MR. JACOBSEN: Actual days. So he would agree to a sentence of five years on the robbery, four years on the firearm, and 313 [sic] days of actual credit.
THE COURT: Is that at 80 percent?
MR. RASMUSSEN: Eighty-five.
THE COURT: He would be given an additional 47 on top of the 313?
MR. JACOBSEN: Well, it would be more than that. It's 85 percent of 313 -- 1313. 1313.
THE CLERK: He said 313.
THE COURT: So it's 3, 313?
MR. JACOBSEN: No. 1, 313. Let me show you my math, Judge.
THE COURT: Thank you. Thank you. So 1, 313.
MR. JACOBSEN: Yes.
THE COURT: Okay. Thank you. Which would be an additional 197. For a total of 1, 510. All right. Is that what you want to do here today, Mr. Richardson?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes, sir.

(Id. at 3:9-4:27.) The new AOJ issued December 26, 2014, indicated “credit for time spent in custody total days: 1, 510, actual local time 1, 313 and local conduct credits: 197.” (Helbraun Decl. Exh F.) The minutes from that hearing state:

ORIGINAL SENTENCE OF 4/22/13 IN FULL FORCE AND EFFECT EXCEPT AS MODIFIED HEREIN
AS TO COUNT 1: IMPOSED THE UPPER TERM OF 5 YEAR(S), 0 MONTH(S), 0 DAY(S).
PLUS ENHANCEMENT FOR ALLEGATION NUMBER 1 AS TO COUNT 1 PURSUANT TO PC 12022.5(A) OF 4 ...

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