Articles Posted in Prison Law

CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND REHABILITATION, Petitioner, v. THE SUPERIOR COURT OF ALAMEDA COUNTY, Respondent; ROBERT L. ESCOBEDO, Real Party in Interest. (Cal. Ct. App., Aug. 25, 2023, No. A166559) 2023 WL 5498785

Summary: Escobedo was placed on felony probation pursuant to a plea bargain. The  superior court permitted the People to withdraw a pending petition for revocation of parole that CDCR filed against Escobedo, who was on lifetime parole when he committed his offense. (Pen. Code, § 3000.1, subd. (a)(1).) The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) sought review by extraordinary writ challenging  the authority of the superior court to release Escobedo on probation, instead of adjudicating CDCR’s parole revocation petition and returning him to prison if the court finds that he has committed a new offense. (See § 3000.08, subd. (h) (section 3000.08(h)).)

Because Escobedo was on lifetime parole, the superior court lacked authority to release him on probation after finding that he committed a new criminal offense. Once the court found Escobedo had committed another crime, it was required to remand him to the custody of CDCR. (§ 3000.08(h).) The Court of Appeal granted  CDCR’s mandate petition.

The PEOPLE, et al., Plaintiffs and Respondents, v.BOARD OF PAROLE HEARINGS, Defendant and Appellant; Nathan Joshua Ramazzini, Real Party in Interest and Appellant. C093941,Filed September 15, 2022

2022 WL 4244262 (Cal.App. 3 Dist.)

Summary: in 1997, Ramazzini was convicted of a first degree murder with a special circumstance he committed when he was was 16 years old. Ramazzini was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole (LWOP).At the time Ramazzini was sentenced, courts interpreted section 190.5, subdivision (b) as establishing a presumption in favor of LWOP. (People v. Guinn (1994) 28 Cal.App.4th 1130, 33 Cal.Rptr.2d 791, disapproved by People v. Gutierrez (2014) 58 Cal.4th 1354, 171 Cal.Rptr.3d 421, 324 P.3d 245 (Gutierrez).)

Senate Bill No. 483, effective January 1, 2022, makes changes to the law that invalidated enhancements for prior prison terms and certain drug enhancements retroactive. The Bill retroactively applies Senate Bill 180 and Senate Bill 136 to all persons currently serving a prison for these repealed sentence enhancements.

Senate Bill 180 effective January 1, 2018 repealed the 3-year enhancement for prior drug convictions

 SB 180 repealed the three-year sentence enhancement for prior drug convictions, with the exceptions of drug manufacturing and convictions involving a minor. The enhancement was applied consecutively — three years for every prior conviction for possession for sale, sale or similar drug offense to any person currently convicted for a similar offense.

RICHARD J. CRANE, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. JOSEPH CLAY DOLIHITE, Defendant and Respondent. (Cal. Ct. App., Oct. 22, 2021, No. F079877) 2021 WL 4929340, at *1

 Summary: Crane, a prisoner representing himself, appealed  from the dismissal of his personal injury action against an inmate who stabbed him in the neck with a pencil. The dismissal was based on Crane’s failure to serve the summons and complaint on the inmate who stabbed him within the time prescribed by statute. (See Code Civ. Proc., §§ 583.210, subd. (a) [plaintiff must serve a defendant within three years], 583.250.)

Crane was unable to serve the summons and complaint on the prisoner because;  (1) the defendant was transferred to Salinas Valley State Prison in Monterey County; (2) Crane was unable to identify the defendant’s location; (3) the superior court advised Crane to use the sheriff’s office to effect service but, the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office refused to serve the summons and complaint; and (4) the litigation coordinator at Salinas Valley State Prison refused to accept service on behalf of the defendant inmate. The litigation coordinator’s refusal is contrary to  Penal Code section 4013, subdivision (a) and Code of Civil Procedure section 416.90, which have been interpreted as authorizing litigation coordinators at state prisons to accept service on behalf of inmates. (Sakaguchi v. Sakaguchi (2009) 173 Cal.App.4th 852, 858–859 (Sakaguchi).)

In re Marti (Cal. Ct. App., Sept. 3, 2021, No. C093153) 2021 WL 4452824, at *1

 Summary: CDCR Prisoner Marti filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus challenging the decision finding him guilty of a prison disciplinary violation for possession of excess property made by the warden of Mule Creek State Prison.  Marti was found guilty of an  administrative violation rather than a serious rules violation. Marti claims his rights under prison regulations were violated because the officer who heard  the violation had prior knowledge and involvement in a matter that was used as evidence at Mart’s  disciplinary hearing.

CDCR argues this case is moot because Marti  has already incurred the punishment for the decision and any future impact on him is speculative. Because the court can afford meaningful relief, the case is not moot. Without court intervention, the violation would remain in Mart’s  file and may be considered by prison officials in making decisions relating to him. Prison regulations provide for its consideration in imposing subsequent discipline. The violation may also factor into other prison decisions. The hearing officer should have been recused. Marti is entitled to have the officer’s disciplinary finding vacated.

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