Monthly Archives: October 2011

Criminal Law Defense: “Realignment” in California’s Criminal Justice System – Alternatives to Custody Part II

By Donna L. Connally* and Petra Fuhriman**
(October 13, 2011)
California’s “realignment” statutes have changed the way many felony offenders are handled by the criminal courts.The key changes come in the areas of sentencing and post-incarceration (after jail or prison time has been served).Part I of this “realignment” series discussed the primary changes in the law.[1]
In Part II we explore the opportunities that Realignment presents for local (county) in-custody defendants to be released from local jails; and, in most cases, still earn custody credits.
Basic Realities:
County Jails are not getting any bigger!They are going to become more crowded with people serving time for County Jail Felonies; i.e., those serving 16 months minimum and who, before October 1st, would have gone to State Prison. (See Part I of this series.)Until the implementation of Realignment on October 1, 2011, most inmates in local county jails fell into one of two primary groups: (1) Those facing misdemeanor or felony charges, and awaiting disposition of their cases by settlement or trial; and (2) Those serving a sentence of 1-365 days after conviction/plea, and usually facing probation upon release.A smaller group would have been those looking at possible violations of probation or parole, and some who were sentenced to State Prison and were short-term inmates awaiting transportation to a state facility.
Freedom v. Custody:
Realignment offers the people in groups (1) and (2) above, plus most of the newly-described County Jail Felons, alternatives to sitting in jail. Our focus here is on the new and revised laws saying that inmates in the following groups may qualify for Electronic Monitoring (“EM”):[2]
  • · Inmates arrested and being held in lieu of bail.[3].
  • · Inmates awaiting disposition of their felony and/or misdemeanor charges.
  • · Inmates who are committed (sentenced) to county custody (this includes group (2) above, plus many of those committed on one of the County Jail Felonies).
An inmate may be released on general EM (freedom to go to work, school, rehab or treatment classes/meetings, etc.) or home detention.That is determined on a case by case basis. But in almost every case when an inmate is released in this way, s/he can earn “half-time” credits even while on EM.[4]
Gaining Your Freedom with Realignment:
As a defendant, you may benefit from Realignment by qualifying to get out of custody at an early stage of your case, even if you cannot afford bail.Or you may be able to serve your sentence on EM. 

Here are some reasons why EM is such a great tool:

  • · Defendants can continue their lives – work, school, family, medical treatments, consultation with private counsel – instead of sitting dormant in jail.
  • · Defendants pay less money for EM than they would for bail. (e.g., Bail set at $50,000 means you pay about $4,000, whereas EM costs only $360/month plus a setup/activation fee)
  • · Jails are less crowded and Counties have no financial responsibility to house and feed defendants.
  • · Probation and Courts need not directly oversee some released individuals, but will still receive reports about defendant’s EM compliance and/or violations.
GPS Monitoring Solutions, Inc. is a private EM company, providing inmate release services to courts and jails.This company has followed the implementation of Realignment, and was ready for action on October 1, 2011.
Using their services is an easy, three-step process:
  1. 1. The court decides your release eligibility/option (general EM or home detention) at your court hearing.
  2. 2. You will receive a referral notice to EM; a family member can call the company if you cannot call from jail.
  3. 3. A company EM rep will meet you at the jail during the jail’s prescribed release hours.You will have an EM device installed, and be released on EM as ordered by the Court.You must finalize your lease agreement, initial payment, and further payment arrangements at this time, so have a family member/friend there to help take care of this business.
Below are two real examples of people served by GPS Monitoring Solutions, Inc. since October 1, 2011.The respective courts released these non-violent offenders on EM instead of keeping them in jail or making them post bail:
  • · Los Angeles County inmate charged with drug possession; released to a drug rehabilitation facility with EM in lieu of bail.Bail had been set at $250,000.
  • · San Bernardino County inmate facing charge of DUI causing injury.Bail was set at $100,000, but Court released defendant on OR with EM in lieu of posting bail.
Contact criminal law defense attorney Donna L. Connally for assistance with your criminal case. Contact Petra Fuhriman at GPS Monitoring Solutions, Inc. about EM release options.
*Ms. Connally’s law firm, Connally Criminal Law, is based in San Bernardino County, California.She is on top of the new Realignment laws, and can help you now with your criminal matter. Since 1996, Ms. Connally has practiced exclusively criminal law defense, serving clients in the Victorville, Barstow, Chino, Fontana, San Bernardino, and Rancho Cucamonga courts.
**Mrs. Fuhriman, Vice President of GPS Monitoring Solutions, Inc., is based in Riverside County, with additional offices in: San Bernardino County, Orange County, Los Angeles County, and San Diego County. Mrs. Fuhriman is well educated about the new Realignment laws in respect to alternative sentencing such as EM in lieu of bail. GPS Monitoring Solutions, Inc. will get you out of jail and back to your family as soon as a court order for release is received.
This article discusses only California law.It should not be relied upon as a full and extensive statement of the law, or as advice in any particular case.Results described herein cannot be guaranteed to other individuals; every person, case, and situation is different.

Property of Donna L. Connally/Connally Criminal Law; And
Property of Petra Fuhriman/GPS Monitoring Solutions, Inc.;

[1] Part I is entitled Criminal Law Defense: “Realignment” in California’s Criminal Justice System, and was posted on October 4, 2011.
[2]Most of this information is found in Penal Code §§ 1203.016, 1203.017, 1203.018, and 2900.5.
[3] Excludes inmates with outstanding warrants or other “holds.”
[4] Penal Code § 4019 is modified to allow custody credits to be computed for *most* county jail commitments as “credit for 4 days deemed served for every 2 actual days served.”See the statute for more detail and nuances.

Criminal Law Defense: “Realignment” in California’s Criminal Justice System Part I

By Donna L. Connally*
(October 3, 2011)
Realignment means you may not go to prison, you can still earn “half-time” credits, and you may be supervised for as little as 6 months after release from custody.
Part I of this Realignment discussion talks about how the changes to California’s treatment of felony offenders came about, when it goes into effect, and the primary changes it brings to how your cases will be handled by the courts.
The Catalyst for Realignment: Beginning October 1, 2011, there are major changes to the California laws dealing with felony sentencing, earning of custody credits, and supervision of people released from jails and prisons. These changes came about as a result of court decisions that, in essence, ordered California to reduce the population of its overcrowded prisons.
Affected Laws: In the wake of such decisions, California now has a number of new laws, mostly in its Penal Code. Those laws both re-define and restructure where and how you may serve custody time, what credits you earn for the time in jail or prison, and how you may be supervised after release.[1]
Felony Convictions and County Jail: Until now, people convicted of a felony offense only went to County Jail to serve time if they were put on probation. Others went to State Prison, often for one of three possible terms: 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years. Starting October 1, 2011, if you are convicted of a so-called “County Jail Felony” (or what many term one of the “non-non-non felonies”), you will be sentenced to do your time locally, in County Jail.
There are too many of these felonies to list here, and too many exceptions to detail. But the more common crimes include Commercial Burglary, Grand Theft, Vehicle Theft, Possession/ Possession for Sale of (Some) Controlled Substances, Resisting/Delaying a Peace Officer, Gross Vehicular Manslaughter (limited to some sections), Receiving Stolen Property, and most “attempt” crimes.[2] If you are convicted of one of these charges and given (for example) a “mid-term” sentence of 2 years, you will do that time in the County Jail facility. Under the new law, you can still get “half-time” on that sentence; that is, you can earn the right to do only half of your sentence for working and for good behavior.
There are still times you cannot qualify for County Jail time: (1) Your new conviction is for a serious or violent crime (the “strike” offenses); (2) You have a prior serious or violent conviction; or (3) You must register as a sex offender under Penal Code §290.
There are so many more things to know about Realignment. Part II of this discussion will focus on possible alternatives to time in custody. It will explore the opportunities the new laws present for using Electronic Monitoring/GPS devices in exchange for no bail or reduced bail, or even as a substitute to time in custody. Look for this in the next two weeks. In the meantime, contact me directly for help now with your case.
*Ms. Connally’s law firm, Connally Criminal Law, is based in San Bernardino County, California. She is on top of the new Realignment laws, and can help you now with your case.
Since 1996, Ms. Connally has practiced exclusively criminal law defense, serving clients in the Victorville, Barstow, Chino, Fontana, San Bernardino, and Rancho Cucamonga courts. This article discusses only California law. It should not be relied upon as a full and extensive statement of the law, or as advice in any particular case.
–Property of Donna L. Connally/Connally Criminal Law;

[1] The content of these extensive changes are found in Assembly Bills (“AB”) 109, 117, 118, and “clean-up” bill ABx117.  Many sections of the Penal Code (“PC”) have been modified or added, some of which are PC18, PC1170, PC2900.5, PC2933, PC3000 (and sections that follow), and PC4019.
[2] Many of these are also “wobblers,” and can be bargained down to misdemeanors.