Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

California: Prisoner Entitled To Presentence Custody Credit for Time in Prison Past Parole Date Due Solely to Pending Charges

By Michael Brodheim

The California Court of Appeal has held that a prisoner, detained in prison solely because new charges (arising from in-prison misconduct) were brought against him, is entitled to presentence custody credits for all the time he remained in custody past his originally scheduled parole release date.

Three and a half months before his scheduled release on May 12, 2008, California prisoner Jason Hopkins was found in possession of a syringe and a plastic spoon containing a brown liquid, later determined to be 0.27 grams of heroin. Hopkins was issued a rules violation report (CDC-115) charging him with possession of a controlled substance, a level “B” offense punishable by a loss of up to 150 days of custody credit. As a result of the pending CDC-115, Hopkins’ tentative EPRD (earliest possible release date) was recalculated to be July 26, 2008, i.e., 75 days later than his previous EPRD of May 12, 2008. The case was referred to the local district attorney’s office, which filed a criminal complaint on July 10, 2008.

Critically, however, Hopkins never agreed to a postponement of the prison disciplinary hearing pending the outcome of the referral for criminal prosecution. Absent such an agreement, Hopkins’ hearing had to be held, pursuant to regulation, within 30 days of his receipt of the CDC-115. Failure to adhere to that time limit -- as happened in Hopkins’ case -- precludes the possibility of any loss of credits.

Ultimately, Hopkins pleaded no contest (in court) to an amended complaint, in exchange for a consecutive sentence of two years. The court gave him presentence custody credit, however, only from July 26, 2008, his recalculated EPRD.

On appeal, the Court agreed with Hopkins’ contention that, because he had not waived his right to a timely disciplinary hearing, the recalculation of his EPRD had been unlawful; accordingly, he was entitled to presentence custody credit from May 12, 2008, the date he was originally scheduled to parole. See: People v. Hopkins, 184 Cal.App.4th 615 (2010).

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login

Related legal case

People v. Hopkins