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CA: Persons on Community Supervision Eligible to Seek Transfer to Another State

CA: Persons on Community Supervision Eligible to Seek Transfer to Another State

by Lonnie Burton

Reversing a lower court’s ruling to the contrary, the Court of Appeal for the Fourth District of California held on October 22, 2014 that a defendant released into the community as part of a prison sentence may apply for transfer of his or her supervision to another state.

Lavina C. Wofford was sentenced to an eight-year prison term under California’s Realignment Act, which allowed her sentence to be served locally as a “split sentence” with three years served in jail and a five-year suspended sentence served in the community under mandatory supervision. Under the conditions of Wofford’s supervision, she was required to obtain the court’s approval before moving to another state. Approval from the California Interstate Compact Office was also required.

Wofford filed a motion in superior court seeking permission to submit an application to the Compact Office for transfer to Virginia. The court denied her request, holding that people serving mandatory supervision sentences are ineligible to apply for transfers. Wofford filed an appeal, which the appellate court treated as a petition for mandate.

In granting the petition, the Court of Appeal rejected the state’s contention that the Compact does not apply to those on mandatory supervision because they are actually serving prison terms, albeit in the community. The Court found that the fact that “an offender is not a traditional parolee or probationer is not determinative” of Compact eligibility.

“Rather, the key components of eligibility are (1) adjudicated guilt, and (2) release from custodial status into the community under supervision,” the appellate court wrote. “Regardless of the label placed on the sentence being served, these eligibility components are satisfied.”

The Court of Appeal emphasized that its holding was a narrow one – confined to the issue of Compact eligibility. It did not rule or express an opinion on whether the lower court should ultimately grant Wofford’s transfer request, only that people on mandatory supervision were eligible to seek Compact transfers. See: Wofford v. Superior Court of San Diego, 230 Cal. App. 4th 1023 (Cal. App. 4th Dist. 2014). The ruling was modified slightly when the appellate court denied the state’s petition for rehearing, but the judgment remained the same.

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Related legal case

Wofford v. Superior Court of San Diego