California Penal Code Section 1210.1 Probation

In People v. Espinoza (2003) 107 Cal.App.4th 1069, the defendant pleaded no contest to a nonviolent drug possession offense and he was sentenced to prison. On appeal, the court found the defendant was properly excluded from probation under Penal Code section 1210.1 because he was an illegal alien subject to deportation. "In view of the substantial likelihood that defendant will be deported, we hold that probation is not mandatory under Proposition 36 because it is impossible to condition such probation on defendant's completion of a drug treatment program." (Espinoza, supra, 107 Cal.App.4th at p. 1071.) "We do not believe that section 1210.1 compels the trial court to grant probation when the primary purpose and condition of that probation-that the defendant obtain drug treatment-cannot effectively be achieved." (Id. at p. 1073.) Espinoza held that to achieve the fundamental objectives of Proposition 36, "section 1210.1 places two important mandates on the trial court. First, assuming the defendant qualifies as a nonviolent drug offender eligible for drug treatment, the court must offer probation in lieu of a jail sentence. Second, and of even greater importance in attaining the objectives of Proposition 36, such probation must be conditioned on 'participation in and completion of an appropriate drug treatment program.' Thus, the ultimate objective of Proposition 36 is not to mandate probation in lieu of jail sentences. It is to substitute community-based drug treatment for jail sentences as a means of dissuading eligible offenders from continued drug use. As the voters were informed in the opening sentence of the ballot pamphlet summary, Proposition 36 'requires probation and drug treatment,' rather than incarceration, for simple drug possession offenses. " (Espinoza, supra, 107 Cal.App.4th at p. 1074.) Espinoza disagreed with the defendant's argument that his current conviction might not result in deportation, and instead found ample reason to assume that he would be deported again. "He is admittedly here illegally. He has twice previously been deported after committing crimes, and he continued to violate this country's laws after twice illegally reentering this country following deportation. By any measure, defendant is a prime candidate for deportation." (Espinoza, supra, 107 Cal.App.4th at p. 1075.) Espinoza noted that "the decision whether to grant probation to a deportable alien presents special issues," and discussed the laws and policies surrounding deportation. (Id. at p. 1074.) It is not unreasonable for the trial court to assume that the INS Immigration and Naturalization Service will act to deport defendant in furtherance of its federal statutory duties. (See Evid. Code, 664 presumption that official duties are regularly performed.) In fact, it is California public policy to facilitate deportation of undocumented aliens who commit drug offenses in this state. Penal Code section 5025 establishes procedures to identify and transfer custody of undocumented aliens incarcerated in California to the INS. Uncodified legislative findings accompanying the adoption of section 5025 emphasized that one of its overriding purposes was to focus INS deportation efforts in California on undocumented aliens involved in drug-related crimes, in part to alleviate the burden of these crimes on our communities and courts. (Historical and Statutory Notes, 51C West's Ann. Pen. Code (2000 ed.) foll. 5025, p. 225.) Health and Safety Code section 11369 mandates notice to the INS whenever there is reason to believe that a person arrested for certain drug offenses in California, including simple possession, may not be a citizen of the United States." (Espinoza, supra, 107 Cal.App.4th at p. 1075, fn. 5.) Espinoza rejected the defendant's argument that he should be offered drug treatment wherever he might be located: "Where the defendant faces a substantial likelihood of imminent deportation, such that his probation cannot effectively be conditioned on completion of a drug treatment program, we hold that that section 1210.1 does not preclude the trial court from exercising its discretion to deny probation." (Espinoza, supra, 107 Cal.App.4th at p. 1076.)