Former California Penal Code Section 4019

In People v. Brown (2012) 54 Cal.4th 314, the California Supreme Court held that a former version of section 4019, effective January 25, 2010, applied prospectively, and that the equal protection clauses of the federal and state Constitutions did not require retroactive application. (Brown, supra, 54 Cal.4th at p. 318.) In addressing the equal protection issue, the court determined that "prisoners who served time before and after the January 2010 version of section 4019 took effect are not similarly situated . . . ." (Brown, supra, at p. 329.) On this point, the California Supreme Court found In re Strick (1983) 148 Cal.App.3d 906, "persuasive" and quoted from that decision as follows: "'The obvious purpose of the new section,' . . . 'is to affect the behavior of inmates by providing them with incentives to engage in productive work and maintain good conduct while they are in prison.' 'This incentive purpose has no meaning if an inmate is unaware of it. The very concept demands prospective application.' 'Thus, inmates were only similarly situated with respect to the purpose of the new law on its effective date, when they were all aware that it was in effect and could choose to modify their behavior accordingly.' " (Brown, supra, at p. 329.) The California Supreme Court also disagreed with the defendant's contention that its decision in People v. Sage (1980) 26 Cal.3d 498 "implicitly rejected the conclusion" that the Court of Appeal reached in Strick, namely "that prisoners serving time before and after a conduct credit statute takes effect are not similarly situated." (Brown, supra, at p. 329.)