Waiver of a Statutory Right to Credit In California

In People v. Tran (2000) 78 Cal. App. 4th 383, the Court found only that the waiver was an unreasonable condition of probation under the circumstances of that case. The trial court in Tran had entered judgment imposing the aggravated term on each count to which the defendant had entered a plea of guilty. It suspended sentence, and placed the defendant on probation on the conditions, among others, that he serve 24 months in county jail, and that he waive credit for that time against any future prison term. The appellate court reversed, concluding that the condition was not related either to the offense or to the offender As there was no requirement that the defendant enroll in and complete some kind of rehabilitation program, the waiver would have no effect on the defendant's attitude towards such a program. In addition, the court found the condition was not itself a deterrent because the suspended prison sentence already deterred the defendant from future violations. The court concluded, therefore, that the condition served no purpose other than to increase the time of incarceration beyond the maximum allowed should the defendant fail on probation. ( People v. Tran, supra, 78 Cal. App. 4th at p. 390.) Tran does not stand for the proposition that a waiver of section 2900.2 credits is an unreasonable condition of probation in any and all cases where it may lead to incarceration beyond the maximum term. The court in Tran held only that a waiver of credits is an unreasonable condition where the only purpose served in imposing the condition was to punish the defendant for his offenses by subjecting him to a term greater than the maximum term prescribed by law. In People v. Tran, the court specifically noted that "defense counsel objected" to the court's announced requirement of a waiver of credits, "arguing that . . . the sole effect here would be to increase a potential prison sentence beyond the statutory maximum sentence if appellant failed on probation." (People v. Tran, supra, 78 Cal. App. 4th at p. 386.) The Tran court explicitly relied upon the defendant's clearly articulated objection, indicating, "Appellant's acceptance of this condition of probation does not preclude him from challenging it on appeal. His objection at the time of sentencing suffices to preserve the point for appeal." (Ibid.)