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Electronic Home Monitoring - How Do I Request This?

When one is sentenced to jail and the individual has a job and or significant family duties, electronic home monitoring is an attractive option if one qualifies. Electronic home monitoring can also be well worth the cost if one can work entirely from home, i.e. on the computer.
Brief of Article:  Electronic Home Monitoring – How do I Request this and do I get Good Conduct Credits while Serving Time at Home?
There is no written standard on who qualifies and who does not.  Instead, under Penal Code § 1203.016(e), "at the time of sentencing or at any time that the court deems it necessary, the court may restrict or deny the defendant's participation in a home detention program." In other words, each individual is considered by the judge and the judge decides if defendant may participate in such a program.  However, if one is charged with domestic violence or a sex crime, house arrest is unlikely to be allowed if defendant will serve house arrest in the same home as the alleged victim.  Likewise, house arrest is generally not allowed for anyone facing a strike offense.
If the judge does allow this, it is best to have a representative from Sentinel electronic home monitoring meet the defendant at the court at sentencing and have the device “installed” on defendant’s ankle or wrist.
art 420 - twin towers la county jail downtown la Twin Towers LA County Jail Downtown LA

There is a fee for being on this program – roughly $100 to be initially equipped with the device and then a daily fee of about $15.  Consequently, it is not a viable or affordable alternative if the individual is facing significant time in custody.  The expense can become quite large in a relatively short time.  The individual must have a home telephone line that is a land-line (not just a cell phone) so the local police can monitor the whereabouts of the defendant.

The savvy attorney knows that the jail often also considers the individual for this program.  Consequently, if the judge has made it known that he does not like defendant or that he is adverse to electronic home monitoring, it is best not to ask the judge and receive an adverse ruling on this issue that the jail may consider determinative.  It is better to let the jail alone make the decision.
Our clients often ask about their eligibility for good conduct credits while on electronic monitoring when or if ordered by the jail.  It is usually understood that if a judge grants the request for electronic home monitoring, good conduct credits are not available.

There is no appellate case addressing entitlement to credits under Penal Code § 1203.017 if the defendant is put on electronic monitoring involuntarily as a result of jail overcrowding.  However, section 1203.017(a) says, “[p]articipants in the program shall receive any sentence reduction credits that they would have received had they served their sentences in a county correctional facility."  This seems to suggest that good conduct credits would be available if the jail releases an inmate to electronic home monitoring due to jail overcrowding.

In contrast, in People v. Anaya  (2007) 158 Cal.App.4th 608, the court of appeal denied conduct credits for persons placed on electronic monitoring under Penal Code § 1203.016, which is placement by the judge.  The court observed that even if the defendant was serving a mandatory sentence, only actual time credit is allowed: "[Section 2900.5(f)] is not triggered unless a defendant both serves time and is sentenced under a statute requiring mandatory minimum jail time.  Once the subdivision applies, it provides only that the time served qualifies as mandatory jail time, not any other time." Id. at p. 614.

However, at the time Anaya was decided, placement on electronic monitoring under section 1203.016 was only voluntary.  Now, with AB109, the realignment statute, legislation added the provision allowing involuntary placement in the program.  Although section 1203.016 does not contain a credit provision as found in section 1203.017(a), a defendant involuntarily placed on electronic monitoring under section 1203.016 may be able to assert a viable claim for a denial of equal protection if not granted the additional credit.  It would be up to one’s attorney to be so bold.

For more information about the issues in this article, click on the following articles:
  1. How Much Custody Credit Do I Get?
  2. What is House Arrest as an Alternative to Jail?
  3. How Much Time Will I Serve?
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