Good Conduct Credit for Presentence Custody Doubled – California Penal Code § 4019

Posted On: June 22, 2010 by Southern California Criminal Defense Attorney

In People v. Keating, No. B210240, the court held that the 2009 amendment to California Penal Code § 4019http://www.wklaw.com applies retroactively to sentences handed down even before the amendment was passed. Keatings appealed his conviction claiming that there was not enough evidence to have found him guilty of several crimes. Between the initial sentencing and the appeal, California Penal Code Section 4019 was amended, which changed the procedure of good conduct credit during presentence custody. Though the court affirmed the conviction, the court found that the amended section 4019 applies retroactively to reduce his prison sentence.

Before Section 4019 was amended, the defendant would be entitled to two days of credit for every four days the defendant spent in presentence custody. However, after Section 4019 was amended, the defendant would be entitled to two days of credit for every two days in custody. The good conduct credit earned and the days of actual custody served would be reduced from the sentence. When these are added together, the defendant is deemed to have served four days for every two days in custody if all days are earned.

While the statute did not explicitly state whether or not it was to be applied retroactively, the court determined that the amended section 4019 is retroactive based upon the legislative intent. In this case, there was a compelling implication that the state legislature determined that the former penalty was too severe and that a lighter punishment was proper. Coupled with the state’s budget crisis, the sentence reduced by additional conduct credit was intended to apply to cases both past and present.


The criminal justice system is complex and the punishments can be severe and unforgiving. The criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience handling criminal defense cases. Our attorneys are known for aggressively representing our clients in order to provide them with the best representation possible. If you believe that your sentence can be shorten, call us at (888) 280-6839 or contact us on our website at www.wklaw.com for a free evaluation. We will be there when you call.

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