ILNews

COA: Trial court to decide pre-sentencing educational credit time

Back to TopE-mailPrint

A trial court is the proper authority to determine credit if a defendant earns educational credit time prior to sentencing, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.

In David K. Murphy v. State of Indiana, No. 18A02-1002-CR-213, David Murphy appealed the trial court’s decision denying him educational credit time, arguing the trial court is the correct authority to determine whether to grant such credit for receiving his general educational development diploma prior to sentencing.

The state charged Murphy Aug. 19, 2008, with Class B felony aggravated battery and Class D felony strangulation. During his pre-trial confinement, he earned a GED. He also attended 21 church services, 38 GED classes, 10 parenting classes, and 16 Alcoholics Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous chemical dependency sessions. Murphy pleaded guilty Nov. 12, 2009, to Class B felony aggravated battery and the other charge was dismissed.

The trial court sentenced him Jan 7, 2010, to the Department of Correction for 8 years – 6 years executed and 2 years suspended. At sentencing, Murphy asked the court to grant him 6 months of educational time credit for receiving his GED. The court granted him pre-trial confinement credit time of 511 days for time served, with class I credit time for an additional 511 days. The court said Murphy could seek higher educational credit time at the DOC.

Murphy filed a motion Jan. 12, 2010, to correct error regarding his request for educational credit time, which the trial court denied, saying it did not have authority to consider the request until he exhausted his administrative remedies within the DOC.

However, Murphy argued the trial court is the proper authority to determine such credit time when a defendant completes an educational degree before sentencing.

Murphy relied on Tumbleson v. State, 706 N.E.2d 217 (Ind. Ct. App. 1999), in which the court assumed that the trial court was the proper authority for determining whether the defendant was entitled to a sentence reduction for earning his GED while in custody pending trial.

The state’s reliance on Sander v. State, 816 N.E.2d 75 (Ind. Ct. App. 2004), was misplaced in the instant case, the appellate court determined.

Sander is distinguishable because the defendant in that case completed his educational degree while serving his sentence in the Department of Correction. Here, Murphy completed his degree while in pre-trial confinement,” Judge Terry Crone wrote.

The appellate court also noted the trial court is in a better position than the DOC to determine whether educational credit time should be granted for a degree earned prior to sentencing.

The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court and remanded for further proceedings.
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

ADVERTISEMENT