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COA orders trial court to award credit for time served

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled a trial court erred in calculating credit for time served but found the record was insufficient to prove that additional credit time should be awarded for the defendant’s participation in a drug-treatment program.

In Amanda D. Brown v. State of Indiana, No. 62A01-1105-CR-224, Amanda Brown was arrested on Oct. 14, 2010, on four marijuana-related charges. She remained incarcerated on those charges until Feb. 22, 2011, when she entered into an agreement, pleading guilty to Class D felony possession of marijuana, with all other charges dismissed. Under the agreement, Brown’s sentence was three years in the Department of Correction, with credit for 131 days served. The sentence was stayed under Indiana Code section 11-12-3.7-11, a statute allowing offenders to plead guilty and request placement in a pre-conviction diversion program. Brown was placed under the supervision of the Perry County Substance Abuse Court on Feb. 23.

Brown entered into an eight-month drug treatment program at a Vanderburgh County YWCA. On or about March 21, Brown told her YWCA program case manager that she would not pass a drug test if required to take one. The case manager told Brown that if she failed the drug test, she would return to jail, and Brown left the program without permission on March 22. That same day, the director of Perry County Community Corrections filed a notice of violation alleging that Brown had left the YWCA program without permission, and three days later, filed a second notice of violation alleging that Brown tested positive for marijuana on March 21. Brown was arrested on March 25 and was incarcerated while awaiting the trial court’s determination regarding the notices of violation.

At a hearing on April 20, Brown asked for a second chance and requested credit for time served and credit time for days spent in incarceration and in the pre-conviction diversion program.

The trial court found Brown was in violation of the diversion program, and the judge sentenced Brown to three years of incarceration, stating she would: “absolutely give you any time that you served on this case as credit. I will have my court reporter check any day that you served either before you went to the Y or after you went that you are being held currently. I will give you credit for all that time.”

In its written sentencing order, the trial court gave Brown 27 days credit for time served in the Perry County Jail between March 25 and April 20. No other credit for time served or credit time was given.

The state conceded that this case “should be remanded to clarify the trial court’s finding and to ensure that it is correct and fair to the Defendant.” The appeals court held that the state is correct in its claim that the trial court’s Feb. 23 written entry accepting the plea agreement indicates Brown is entitled to at least 131 days credit for time served. But, the COA held, the trial court did not incorporate the award of credit into its final sentencing order.

The appeals court instructed the trial court to issue an order showing credit for Brown’s two periods of pre-sentencing confinement. It also instructed the court to hold a hearing on whether Brown – while a participant in the YWCA program – was subject to the same restrictions that are imposed upon personal liberty in a prison or jail. Until that point is determined, the court held that it cannot conclude Brown would be entitled to additional credit time for time spent in the program.
 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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