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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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