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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. 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.

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