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COA rules serving time at home same as serving time in prison

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The Indiana Court of Appeals remanded a case for a new sentencing order after a defendant successfully argued home detention counts as part of his executed sentence.   

Following the death of a 22-month-old baby in his care, Nathan Barker pleaded guilty to Class A felony neglect of a dependent causing death. In exchange, Barker received a 40-year cap on his executed sentence.

At the sentencing hearing, the court sentenced Barker to 45 years, with 40 years executed and the balance suspended to probation, of which 120 days were to be served on home detention.

Barker appealed his sentence, arguing the 120 days of home detention exceeded the plea agreement’s cap of 40 years.

He pointed to Indiana Code 35-38-2.5-5(e) that allows for an individual confined to home detention to earn credit for time served. Although the sentencing court made the home detention part of his probation, he asserted it must be considered executed time since he can earn credit.

In its review of the matter, the Court of Appeals started by noting, “To say that the case law has been murky on the issue of credit time for home detainees would be an understatement.”

It found Antcliff v. State, 688 N.E.2d 166, 168 (Ind. Ct. App. 1997) to be the most procedurally similar even though the lower court concluded Antcliff’s home detention did not amount to executed time. However, in 2001, the Legislature amended IC 35-38-2.5-5 by adding subsection (e) that specifically entitled a detainee to earn credit for time served while on home detention.

“Whether home detention is imposed via a direct placement in a community corrections program or as a condition of probation, its accompanying statutory requirement that the detainee received credit time militates toward counting it as part of the executed portion of his sentence,” Judge Terry Crone wrote in Nathan K. Barker v. State of Indiana, 73A01-1212-CR-575.
 

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