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

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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.
 

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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