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. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.