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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. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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