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Credit-time statute amendment not retroactive

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An amendment to the statute governing credit-time eligibility for people on home detention in criminal corrections programs is not retroactive, therefore, a defendant isn’t entitled to credit time under the amendment, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded Wednesday.

Mario Brown was in community corrections in Marion County after pleading guilty to Class C felony operating a motor vehicle after license forfeited for life in 2009. At that time, Indiana Code Section 35-38-2.6-6 explicitly excluded those serving out sentences on home detention from receiving credit time. A 2010 amendment to the statute lifted that restriction.

Brown admitted to violating the rules of his placement in July 2010 and was ordered to serve the balance of his original three-year sentence in the Department of Correction. He received no credit time for this period, which he argued he should based on the amended version of I.C. Section 35-38-2.6-6. He claimed the amendment was retroactive and denying him the credit-time eligibility violates his rights to Equal Protection.

The Court of Appeals judges disagreed with Brown in Mario Brown v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-1008-CR-905, finding the statute in question isn’t remedial in nature. The 2010 amendment didn’t seek to remedy a defect or clarify an ambiguous statute, wrote Judge L. Mark Bailey. He also noted reading the statute retroactively would yield a result which the court presumes the Legislature didn’t intend. The judges doubted that the General Assembly would allow for, essentially, the post-hoc halving of sentences without at least some indication that it was intentionally pursuing such an end.

The Court of Appeals also rejected Brown’s argument that not retroactively applying the statute to him deprives him of Equal Protection. The judges found the state’s avoidance of the administrative burden of recalculating sentences to be a legitimate government interest. The state also has a legitimate interest in protecting the integrity of sentences already imposed, wrote Judge Bailey.
 

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