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Court must reconsider man’s request for credit time

October 1, 2014

A trial court mistakenly believed it could not award educational credit time to a man serving his sentence on home detention, so the Indiana Court of Appeals ordered the court to re-evaluate his petition.

James Robinson was ordered to serve four years on home detention after pleading guilty to forgery in September 2013. In December, he was awarded his general education development diploma. Several days later, the trial court revoked his community corrections placement and ordered him to serve the remainder of his sentence in the Department of Correction because of violations occurring in December and January 2014. The trial court denied his request for six months of educational credit time because the judge interpreted the statute to apply to people at the DOC or at a work-release facility to ensure good behavior.

Before ruling on the judge’s decision, the Court of Appeals addressed the state’s argument that the trial court could not rule on Robinson’s motion for credit time. The state claimed the DOC had to make the decision, and Robinson had not exhausted his administrative remedies.

But Robinson was not serving his sentence through the DOC, but through a county-based community corrections program, Judge Margret Robb wrote in James Robinson v. State of Indiana, 49A05-1405-CR-224. The trial court, in consultation with Marion County Community Corrections, is in the better position to determine whether Robinson is entitled to the educational credit time.

The Indiana statutes are clear that at all times relevant to Robinson’s case, a person serving a sentence on home detention is entitled to request educational credit time. In his case, it is appropriate for the trial court to consider the request. Because the judge did not reach the merits of Robinson’s claim and did not specifically determine whether he had demonstrated a pattern consistent with rehabilitation, the COA remanded for further proceedings.
 

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