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COA affirms denial of educational credit time for inmate

May 23, 2017

The Indiana Department of Correction correctly denied an inmate’s request for educational credit time after he was reincarcerated for a parole violation, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday, finding established caselaw does not allow inmates to “bank” credit time for future incarceration.

In Cory Pollard v. State of Indiana, 36A01-1603-CR-659, Cory Pollard pleaded guilty in 2005 to Class A felony dealing in cocaine and was sentenced to 20 years executed in the Indiana Department of Correction, with 896 days of credit time for time served and 896 days of good time credit.

While serving his sentence in the Branchville Correctional Facility, Pollard pursued a bachelor’s degree from 2008 to 2011 and received his degree in December 2011. Indiana Code section 35-50-6-3.3(d)(4) provides Pollard could earn up to 730 days of credit time, though subsection (j) of the statute held the earned credit time could not reduce an inmate’s sentence to less than 45 days.

When Pollard submitted his request for educational credit to the correctional facility, it was denied because his earliest projected release date was within 45 days of his request. Instead, Pollard was released to parole in January 2012.

However, when his parole was revoked and he was reincarcerated in December 2013, Pollard once against submitted a request for educational credit, which was once again denied. A letter from the DOC director of education claimed Pollard “did not complete the Bachelor of Science degree during (his) current period of incarceration and it was denied previously, (sic) one cannot bank away time for future periods of incarceration.”

In February 2016, Pollard filed a pro se motion with the Jackson Circuit Court for educational credit, which was subsequently denied. He appealed, arguing the trial court erred when it denied his motion because the credit time was earned “under the same commitment and cause he is now serving.”

But the Indiana Court of Appeals disagreed, with Judge Michael Barnes writing Tuesday the decision in Rodgers v. State, 705 N.E.2d 1039, 1042 (Ind. Ct. App. 1999), which Pollard relied on in his appeal, does not suggest Pollard could “bank” his credit time for a future incarceration due to a parole violation.

“To the contrary, this court observed that Rodgers’s ‘entitlement to the education credit time accrued immediately upon his completion of the degree,’” Barnes wrote.

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