COA finds calculation of good time credit is function of accrued time

The Court of Appeals of Indiana has reversed for a Vigo County man who was denied any credit for the time he was in jail pending the revocation of his probation.

In 2016, Michael Niccum was convicted of Level 4 felony dealing in methamphetamine and was found to be a habitual offender, sentenced to an aggregate 12 years with nine years executed and three years suspended to probation.

After he successfully completed rehabilitative programming while in the Department of Correction, the Vigo Superior Court ordered the balance of his sentence to be served as a suspended sentence of seven years, six months and 15 days.

However, Niccum violated his probation in January 2021 and was alleged to have committed Level 6 felony domestic battery as well as five Class A misdemeanor offenses. He was arrested and subsequently spent roughly three days in jail before being released on his own recognizance.

The trial court then revoked Niccum’s probation and ordered him to serve the entirety of his previously suspended sentence in the DOC. It also failed to award him any credit for the time that he was in jail pending the revocation of his probation.

“The question on appeal thus turns to whether Niccum is entitled to any good time credit, and the parties’ dispute on this issue presents a question of first impression,” Judge Paul D. Mathias wrote for the COA.

In answering the question of first impression, the COA concluded Niccum was entitled to three days of accrued time and to one day of good time credit. It disagreed with the state’s argument that the trial court should determine Niccum’s accrued time.

The court was not swayed by the state’s reliance on Dobeski v. State, 64 N.E.3d 1257 (Ind. Ct. App. 2016) in its argument that a “day” under the good time credit statute excludes the day of the triggering event.

Dobeski was not about the calculation of good time credit, and we are not persuaded that our legislature intended the award of good time credit to be determined by our rules of procedure,” Mathias wrote. “Rather, the calculation of good time credit is a function of the defendant’s accrued time.

“As Niccum has earned three days of accrued time, he is entitled to one day of good time credit under Indiana Code section 35-50-6-3.1(c),” he continued. “We reverse the trial court’s imposition of the entirety of Niccum’s previously suspended sentence and remand with instructions that the court award Niccum three days of accrued time and one day of good time credit against his sentence.”

The case is Michael C. Niccum v. State of Indiana, 21A-CR-1533.

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