Sentence in molestation case remanded to include credit time

A man sentenced to serve 25 years in prison on a child molesting conviction has successfully challenged his sentencing judgment that lacked the more than two years of credit time for the period he was behind bars awaiting sentencing.

The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in Mark A. Bonds v. State of Indiana, 20A-CR-01449, that the Marion Superior Court had abused its discretion in denying Mark Bonds’ motion to correct error concerning his sentence judgment.

A jury in 2012 found Bonds guilty of two counts of Class A felony child molesting, and he was sentenced in November 2013. In 2020, he filed a motion to correct erroneous sentence, arguing that the 777 days of credit time he was entitled to were not reflected on his sentence judgment, though they were included on the abstract of judgment sent to the Department of Correction.

The trial court denied Bonds’ motion the next day, “and stated that sentencing judgments that report only days spent in pre-sentence confinement and do not expressly designate earned credit time shall be understood by the courts and the DOC automatically to award credit days equal to pre-sentence confinement days.”

The Indiana Court of Appeals disagreed in Bonds’ pro se challenge and remanded with instructions for the court to enter a new judgment of conviction. The COA cited Robinson v. State, 805 N.E.2d 783, 786 (Ind. 2004), which found Ind. Code § 35-38-3-2 requires a sentencing judgment to include credit time earned for time spent in confinement before sentencing.

“While the abstract of judgment stated that Bonds had been confined for 777 days prior to sentencing, the Indiana Supreme Court has held that the ‘sentence’ that is subject to correction under Ind. Code § 35-38-1-15 ‘means the trial court’s judgment of conviction imposing the sentence and not the trial court’s entries on the [DOC’s] abstract of judgment form,’” Judge Elaine Brown wrote for the panel. “Accordingly, we reverse the trial court’s order and remand with instructions to enter a judgment of conviction which includes the amount of credit time earned for time spent in confinement before sentencing.”

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