Jail credit can be a factor in Connecticut habeas corpus. You can learn more on this page.
Jail credit, including pretrial confinement credit, gets authorized under General Statutes §18-97, et seq. A claim that jail credit got erroneously withheld can happen in habeas under General Statutes § 52-466. See Delevieleuse v. Manson, 184 Conn. 434, 439 (1981)(review through habeas petition the statutory right to appropriate jail credit). This is especially true if the credit was withheld because of ineffective assistance of counsel. See Gonzalez v. Commissioner, 308 Conn. 463 (2013)(Sixth Amendment and Article First, § 8 confer right to effective assistance of counsel in jail credit matters).
Jail Credit and Cases
Cases that illuminate the application of jail credit are Payton v. Albert , 209 Conn. 23 (1988)(inmate cannot bank jail credit to reduce subsequent sentences); Wright v. Commissioner, 216 Conn. 220 (1990)(inmate, if resentenced, must obtain credit for time served for same offense); Harris v. Commissioner, 271 Conn. 808 (2004)(when jail credit is earned simultaneously in multiple files, the credit will be applied against the concurrent sentence that is imposed first); Cox v. Commissioner, 271 Conn. 844 (2004)(same); Hunter v. Commissioner, 271 Conn. 856 (2004)(same); and Washington v. Commissioner, 287 Conn. 792, 827 (2008)(Harris, Cox, and Hunter are retroactive and jail credit can be recalculated).
Getting Jail Credit
Before a jail credit claim happens in a habeas petition, habeas counsel should contact DOC records specialists Mary Jane Steele or Michelle DeVeau at 860-292-3471 to learn more about the computation of the petitioner’s credit.
If habeas counsel’s investigation establishes that credit got denied due to an obvious misstep by defense counsel or an error in the trial court clerk’s file, habeas counsel can contact the State’s Attorney’s Office. The State’s Attorney’s Office will often agree to a correction in the trial court record, so long as the denial of credit is through no fault of the defendant. The DOC, upon receipt of the corrected record, will make the necessary recalculation and apply the appropriate credit. Thus, contacting the State’s Attorney’s Office may eliminate the need to file an amended petition charging the denial of jail credit. If an amended petition gets filed, however, the same equitable disposition can still get reached.
Denied Jail Credit
If habeas counsel’s investigation reveals that credit got denied due to the DOC’s interpretation of a statute or court decision, a claim must happen in the petition or amended petition. The State’s Attorney’s Office will almost never agree to relief.
To the extent such a claim happens, habeas counsel must secure copies of the trial court clerk’s file and the transcripts of the relevant trial court proceedings for introduction at the habeas trial. Practice Book Section 23-36 provides for the filing of a copy of the clerk’s file and the relevant transcripts in the habeas court. Likewise, habeas counsel must subpoena the client’s DOC records that bear on credit. The testimony of a DOC official may also be necessary and, if so, should get obtained by subpoena.
Securing the foregoing items for introduction at the habeas trial is also necessary if the basis of the claim is an error by defense counsel that for one reason or another, the State’s Attorney’s Office cannot agree to rectify.
Good Time Credit
This credit is authorized under General Statutes § 18 -7a. A claim that this credit was erroneously withheld is permissible in habeas under General Statutes § 52-466. See Santiago v. Commissioner, 39 Conn. App. 674, 682-83 (1995)(“loss of earned statutory good time credits…sufficient to implicate a recognized liberty interest”); compare Abed v. Commissioner, 43 Conn. App. 176, 182 (“no liberty interest in unearned statutory good time credits”), cert. denied, 239 Conn. 937 (1996). Such a claim, however, will probably not derive from ineffective assistance of counsel because the deprivation will probably have occurred well after counsel’s exit from the case.
Thus, the claim will rest on due process of law. See Santiago v. Commissioner, 39 Conn. App. at 682 (“While there is no fourteenth amendment right for an inmate to receive good time credits, when a state creates a right to good time credits, it is ‘required by the Due Process Clause to insure that the state-created right is not arbitrarily abridged.’” (quoting Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 557 (1994))). Article First, §§ 8 and 9 of the state constitution should also get cited in support of the claim.
Before this credit claim is alleged in a habeas petition, habeas counsel should contact DOC records specialists Mary Jane Steele or Michelle DeVeau at 860-292-3471 to learn more about the denial or forfeiture of the petitioner’s credit.
A claim that parole under General Statutes § 54-125a, et seq. was wrongly denied is not permissible in habeas. The habeas court has no jurisdiction to decide a claim concerning parole eligibility or the denial of parole. See Baker v. Commissioner, 281 Conn. 241 (2007)(habeas court lacks jurisdiction of claims concerning inmate classification and parole eligibility dates, as there is no liberty interest in parole eligibility); Vincenzo v. Warden, 26 Conn. App. 132, 142-43 (1991)(habeas court lacks jurisdiction because no liberty interest in release on parole); see also Johnson v. Commissioner , 258 Conn. 804 (2002)(85% law prospective only). Accordingly, a claim that the inmate was impermissibly denied parole should not be included in a habeas petition.