Jail credit, including pretrial confinement credit, is 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 is 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.