In Commonwealth v. Pearson, the Appeals Court affirmed the denial of the defendant’s motion for receipt of “jail credits for overlapping periods of pretrial detention on … separate cases brought in” Norfolk and Middlesex Counties. The Appeals Court opined that the cases “were not related for purposes of applying jail credits.”
The background was as follows. The Norfolk case stemmed from four incidents in January and February, 2012, in which the defendant broke into residences in Brookline and stole various valuable items. The Middlesex case stemmed from two incidents in February, 2012, in which the defendant broke into residences in Cambridge and stole various valuable items. In due course, police officers arrested the defendant at his residence and, pursuant to a search warrant, seized items that had been stolen from the burglarized homes. The defendant was held in pretrial custody following his arrest. After a jury trial in the Norfolk case, the defendant was convicted of several counts and “received a sentence of six to eight years in State prison … and … 733 days of jail credit for the time he was held awaiting trial. Following a subsequent jury trial in the Middlesex case, the defendant was convicted of two counts…. He received [concurrent] ten-year State prison sentence[s]” on those convictions. Moreover, “[t]he defendant’s sentences in the Middlesex case were to run concurrently with his sentences in the Norfolk case.” Subsequently, “the defendant moved to correct the mittimus on the Middlesex case, seeking to have the jail credit on the Norfolk case apply to the subsequent Middlesex case.” The motion was denied and the defendant appealed.
In its decision affirming the denial of the defendant’s motion to correct the mittimus, the Appeals Court noted that pursuant to G.L. c.279, §33A, “a defendant is entitled to credit for time spent awaiting trial on an offense. However, a defendant is not entitled to jail credit for time spent awaiting trial if he is already serving a committed sentence for unrelated offenses…. A defendant in custody awaiting trial on multiple unrelated cases is entitled to apply the jail credit to only one case; however, a judge has discretion to award jail credit to multiple cases upon a timely request…. The key consideration in this analysis is fairness to the defendant.” In the Court’s view, “[t]his case hinge[d] on whether the Norfolk and Middlesex [prosecutions were] related for purposes of applying jail credits.” “The defendant contend[ed] that the [two prosecutions] were related because they stemmed from a ‘crime spree’ that involved a common scheme, and thus he was entitled, as a matter of law, to have the [Norfolk] jail credits applied to the Middlesex case, too.” The Court concluded that “the Norfolk and Middlesex cases were not related for purposes of applying jail credits.” “[T]he [defendant’s] convictions did not involve a single occurrence or arise out of the same incident. Instead, the defendant’s conduct involved discrete burglaries on different days, at different homes, in different cities and towns, and with different victims…. Furthermore, the defendant cites no authority for the proposition that the house breaks and thefts were related for purposes of awarding jail credits because they involved a similar scheme and occurred over a two-week period.”
In the event you or a loved one has been convicted of a crime and sentenced to a period of incarceration, the issue of jail credits is a critical one. While jail credits may be a straightforward calculation in some cases, where a defendant has been sentenced on multiple dockets, is facing a probation violation and a new case, or receives sentences in different counties, he or she may face similar concerns to those raised in this case. Attorney Daniel Cappetta works hard to make sure his clients obtain the best outcome possible – whether that is in relation to litigating an open case, fighting to make sure his clients obtain the jail credits they deserve, or arguing issues on appeal. Put his skill and experience to use for you and call him today for a free consultation.