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State of Alaska v. Christopher Shetters

October 8, 2010

STATE OF ALASKA, APPELLANT,
v.
CHRISTOPHER SHETTERS, APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Superior Court, Third Judicial District, Anchorage, Michael L. Wolverton, Judge. Court of Appeals No. A-10378 Trial Court No. 3AN-05-5437 Cr

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mannheimer, Judge.

NOTICE

The text of this opinion can be corrected before the opinion is published in the Pacific Reporter. Readers are encouraged to bring typographical or other formal errors to the attention of the Clerk of the Appellate Courts:

303 K Street, Anchorage, Alaska 99501

Fax: (907) 264-0878

E-mail: corrections at appellate.courts.state.ak.us

OPINION

Before: Coats, Chief Judge, and Mannheimer and Bolger, Judges.

AS 33.20.010(a) states that "a prisoner [who is] sentenced to a term of imprisonment that exceeds three days is entitled to a deduction of one-third of the term of imprisonment[,] rounded off to the nearest day[,] if the prisoner follows the rules of the correctional facility in which the prisoner is confined." For a defendant whose sentence is 2 years or more, this good time credit converts the remaining portion of the defendant's sentence from time spent in prison to time spent on mandatory parole. See AS 33.20.040(a), as construed in Hill v. State, 22 P.3d 24, 27 (Alaska App. 2001). See also State v. Staael, 807 P.2d 513, 516-19 (Alaska App. 1991) (holding that a prisoner has no right to refuse mandatory parole release when their good time credit equals the time remaining on their sentence of imprisonment).

The present appeal presents two questions relating to the calculation of a defendant's good time credit under AS 33.20.010(a) when they are released on mandatory parole, but when that mandatory parole is later revoked and they are returned to prison to serve the remainder of their sentence.

The first question is this: When a defendant is released on mandatory parole, and one of their conditions of parole is to reside in a correctional restitution center or halfway house, but later the defendant's parole is revoked and they are ordered to serve the remainder of their sentence in prison, is the defendant entitled to good time credit for the time they spent at the correctional restitution center or halfway house?

The second question is this: When a defendant is released on mandatory parole, but the defendant is later arrested on a parole revocation warrant and placed in custody in a correctional restitution center or halfway house (rather than in prison) pending the Parole Board's final decision on whether to revoke the defendant's parole, is the defendant entitled to good time credit for the time spent at the correctional restitution center or halfway house if the Parole Board ultimately decides to revoke the defendant's parole and orders them to serve their remaining sentence?

For the reasons explained in this opinion, we conclude that defendants in these two situations are "prisoners" who are "confined" in a "correctional facility" for purposes of the good time credit statute, and thus they are entitled to good time credit for the time they spent in the correctional restitution center or halfway house.

Underlying facts

In 2005, Christopher Shetters was convicted of felony driving under the influence and was sentenced to serve 3 years in prison. After serving two-thirds of this sentence (in other words, with 365 days of his sentence remaining) Shetters was released on mandatory parole. In early 2008, the Alaska Parole Board took Shetters back into custody on suspicion that he had violated the conditions of parole.

On January 29, 2008, Shetters appeared before the Alaska Parole Board for a preliminary parole revocation hearing. At the conclusion of this hearing, the Parole Board found probable cause to believe that Shetters had violated his parole, but the Board released Shetters to a "CRC" -- i.e., a "correctional restitution center" established under AS ...


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