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Daily Court Reporter - Jail-time credit not awarded for time under house arrest


Jail-time credit not awarded for time under house arrest

Dan Trevas, Supreme Court of Ohio

A criminal defendant is not entitled to jail-time credit while under postconviction house arrest or postconviction electronic monitoring because state law only grants credit to those confined to a public or private facility “intended for penal confinement,” the Ohio Supreme Court ruled recently.

A Supreme Court majority reversed the Sixth District Court of Appeals, which ruled that an Erie County man sentenced to five years in prison was entitled to jail-time credit for the time he was on house arrest and electronic monitoring. The Court reinstated the county trial court’s judgment denying Eric Reed credit toward the prison sentence he received for violating the terms of his community control.

Writing for the Court majority, Justice Sharon L. Kennedy noted state law describes the types of confinement — such as awaiting trial or a determination of competency — that are entitled to jail-time credit, and house arrest does not qualify.

“The legislature has expressed the intent that credit is to be given only for the time the defendant is confined to a public or private facility. Confinement in a personal residence, therefore, does not qualify under the statute ,” she wrote.

Justices Judith L. French, Patrick F. Fischer, and R. Patrick DeWine joined Justice Kennedy’s opinion. Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor concurred in judgment only.

In a dissenting opinion. Justice Michael P. Donnelly wrote the state law says nothing about confinement to a public or private facility. He noted prior Ohio law specifically stated house arrest did not qualify for jail-time credit, but the law was revised in 2004, and nothing in the Ohio Revised Code would prevent house arrest from qualifying for jail-time credit.

Justice Melody J. Stewart joined Justice Donnelly’s opinion.

Violations Lead to Prison Sentence

Reed was indicted by an Erie County grand jury for engaging in criminal conduct while participating in gang activity, aggravated rioting, and assault. In July 2015, he pleaded guilty to the gang-activity charge in exchange for the dismissal of the other charges. The trial court sentenced him to five years of community control. The court informed Reed that if he violated the community control terms, he could serve five years in prison.

In December 2015, Reed was placed on house arrest for violating his community control terms, and in March 2016, he was placed on electronic monitoring after being charged with further violations. In October 2016, he appeared in trial court for the violations, but after a series of continuances, Reed did not admit to the charges until July 2017. At that time, he asserted he was entitled to jail-time credit for the time he was on standard house arrest and electronic monitoring.

The trial court denied Reed’s request, found he violated the terms of his community-control sanction, and imposed the definite five-year prison term. Reed appealed to the Sixth District, which found that house arrest and electronic monitoring qualified for jail-time credit. The Eric County Prosecutor’s Office appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the case.

Supreme Court Analyzes Law

Justice Kennedy noted the parties in the case argued whether Reed was entitled to credit under R.C. 2949.08(C)(1), which applies to the reduction of a sentence when a defendant is sentenced to jail for a felony or misdemeanor. The Court found the law does not apply to Reed, who was sentenced to prison. A separate law, R.C. 2967.191(A), guides sentence reductions for a person sentenced to prison and applies to the determination whether Reed is entitled to jail-time credit. However, the relevant language of both statutes is the same, so the parties’ arguments apply equally to an interpretation of R.C. 2967.191(A), the opinion noted.

The Court explained the parties focused their argument on the state law’s meaning of the word “confinement,” which is not defined in R.C. Chapter 2949. The prosecutor maintained that house arrest is not confinement because Reed’s freedom of movement was not severely restrained and he could leave his home on his own accord. Reed argued he could not leave his home without authorization from his probation officer, and could have been prosecuted for escape if he did. He maintained house arrest was a detention in a private facility for the custody of a person convicted of a crime, which entitled him to jail-time credit.

The majority opinion stated that while the state and Reed focus on the meaning of the word “confinement” in R.C. 2967.191(A), the Court focused on the language describing the types of confinement that are entitled to jail-time credit.

The law states credit can be granted “for any reason arising out of the offense for which the prisoner was convicted and sentenced, including” four specific instances where credit is granted. The law states jail time credit is granted for those confined while awaiting trial in jail; for examination of competency or sanity; for those awaiting transportation to where the prisoner will serve the prison term; or for those in a juvenile facility.

The Court noted the law uses the word “including” when listing the types of confinement can signal that the list “is meant to be illustrative rather than exhaustive.”

“By providing an illustrative list of the types of confinement that quality for a jail-time credit, the General Assembly has demonstrated that it intends that credit should not be given for all types of confinement. Otherwise, the General Assembly would not have included the illustrative list,” the opinion stated.

The opinion noted all the types of confinement on the list involve a public or private facility intended for penal confinement. This “expressed the intent that credit is to be given only for the time the defendant is confined in a public or private facility.” Because house arrest is confinement in a personal residence, it does not qualify, and Reed is not entitled to credit, the opinion concluded.

Law Permits Credit, Dissent Stated

In his dissent, Justice Donnelly noted R.C. 2967.191(A) allows credit for confinement for “any reason arising out of the offense for which the prisoner was convicted and sentenced.” Reed was placed on house arrest for violating his community control terms, and the dissenting opinion cited R.C. 2929.01(P), in which “house arrest” is defined as a type of confinement.

The dissent stated the list in R.C. 2967.191(A) is not exhaustive and on its face does not limit the form of confinement for which credit can be granted. If the General Assembly intended to deny jail-time credit for house arrest, “it certainly knew how to do so because it had done so previously,” the dissent stated. The opinion noted former R.C. 2929.23(B)(2) specifically stated electronically monitored house arrest was not entitled to jail-time credit, but that provision was removed from the law in 2004.

“The removal of that language, coupled with the nonrestrictive language in R.C. 2967.191(A), shows that is it no longer the General Assembly’s intent to deny jail-time credit for time that offenders serve under electronically monitored house arrest,” the dissent stated.

The opinion can be found online at:

2019-0631. State v. Reed, Slip Opinion No. 2020-Ohio-4255.

Please note: Opinion summaries are prepared by the Office of Public Information for the general public and news media. Opinion summaries are not prepared for every opinion, but only for noteworthy cases. Opinion summaries are not to be considered as official headnotes or syllabi of court opinions. The full text of this and other court opinions are available online.

About the Supreme Court of Ohio

The Supreme Court is established by Article IV, Section 1 of the Ohio Constitution. Article IV, Section 2 of the Constitution sets the size of the Court and outlines its jurisdiction. Article IV, Section 5 of the Constitution grants rule making and other authority to the Court.

The Supreme Court is the court of last resort in Ohio. Most of its cases are appeals from the 12 district courts of appeals. The Court may grant leave to appeal felony cases from the courts of appeals and may direct a court of appeals to certify its record in any civil or misdemeanor case that the Court finds to be "of public or great general interest."

The Supreme Court also has appellate jurisdiction in cases involving questions arising under the Ohio or United States Constitutions, cases originating in the courts of appeals, and cases in which there have been conflicting opinions on the same question from two or more courts of appeals. The Supreme Court hears all cases in which the death penalty has been imposed. These cases currently include both appeals from courts of appeals affirming imposition of the death penalty by a trial court and, for capital crimes committed on or after Jan. 1, 1995, appeals taken directly from the trial courts. Finally, the Supreme Court's appellate jurisdiction extends to review of the actions of certain administrative agencies, including the Public Utilities Commission.

The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction to issue extraordinary writs. These include writs of habeas corpus (inquiring into the cause of an allegedly unlawful imprisonment or deprivation of custody), writs of mandamus (ordering a public official to perform a required act), writs of procedendo (compelling a lower court to proceed to judgment in a case), writs of prohibition (ordering a lower court to stop abusing or usurping judicial functions), and writs of quo warranto (issued against a person or corporation for usurpation, misuse, or abuse of public office or corporate office or franchise).

The Constitution grants the Supreme Court exclusive authority to regulate admission to the practice of law, the discipline of attorneys admitted to practice, and all other matters relating to the practice of law. In connection with this grant of authority, the Supreme Court has promulgated the Supreme Court Rules for the Government of the Bar of Ohio. These rules address, among other things, admission to practice, attorney discipline, attorney registration, continuing legal education, and unauthorized practice of law.

The Constitution also gives the Supreme Court authority to prescribe rules governing practice and procedure in all courts of the state and to exercise general superintendence over all state courts. Procedural rules promulgated by the Supreme Court become effective unless both houses of the General Assembly adopt a concurrent resolution of disapproval. Rules of superintendence over state courts set minimum standards for court administration. Unlike procedural rules, rules of superintendence do not have to be submitted to the General Assembly to become effective.

In connection with all of the rules for which it has responsibility, the Supreme Court generally solicits public comment before adopting new rules or amendments in final form. The Court first publishes its rules and amendments in proposed form. These proposals appear in both the Ohio State Bar Association Reports and the Ohio Official Advance Sheets and indicate the period open for comment and the staff member to whom comments should be directed. The Court reviews all comments submitted before it decides whether to adopt or amend a rule.

Pursuant to the Constitution, the Chief Justice or a Justice designated by the Chief Justice is responsible for ruling on the disqualification of appellate and common pleas court judges. The procedure for obtaining review of a claim of disqualification against an appellate or common pleas judge is commenced by the filing of an affidavit of disqualification with the Clerk of the Supreme Court. The Revised Code contains specific requirements governing the filing of affidavits of disqualification.

Article IV, Section 2 of the Constitution sets the size of the Court at seven -- a Chief Justice and six Justices, who are elected to six-year terms on a nonpartisan ballot. Two Justices are chosen at the general election in even-numbered years. In the year when the Chief Justice runs, voters pick three members of the Court.

A person must be an attorney with at least six years experience in the practice of law to be elected or appointed to the Supreme Court. Appointments are made by the Governor for vacancies that may occur between elections.

Date Published: Wednesday September 30, 2020


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