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Hall v. Michael

Supreme Court of Montana

August 8, 2017

STACY GENE HALL, Petitioner,
REGINALD MICHAEL, Director, Montana Department of Corrections, Respondent.


         Stacy G. Hall petitions this Court for relief from the 4, 511 days of dead time the Montana State Prison's Records Department (MSP Records) added to his Montana sentences in 2009, In compliance with this Court's May 31, 2017 Order, the Department of Corrections (Department) has filed a response.

         We addressed some of Hall's arguments in a previous Order, to which Hall and the Department refer. Hall v. Mont. Dep 't of Corrections, No. OP 09-0564, 2010 Mont. LEXIS 63, Or. denying petition for habeas corpus relief, (Mont. Jan. 26, 2010) (Hall I). We restate the procedural background only briefly here.

         Hall was found guilty and sentenced in January 1996 to a collective forty-five years with five suspended, for burglary, theft and criminal mischief, to run concurrently with sentences stemming from previous convictions. He was sentenced in March 1996 for felony escape, for which he received another three-year consecutive sentence. Later that year, Hall was transported to the Dickens County Correctional Center in Spur, Texas, due to overcrowding at Montana State Prison (MSP). He escaped from the Dickens County facility just over a month following his transfer. In May 2007, Santa Clara County, California, authorities notified Montana authorities of Hall's whereabouts. MSP Records promptly began the process to return Hall to Montana. Hall served a three-year sentence on a new California conviction and returned to MSP on February 18, 2009.

         This Court concluded in Hall /that Montana retained jurisdiction over Hall, that he was properly extradited, and that he was legally incarcerated. We declined to consider Hall's argument about the imposition of dead time and the revocation of good time credit because he failed to present sufficient argument or cite any legal authority. Hall advances those arguments now.

         Hall argues that MSP Records inappropriately allocated him 4, 511 days of "dead time, " and that he has been excessively sanctioned for escape. He points out that "[o]n March 12, 2009, Janet Cox of MSP Records modified Hall's parole and discharge dates by adding 4, 511 days as dead time for the time between the reported escape by DCCC [Dickens County Correctional Center, TX] on September 24, 1996 to the date of Hall's return to MSP on February 18, 2009." He adds that MSP Records revoked his day-for-day good time credit.

         The Department responds that Hall's claims lack merit and that his petition should be denied. The Department concludes that Hall's claim concerning jurisdiction is moot because this Court addressed it in Hall I. We conclude that Hall is precluded by principles of res judicata from presenting arguments that we already rejected in Hall I relating to Montana's jurisdiction over Hall and his extradition from California. We decline to consider those arguments further.

         The Department rebuts Hall's arguments concerning credit for time served because Hall was never charged with escape in Montana, and argues that any time served on California offenses cannot be credited toward his sentence in Montana. Section 46-18-403, MCA (1995). The Department states that nothing in this statute in relation to Hall's circumstances requires or permits credit to be given against his Montana sentences for any time served by Hall in California. The Department points out that 4, 525 days existed between Hall's escape date of September 24, 1996, and the return date of February 18, 2009. The Department adds that Hall received fourteen days of credit from February 4, 2009, to February 18, 2009, and that Hall is not entitled to any other time.

         The Department, in a footnote, explains that Hall was charged with a major disciplinary infraction for his escape when he was extradited to Montana and returned to MSP. The Department provides documentation showing that Hall had a hearing, following which the Disciplinary Hearing Officer found him guilty of this infraction. Hall's administrative appeal was denied, the Warden's designee noting that he was listed in national criminal information databases as "on escape status" until his California arrest. Hall received thirty days of detention and review of his classification status.

         The Department contends that because Hall was not serving his Montana sentence while he was in California, he cannot receive any good time credit pursuant to § 53-30-105, MCA (1995). We agree with the Department that Hall's claim to good time while he was on escape status is belied by the statute. It provides in relevant part:

The department of corrections may grant a good time allowance to inmates housed at an adult correctional facility .... The good time allowance may operate as a credit on the inmate's sentence as imposed by the court, conditioned upon the inmate's good behavior and compliance with the rules adopted by the department. The department may not grant good time allowance to exceed 1 day for each day served at an adult correctional facility or a supervised release program facility.

Section 53-30-105, MCA (1995) (Repealed 1997, Sees. 12(2), 13, Ch. 372 L. 1995). The Department also is correct that an offender cannot receive additional credit for time served in another State when those other offenses do not relate to sentences in Montana. See State v. Allison, 2008 MT 305, ¶ 15, 346 Mont. 6, 192 P.3d 1135 (holding that the district court did not err in refusing to credit Allison for any additional time he served in Oregon, following his arrest there and pending his return to Montana, which was the original sentencing state.)

         This brings us to Hall's last argument about the imposition of "dead time, " which is not specifically mentioned in the 2009 Disciplinary Hearing Decision. The Department has provided the sentencing calculation completed on March 12, 2009, in which MSP Records noted: "Sentence 4 has loss of day for day good time added to discharge date, return from Escape, Dead Time on Escape." Hall argues that his parole and discharge dates were modified without notice to him upon the MSP Records Department's 2009 calculation. Although the Montana Board of Pardons and Parole is vested with discretion to determine whether "dead time" will be counted as time served when an inmate is paroled and later returned to prison on a revocation, Admin. R. M. 20.25.801(10); State v. Hornstein, 2010 MT 75, ¶ 16, 356 Mont. 14, 229 P.3d 1206, Hall was not released from prison. He escaped. Hall has not provided any authority to support his argument that he should be entitled to credit for the time he spent free after escaping from custody. Habeas corpus affords applicants an opportunity to challenge collaterally the legality of their present incarceration. Section 46-22-101(1), MCA; Lott v. State, 2006 MT 279, ¶ 9, 334 Mont. 270, 150 P.3d 337. Hall has not met his burden to establish that the imposition of dead time constitutes a "violation, deprivation, infringement, or denial of his constitutional, statutory, or legal rights." Miller v. Eleventh Judicial Dist. Ct, 2007 MT 58, ¶ 14, 336 Mont. 207, 154 P.3d 1186.

         IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Hall's petition for a writ of habeas corpus is DENIED.

         IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Hall's ex parte motion for an order allowing petitioner to file a traverse/reply ...

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