TIMOTHY R. DRATZ, Petitioner,
LYNN GUYER, Warden, Montana State Prison, Respondent.
R. Dratz has filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus
along with several attachments, explaining that the sentence
calculation by the Montana State Prison's Records
Department is in error because it reflects zero credit for
time served. In compliance with this Court's April 3,
2019 Order, the Special Assistant Attorney General for the
Department of Corrections (Department or DOC) has filed a
response for Respondent and Warden Lynn Guyer, recommending
denial of his petition because Dratz is legally incarcerated.
is currently an inmate at Montana State Prison (MSP) with two
sentences from two District Courts. In March 2007, the
Missoula County District Court convicted Dratz of three
felonies: failure to register as a sexual or violent
offender; bail jumping; and forgery. The District Court
sentenced him to the DOC for fifteen years with ten years
suspended on May 16, 2007. On May 3, 2012, the District Court
revoked his suspended sentence upon the State's petition
to revoke, and the court sentenced him to a ten-year DOC
commitment (hereinafter Missoula County sentence). Dratz was
placed at MSP on May 7, 2012.
became parole eligible on November 1, 2014, according to
sentence calculations of his parole eligibility and discharge
dates by the MSP Records Department. MSP calculated that
Dratz's prison sentence would discharge on May 1, 2022.
Dratz appeared before the Board of Pardons and Parole (Board)
on December 16, 2015, and the Board granted him a conditional
parole. On May 3, 2016, Dratz was released on parole.
incurred new charges in 2018. On September 11, 2018, the
Lewis and Clark County Attorney's office charged him by
information with felony driving while under the influence of
alcohol and/or dangerous drugs, 4th or subsequent
offense (DUI), and two misdemeanor offenses in the Lewis and
Clark County District Court. Dratz pleaded guilty to DUI. On
January 8, 2019, the District Court sentenced him to the DOC
for a thirteen-month term, followed by a three-year suspended
DOC sentence (hereinafter Lewis and Clark County sentence).
The court ordered that his Lewis and Clark County sentence
merge with his Missoula County sentence.
January 22, 2019, Dratz appeared before the Board because of
a report of violation filed by Dratz's supervising
Probation and Parole Officer. The Board held a revocation
hearing, revoking Dratz's parole in his Missoula County
sentence. The Board also ordered that Dratz reappear upon his
parole eligibility date.
March 28, 2019, Dratz filed his instant petition with this
Court. Dratz states that he is due credit of four months and
nineteen days for time served in his Lewis and Clark County
sentence. He explains that he was arrested on August 20,
2018, and that he was sentenced on January 1, 2019. He adds
that because he has not received this credit his entire
calculation is wrong, potentially affecting his access to
treatment at Warm Springs Addiction Treatment and Change
(WATCh). Even though he mentions his concurrent sentences,
Dratz contends that his incarceration will be longer than
Department responds that both of Dratz's arguments fail.
First, the Department explains that the MSP Records
Department did not calculate Dratz's sentence discharge
date in error and includes an affidavit from the Manager of
the MSP Records Department. The Department points out that a
delay exists between the time the offender arrives at MSP
after a judgment is entered by a court, and when MSP receives
a copy of that certified judgment. The problem here, the
Department clarifies, is that the Records Department
initially received the Verification of Commitment which did
not have a number of days for jail time and had instead
"to be determined." This was the basis for the
February 1, 2019 calculation. On March 29, 2019, the
Department states that Dratz received a copy of the judgment
for the Lewis and Clark County sentence verified by his
submission of his Offender/Staff Request form to MSP Records
Department. The Department points out that Dratz filed his
habeas corpus petition with this Court the day before he
received this copy. On April 3, 2019, the Department adds
that the Records Department let Dratz know that he would
receive an updated spreadsheet of his sentence calculation.
The Department provides that on April 18, 2019, the Records
Department recalculated his sentence and included the
jail-time credit based on the certified copy of the final
judgment for his Lewis and Clark County sentence. The
Department concludes that it has correctly calculated his
sentences and that Dratz is lawfully incarcerated.
Department next puts forth that Dratz will not serve a longer
sentence if he is released from MSP to attend WaTCh. The
Department explains that when Dratz was sent to MSP he came
under the jurisdiction of the Board, as all inmates do. The
Department states that Dratz's argument fails because
Dratz must be granted parole to attend the WATCh program, and
Dratz will not be parole eligible until he first completes
his custodial thirteen-month term for DUI. Section 61-8-73
l(1)(a)(i), MCA. The Department adds that Dratz's
custodial sentence for DUI will expire September 18, 2019,
and that Dratz's concurrent custodial sentence, or
Missoula County sentence, does not discharge until May 1,
2022. The Department reiterates that until Dratz discharges
the custodial portion of his Lewis and Clark County sentence,
he is not entitled to release, and that he will not be held
beyond the custodial portion of his sentence. The Department
concludes that Dratz's second argument fails as a matter
of law because he would not be illegally restrained beyond
the end of his custodial sentence.
the Department's arguments persuasive concerning the
invalidity of Dratz's claims. A writ of habeas corpus is
available to inquire into the cause of restraint to determine
whether it is illegal. Section 46-22-101(1), MCA. We conclude
that Dratz has not demonstrated that he has an illegal
sentence and, thereby illegal incarceration, because of the
Department's recalculation of his sentence which provided
his current parole eligibility dates.
observe two, loose pleadings in Dratz's handwriting that
have not been filed in this Court's file. The pleadings
are captioned: "Petition for Writ of Mandamus" and
"Petition for Writ of Supervisory Control." Neither
document has been served and will be returned to Dratz.
ORDERED that Dratz's Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus
is DENIED and DISMISSED.
Clerk of the Supreme Court is directed to provide a copy of
this Order to counsel of record and to Timothy R. Dratz along