Yesterday’s daily journal includes grants of two interesting Army pretrial confinement credit issues:

No. 07-0826/AR. U.S. v. Bennie B. GOGUE. CCA 20050650. Review granted on the following issue raised by the Appellant:

WHETHER, PURSUANT TO 18 U.S.C. § 3585, APPELLANT IS ENTITLED TO CREDIT TOWARD THE CONFINEMENT ADJUDGED BY A COURT-MARTIAL FOR CONFINEMENT AT STATE FACILITIES SERVED FOR CHARGES UNRELATED TO HIS COURT-MARTIAL SENTENCE AND NOT CREDITED AGAINST ANOTHER SENTENCE.

and the following issue specified by the Court:

WHETHER, UNDER UNITED STATES v. WILSON, 503 U.S. 329 (1992), MILITARY JUDGES LACK THE AUTHORITY TO CALCULATE AND APPLY PRETRIAL CONFINEMENT CREDIT.

No. 07-0856/AR. U.S. v. Dustin A. OWENS. CCA 20070264. Review granted on the following issue specified by the Court:

WHETHER, UNDER 18 U.S.C. § 3585, APPELLANT IS ENTITLED TO CONFINEMENT CREDIT FOR A PERIOD OF INCARCERATION THAT HE SERVED IN A STATE FACILITY FOR A STATE OFFENSE UNRELATED TO THE COURT-MARTIAL.

Neither case appears on ACCA’s web site or on LEXIS — it appears that ACCA reviews a huge number of cases, including many with issues that CAAF finds interesting, with just a short-form affirmance.

Here’s the text of 18 U.S.C. § 3585(b):

(b) Credit for prior custody. A defendant shall be given credit toward the service of a term of imprisonment for any time he has spent in official detention prior to the date the sentence commences–
(1) as a result of the offense for which the sentence was imposed; or
(2) as a result of any other charge for which the defendant was arrested after the commission of the offense for which the sentence was imposed;

that has not been credited against another sentence.

2 Responses to “Two related pretrial confinement credit grants”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Lord help us if CAAF follows suit with the federal courts and takes away the ability of the MJ to award pretrial confinement credit. I practice as an assistant federal public defender and have to deal with the Bureau of Prisons routinely refusing to grant credit to my clients. My clients’ recourse is to file grievances within the BOP system and then civil suit, which is a lengthy process. The military system is vastly superior because everything is resolved in the same forum at the time of sentencing. Both parties have an opportunity to address the issue and an impartial authority rules on the issue. My experience as an AFPD suggests that BOP is less than impartial on the matter.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Good point, anon: judicial economy should trump didactic jurisprudence.

    But am I the only one, or did anybody else do a double-take on CAAF’s specified issue in Gogue?! I thought confinement credit was well-settled law and an established practice.

    Everybody has seen the cartoon classics where one of the characters pulls on a lose thread…and pulls…and pulls…and pulls…while the victim cartoon character’s clothes rapidly disappear. I think if CAAF keeps pulling at these jurisdictional and authority strings, there is no logical endpoint and the whole military justice system would theoretically disappear. Why not revisit why MJ’s have ANY authority at all (with no fixed terms in office and an unusual appointment process); why limit the question of authority to confinement credit? (As I said, this is just an academic question, not a practical one)