On Monday CAAF granted review in this Army case:

No. 18-0364/AR. U.S. v. Michael E. Harris. CCA 20170100. On consideration of the petition for grant of review of the decision of the United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals, it is ordered that said petition is granted on the following issue:

WHETHER THE ARMY COURT ERRONEOUSLY AFFIRMED THE MILITARY JUDGE’S DENIAL OF 291 DAYS OF ALLEN CREDIT FOR PRETRIAL CONFINEMENT APPELLANT SERVED IN A CIVILIAN CONFINEMENT FACILITY AWAITING DISPOSITION OF STATE OFFENSES FOR WHICH HE WAS LATER COURT-MARTIALED.

Briefs will be filed under Rule 25.

The appellant was charged with child pornography offenses by the State of Florida and released on bond. He then fled to Cambodia. He was eventually returned to Florida and confined pending trial, but Florida authorities dismissed the case because of witness issues. He was then ordered into pretrial confinement and ultimately pleaded guilty at a general court-martial composed of a military judge alone to wrongful possession of child pornography and desertion. The military judge, however, rejected his request for confinement credit for the time spent in custody in Florida.

Army CCA affirmed in a published decision, available here (78 M.J. 521). It concluded:

The state of Florida did not confine appellant until after he fled to Cambodia and failed to appear to face the Florida child pornography charges. Appellant was charged and placed in pre-trial confinement for the offense of fleeing Florida’s criminal process. The state of Florida was not acting on behalf of the Army and he was not being held in confinement at the request of the Army. The fact appellant’s confinement by the state of Florida exceeded his eventual sentence for the crime of failure to appear does not obligate the Federal government to lessen the appellant’s punishment for different offenses against the Federal sovereign.

78 M.J. at 525.

2 Responses to “CAAF grants review of issue involving military confinement credit for civilian confinement”

  1. Fisch says:

    So, am I the only one wondering why the Military Judge didn’t grant the pretrial credit, sentence him to 6 years, instead of 5 years, and not discuss his thought process regarding the motion and sentencing during the bridge the gap, in order to avoid the appellate issue?
     

  2. Cloudesley Shovell says:

    Given the changes in the regulatory landscape as it pertains to various sentencing credits, as addressed in the Army CCA’s opinion, I suspect CAAF granted review to clarify and restate the law.  The trial judge was generous with other pretrial confinement credits, and I think he made the right decision not awarding credit on the time spent in Florida jails.  Well-written opinion by the Army court as well.
     
    –CS

Leave a Reply