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State v. Osborn

Supreme Court of Idaho

September 11, 2019

STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
CHRISTOPHER NEAL OSBORN, Defendant-Respondent.

          Appeal from the District Court of the First Judicial District of the State of Idaho, Kootenai County. Cynthia K.C. Meyer, District Judge.

         The decision of the district court is affirmed.

          Lawrence G. Wasden, Idaho Attorney General, Boise, for appellant. Kenneth K. Jorgensen argued.

          Anne Taylor, Kootenai County Public Defender's Office, Coeur d'Alene, for respondent. Amanda R. Montalvo argued.

          BRODY, JUSTICE.

         This case involves the vexing question of the proper amount of credit for time served to which Christopher Osborn is entitled under Idaho Code section 19-2603, the statute governing rearrest for a probation violation. Osborn violated a no contact order twice, pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charges, and was given consecutive sentences of 365 days in jail on each count. Both sentences were suspended and he was placed on probation for two years on each count to be served concurrently. He was later arrested for, and admitted to, violating the terms of his probation; he served 106 days in jail from the date of his arrest before admitting the violations. The magistrate court granted Osborn 106 days credit for time served against the first of his consecutive sentences. Osborn then filed a Rule 35 motion seeking credit for time served against both consecutive sentences. The magistrate court denied Osborn's motion. Osborn appealed to the district court, and it reversed the magistrate court's denial and granted Osborn credit for time served against both sentences. We affirm the district court's decision.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         After a domestic violence incident, Christopher Osborn was ordered to have no direct or indirect contact with his girlfriend. Osborn ignored this order and went to his girlfriend's home a month later, taking property, making death threats, and throwing items at her. After police extracted Osborn from a hiding place in the garage, he was charged with two misdemeanor counts of violating the no contact order. Osborn pleaded guilty to both counts and was given consecutive sentences of 365 days jail on each count, the maximum sentences available for those offenses. After giving Osborn credit against each count for time served prior to judgment, the magistrate court suspended 278 days of each sentence and placed Osborn on supervised probation for two years on each count to be served concurrently.

         Osborn absconded immediately upon his release from jail. The State filed a motion to revoke probation, alleging Osborn violated the terms of his probation by failing to report to the probation department within three business days of his release and was evading supervision. The State requested that a bench warrant be issued. The State's request was granted and a bench warrant was issued.

         A few months later, Osborn was arrested after he was found hiding between a mattress and a box-spring in his girlfriend's home. He had pulled her into the home by her hair and threatened to kill her. Osborn's girlfriend was eventually found unharmed but terrified, hiding amongst insulation in the home's attic. Police charged Osborn with violating the no contact order again, and with kidnapping, and with obstructing an officer. Once in custody on the new charges, Osborn was served with the outstanding bench warrant issued in this case for his alleged probation violations. The State also filed an amended motion to revoke probation which added the allegation that Osborn violated the terms of his probation by committing new offenses.

         A little over three months after he was arrested on the new charges, Osborn admitted to violating the terms of his probation in this case. The magistrate court revoked his probation and imposed his previously-suspended consecutive sentences. The magistrate court credited Osborn with 106 days spent in jail from service of the bench warrant until he admitted the probation violations. The magistrate court credited the time against the first count alone, reasoning that the time served was post-sentencing on consecutive counts. Osborn filed a Rule 35 motion asking for additional credit for time served, arguing that he was owed 106 days credit against his second count as well, irrespective of the fact that it was a consecutive sentence. After a hearing on the matter, the magistrate court denied the motion, stating:

. . . [M]y interpretation of [State v.] Owens and [Idaho Code section 19-2603] is that after sentencing is imposed-and to the extent it's structured consecutively as it was here-[Osborn is] no longer entitled to having credit on each of the various counts because now the sentences have been structured consecutively, which it was, and he got credit for the time that he was in towards that structured sentence. He doesn't get it twice . . .

         Osborn appealed the magistrate court's denial of his Rule 35 motion to the district court.

         Upon review, the district court reversed the magistrate court's decision and credited Osborn with 106 days against the sentences for each of the two counts, rather than just the first. The district court determined that the plain language of Idaho Code section 19-2603 and existing case law mandated that "if [a] bench warrant includes more than one offense, then a defendant is entitled to credit served on each offense." It then explained that Osborn's consecutive sentences did not change the analysis:

In the present case, [Osborn] was taken into custody under a bench warrant based on a probation violation that applied to both charges. The fact that [Osborn's] sentences were imposed to run consecutively is of no moment, because he violated the terms of his probation on both charges. Thus, under the plain language of Idaho Code § 19-2603, [Osborn] is entitled to credit for 106 days against each count, for total credit of 346 days.

         The State timely appealed to this Court. We affirm the decision of the district court.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         "The question of whether a sentencing court has properly awarded credit for time served to the facts of a particular case is a question of law, which is subject to free review by the appellate courts." State v. Gonzalez, No. 44534, 2019 WL 693765, at *2 (Idaho Feb. 20, 2019) (internal citation omitted). Additionally, "the interpretation of a statute is a question of law over which this Court exercises free review." City of Idaho Falls v. H-K Contractors, Inc., 163 Idaho 579, 581, 416 P.3d 951, 953 (2018).

Our objective when interpreting a statute is "to derive the intent of the legislative body that adopted the act." Id. (quoting State v. Schulz, 151 Idaho 863, 866, 264 P.3d 970, 973 (2011)). Statutory interpretation begins with the statute's plain language. State v. Dunlap, 155 Idaho 345, 361, 313 P.3d 1, 17 (2013). This Court considers the statute as a whole, and gives words their plain, usual, and ordinary meanings. Id. When the statute's language is unambiguous, the legislature's clearly expressed intent must be given effect, and we do not need to go beyond the statute's plain language to consider other rules of statutory construction. Id. at 361-62, 313 P.3d at 17-18.

State v. Owens, 158 Idaho 1, 3, 343 P.3d 30, 32 (2015).

         III. ANALYSIS

         The State contends the district court erred in granting Osborn credit for time served against both of his consecutive sentences. Section 19-2603, the statute at issue, provides in part:

The defendant shall receive credit for time served from the date of service of a bench warrant issued by the court after a finding of probable cause to believe the defendant has violated a condition of probation . . . .

I.C. § 19-2603 (emphasis added). The State asserts this language is plain and unambiguous. Its argument is: "By granting consecutive credit for time served against the consecutive sentences the magistrate granted 'credit for time served from the date of service of a bench warrant.' Not giving concurrent credit against the consecutive sentences in no way deprived Osborn of 'credit for time served from the date of service of a bench warrant.' Osborn was serving his consecutive sentences from the moment ...


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