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Sentence Credit – Home Detention

State v. Paul E. Magnuson, 2000 WI 19, 233 Wis. 2d 40, 606 N.W.2d 536, reversing unpublished decision
For Magnuson: Keith A. Findley, UW Law School

Issue: Whether a defendant is entitled to sentence credit for time spent in home detention with electronic monitoring as a condition of bond.

Holding: Custody for sentence credit purposes is determined by whether the defendant’s status subjects him/her to an escape charge and, because home detention as a bond condition did not satisfy that test, Magnuson is not entitled to credit.

Magnuson was released on a signature bond, conditioned on a curfew requiring him to be inside a home overnight, while wearing an electronic bracelet to ensure compliance, ¶¶5-6. He seeks credit against his sentence for the preconviction time he spent in this home detention. Eligibility for sentence credit is regulated by Wis. Stat. § 973.155, which requires ” custody.” The supreme court has previously held that “custody” in this statute “corresponds to the definition of custody in the escape statute, Wis. Stat. § 946.42, ¶13. The court of appeals deviated from that bright-line test, in favor of case-by-case analysis. State v. Collett, 207 Wis. 2d 319, 324-25, 558 N.W.2d 642 (Ct. App. 1996). The court now rejects Collett‘s approach, in favor of the following bright-line rule: “for sentence credit purposes an offender’s status constitutes custody whenever the offender is subject to an escape charge for leaving that status,” ¶25. The court adds however, that “custody” isn’t narrowly cabined by the definition in the escape statute, § 946.42. Certain statutes expressly authorize escape charges based on flight from monitored situations: these “statutes provide additional reference points for circuit courts in determining whether a defendant is in custody for sentence credit purposes,” ¶30. (This holding seems to overrule prior case law. Id., n. 7.) Application of this test to Magnuson results in denial of credit. Violation of his bond conditions would not have subjected him to escape, though they may have been similar to programs that would have. Home detention may entitle the defendant to credit, when ordered by a sheriff, a superintendent, or DOC, under § 302.425, but Magnuson’s status was different, ¶38.


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