In Re Deshawn D.
136 Conn. App. 373 (2012)
Officially Released: June 26, 2012
In this case, the Appellate court held that a juvenile who was committed to DCF for fifteen months following a probation violation was not entitled to a reduction in the time of his commitment based on credit for the time he spent in detention pending his disposition.
The State charged Deshawn D. with a violation of probation, where upon he made an admission as to the charge, and the court placed him in juvenile detention pending the disposition of his case. At his disposition hearing, the state recommended that Deshawn be committed to DCF and placed in the Connecticut Juvenile Training School for fifteen months. He agreed, but filed a motion requesting credit against the length of his commitment for the time he spent in predisposition detention. The court placed him in DCF care, but refused to give him credit for the time spent in detention. He appealed.
Deshawn based his appeal on two theories. The first was statutory – that he was entitled to a reduction in the term of his commitment based on two statutes. The second was constitutional – that his procedural due process rights under the fourteenth amendment were violated. The court disagreed with both theories and affirmed the judgment of the trial court.
Deshawn’s statutory argument was based on Conn. Gen. Stat. §§18-98d and 46b-141d. Section 18-98d requires that pre-sentence credit be given for adults who have been committed to the custody and control of the commissioner of Correction. The court held that this statute did not apply to Deshawn, because he was a juvenile committed to DCF instead of an adult committed to the DOC. The other statute, §46-141d, provides a credit for time served in presentence detention to juvenile offenders who are sentenced to probation. Deshawn argued that this statute should apply to his case by analogy, but the court disagreed, saying that if the provision were intended to apply in his situation, the statute would have explicitly said so.
Deshawn’s second argument, based on the fourteenth amendment of the United States constitution, was grounded in the theory that denying credit for time in detention discourages defendants from going to trial. Under those circumstances, he argued, guilty pleas are involuntary, and amount to an infringement on the right to due process. The court rejected this argument for three reasons. First, the court looked at precedent to conclude that credit is a grant created by statute, not a constitutional mandate. Second, since no statute granting this credit exists that applies to Deshawn, the court found that the absence of that benefit could not be detrimental to his waiver of rights to a hearing. Finally, Deshawn did not classify his admission as “involuntary or coerced” when he was in Superior Court, and had aid of counsel throughout proceedings.
Summary by Sadie Levine, Legal Intern (6/12)
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