367 F.2d 326 (D.C. Cir. 1966), 19837, Stapf v. United States

Docket Nº19837, 19849, 19884, 19976.
Citation367 F.2d 326
Party NameEdward W. STAPF, Appellant, v. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee. Lester KERR, Appellant, v. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee. Edward W. STAPF, Appellant, v. Nicholas deB. KATZENBACH et al., Appellees. William HOLLINGSWORTH, Appellant, v. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.
Case DateAugust 04, 1966
CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

Page 326

367 F.2d 326 (D.C. Cir. 1966)

Edward W. STAPF, Appellant,

v.

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.

Lester KERR, Appellant,

v.

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.

Edward W. STAPF, Appellant,

v.

Nicholas deB. KATZENBACH et al., Appellees.

William HOLLINGSWORTH, Appellant,

v.

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.

Nos. 19837, 19849, 19884, 19976.

United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit.

Aug. 4, 1966

Argued April 28, 1966.

Page 327

Mr. Martin J. Gaynes, Washington, D.C. (appointed by this court) for appellants.

Mr. Charles L. Owen, Asst. U.S. Atty., with whom Messrs. David G. Bress, U.S. Atty., and Frank Q. Nebeker, Asst. U.S. Atty., were on the brief for appellee.

Before BASTIAN, Senior Circuit Judge, and WRIGHT and LEVENTHAL, Circuit Judges.

LEVENTHAL, Circuit Judge:

These cases, consolidated on appeal, present the common question whether the District Court acted lawfully when it refused to accord a convicted defendant credit against his sentence for the time he spent in custody for want of bail prior to sentence.

The facts in No. 19837 are as follows: Appellant, Edward Stapf, was arrested on May 23, 1962, and charged with interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2312 (1964). Stapf was promptly admitted to bail in the amount of $1000, but was unable to secure a bail bond for this amount. 1 He was therefore committed to the District of Columbia Jail where he remained in custody for some five months. On October 19, 1962, he was convicted on a plea of guilty to the charged violation of § 2312, and he was thereupon sentenced to an indeterminate term of imprisonment under the Federal Youth Corrections Act, 18 U.S.C. § 5010(b) (1964). Subsequently, Stapf moved for resentencing. This motion was granted on May 11, 1964, at which time the District Court vacated his original sentence and resentenced him to a term of 20 months to five years, the latter being the maximum sentence authorized by § 2312. The court, in addition, ordered the new sentence to take effect retroactively from October 19, 1962, thereby crediting him with the time he had spent in custody under his original Youth Corrections Act sentence. However, by sentencing Stapf to the maximum five-year term allowable, the court refused credit for the period of five months spent in custody prior to sentencing for want of bail. 2 Stapf immediately filed a series of unsuccessful pro se motions under Rule 35, FED.R.CRIM.P., requesting credit against his sentence for this five-month period of detention. The denial of the latest of these motions is the subject of his appeal.

The cases of the other two appellants consolidated on this appeal, Nos. 19849 and 19976, present the same basic factual pattern: In both cases the appellant, who was admitted to bail but was unable to secure a bail bond, was incarcerated in the District of Columbia Jail for a period of about three months prior to sentencing. Each appellant was ultimately sentenced to the maximum term authorized by statute and no credit was given by the sentencing court for the time spent in jail for want of bail. Subsequently, the District Court denied appellants' pro se motions under Rule 35, which alleged that denial of such credit was illegal.

Appellants stress the fact that their total time in custody exceeds that of defendants who were likewise sentenced to the maximum term allowable by statute, but had previously been able to secure bail. Appellants conclude that the District Court's refusal to give them credit, in effect, creates two sets of maximum sentences, one for the poor (those who are unable to make bail), and one for the rich (those who are able to procure a bail bond), a distinction which denies the former equal protection of the

Page 328

law. We need not consider this argument because we find other factors present in these cases which render the court's denial of credit for presentence custody illegal. 3

None of the appellants was sentenced under a statute which prescribed a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment for the offense (hereafter referred to as a minimum term offense). Those sentenced for minimum term offenses automatically receive credit for their presentence custody under 18 U.S.C. § 3568 (1964) which provides:

The Attorney General shall give any such person credit toward service of his sentence for any days spent in custody prior to the imposition of sentence by the sentencing court for want of bail set for the offense under which sentence was imposed where the statute requires the imposition of a minimum mandatory sentence.

This provision for automatic credit was added to § 3568 by Congress in...

To continue reading

Request your trial