People v. Idziak

Citation773 N.W.2d 616,484 Mich. 549
Decision Date31 July 2009
Docket NumberDocket No. 137301.,Calendar No. 4.
PartiesPEOPLE of the State of Michigan, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Patrick Lawrence IDZIAK, Defendant-Appellant.
CourtSupreme Court of Michigan
773 N.W.2d 616
484 Mich. 549
PEOPLE of the State of Michigan, Plaintiff-Appellee,
Patrick Lawrence IDZIAK, Defendant-Appellant.
Docket No. 137301.
Calendar No. 4.
Supreme Court of Michigan.
Argued April 7, 2009.
Decided July 31, 2009.

[773 N.W.2d 618]

Michael A. Cox, Attorney General, B. Eric Restuccia, Solicitor General, William A. Forsyth, Prosecuting Attorney, Timothy K. McMorrow, Chief Appellate Attorney, and T. Lynn Hopkins, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for the people.

State Appellate Defender (by Jeanice Dagher-Margosian), for the defendant.

Michael A. Cox, Attorney General, B. Eric Restuccia, Solicitor General, and Henry Boynton, Assistant Solicitor General, Henry Boynton, Assistant Solicitor General, and Charles C. Schettler, Jr., Assistant Attorney General, for amici curiae the Department of Corrections.

Stuart G. Friedman, Plymouth, for amici curiae Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan.

Curtis L. Munson, amici curiae in propria persona.


484 Mich. 552

In this case, we consider whether a parolee who is convicted and sentenced to a term of imprisonment for a felony committed while on parole is entitled, under Michigan's jail credit statute, MCL 769.11b, to credit for time served in jail after his arrest on the new offense and before sentencing for that offense. We hold that, under MCL 791.238(2), the parolee resumes serving his earlier sentence on the date he is arrested for the new criminal offense. As long as time remains on the parolee's earlier sentence, he remains incarcerated, regardless of his eligibility for bond or his ability to furnish it. Since the parolee is not being held in jail "because of being denied or unable to furnish bond," the jail credit statute does not apply.

Further, a sentencing court lacks common law discretion to grant credit against

773 N.W.2d 619

a parolee's new minimum sentence in contravention of the statutory scheme. Finally, the denial of credit against a new minimum sentence does not violate the double jeopardy clauses or the equal protection clauses of the United States or Michigan constitutions. U.S. Const., Am. V and XIV; Const. 1963, art. 1, §§ 2 and 15.

484 Mich. 553

About 3:00 a.m. on November 23, 2006, while defendant was on parole,1 he confronted Brenda Young, an employee of the Bow Tie Tavern in Alpine Township, Kent County, as she was closing the bar for the night. She was the only person still present in the bar. Defendant approached Young with a shotgun when she opened the back door to take out the trash. He questioned her about the keys to the jukebox, pool table, cigarette machine, and lottery machine. She told him that she only had the key to the lottery machine. She opened the machine, surrendering the cash inside. Defendant pried open the jukebox with a crowbar and took the cash inside. He then tied up Young and stole her car. She freed herself about 40 minutes later and called the police. An investigation revealed defendant's involvement in the crime, and police arrested him on November 28, 2006.

Defendant pleaded guilty to armed robbery, MCL 750.529, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, MCL 750.227b. On March 6, 2007, the court sentenced him to a term of 12 to 50 years' imprisonment for the armed robbery conviction and the mandatory consecutive two-year term for the felony-firearm conviction. The sentencing court did not grant defendant credit against the new sentences for the 98 days he spent in jail between his arrest and sentencing.

Defendant's appellate counsel moved for postjudgment relief, arguing that jail credit was mandatory under MCL 769.11b and, in the alternative, that the court had discretion to award credit. Citing People v. Seiders, 262 Mich.App. 702, 686 N.W.2d 821 (2004), and People v. Filip, 278

484 Mich. 554

Mich.App. 635, 754 N.W.2d 660 (2008), in which the Court of Appeals held that parole detainees are not entitled to jail credit under MCL 769.11b, the sentencing court denied the motion. The court also ruled that it lacked common law discretion to award credit because MCL 768.7a(2) mandates consecutive sentencing for parolees who commit new felonies while on parole. The Court of Appeals denied defendant's application for leave to appeal for lack of merit. People v. Idziak, unpublished order of the Court of Appeals, issued July 25, 2008 (Docket No. 285975).


This Court reviews questions of statutory interpretation de novo. People v. Stewart, 472 Mich. 624, 631, 698 N.W.2d 340 (2005). We also review constitutional issues de novo. Harvey v. Michigan, 469 Mich. 1, 6, 664 N.W.2d 767 (2003).


The issue of appropriate jail credit arises when a person is convicted of a crime and sentenced to imprisonment, granted parole, and then convicted and sentenced to prison for a new felony committed while on parole. After arrest, the parolee serves time in jail awaiting disposition of the new criminal charges. The

773 N.W.2d 620

issue is whether, after conviction of the new criminal charges, the parolee receives credit against his new minimum sentence for the time he served in jail. This is a significant problem because the prisoner's new parole eligibility date is affected. If defendant here is awarded credit against his new minimum sentence for the 98

484 Mich. 555

days he served in jail, he will become eligible for parole 98 days earlier than if he is not granted such credit.


The Department of Corrections (DOC) calculates the new parole eligibility date of a parolee sentenced to a new term of imprisonment for a felony committed while on parole. The Parole Board has no discretion to grant parole until that date. The parties do not take issue with the practices of the DOC or the Parole Board. Understanding their functions is nevertheless critical to understanding the issue presented.

In general, a prisoner becomes subject to the jurisdiction of the Parole Board after he "has served a period of time equal to the minimum sentence imposed by the court...." MCL 791.234(1). A prisoner sentenced to consecutive terms of imprisonment, "whether received at the same time or at any time during the life of the original sentence," is subject to the jurisdiction of the Parole Board "when the prisoner has served the total time of the added minimum terms...." MCL 791.234(3).2

773 N.W.2d 621
484 Mich. 556

Before June 1, 1988, MCL 768.7a(1)3 provided for consecutive sentencing for prison escapees and persons

484 Mich. 557

who committed crimes while in prison. Under that provision and MCL 791.234(3),4 the DOC had, for more than 40 years, "computed the eligibility for parole of an inmate who commits a crime in prison or an escapee who commits a crime while escaped by adding the consecutive minimum terms of all the offenses for which he is incarcerated in state prison." Wayne Co. Prosecutor v. Dep't of Corrections, 451 Mich. 569, 579-580, 548 N.W.2d 900 (1996).

In 1988,5 the Legislature added current MCL 768.7a(2), which provides:

If a person is convicted and sentenced to a term of imprisonment for a felony committed while the person was on parole from a sentence for a previous offense, the term of imprisonment imposed for the later offense shall begin to run at the expiration of the remaining portion of the term of imprisonment imposed for the previous offense.

484 Mich. 558

In Wayne Co. Prosecutor, we considered the prosecutor's argument that MCL 768.7a(2) impliedly repealed MCL 791.238(5)6 and MCL 791.234(3) because "the `remaining portion' clause of [MCL 768.7a(2)] ... require[d] parolees who commit crimes while on parole to first serve the maximum of the earlier sentence before beginning to serve the new sentence." Id. at 574, 548 N.W.2d 900. We rejected that argument. Instead, we concluded that MCL 768.7a(2) extended to parolees the same consecutive sentencing treatment to which prisoners who committed crimes while incarcerated and escapees were subjected under former MCL 768.7a(1). Id. at 577-578, 548 N.W.2d 900. We saw no indication that the Legislature intended to alter the DOC's longstanding method of sentence calculation, as the

773 N.W.2d 622

prosecutor urged. Id. at 580-581, 548 N.W.2d 900. We held that

the "remaining portion" clause of [MCL 768.7a(2)] requires the offender to serve at least the combined minimums of his sentences, plus whatever portion, between the minimum and the maximum, of the earlier sentence that the Parole Board may, because the parolee violated the terms of parole, require him to serve. [Id. at 584, 548 N.W.2d 900.]

Thus, in Wayne Co. Prosecutor, we rejected the prosecutor's argument that MCL 768.7a(2) requires a parolee to serve his entire original maximum sentence, plus his new minimum sentence, before becoming eligible for parole, and held that the DOC's practice of calculating the new parole eligibility date, as mandated by MCL 791.234(3), was consistent with MCL 768.7a(2).

As the parties acknowledge, neither the DOC nor the Parole Board has sentencing authority. The DOC calculates the prisoner's new parole eligibility date after

484 Mich. 559

sentencing. Under MCL 791.234(3), the Parole Board lacks jurisdiction over the prisoner until he reaches that new parole eligibility date. In general, a parolee will have already served his original minimum sentence,7 so he will become parole eligible after serving his new minimum sentence. At that point, the Parole Board has jurisdiction to decide whether the prisoner is worthy of parole. MCL 791.234(3). The issue here is not the practices of the DOC or the Parole Board, but whether the sentencing court is required or authorized, under MCL 769.11b or as a matter of common law discretion, to grant defendant credit against his new minimum sentence for the time he served in jail following his arrest for the new offenses and before his sentencing for those offenses.


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