State v. Moliga

Decision Date09 December 1987
Docket NumberNo. 16884,16884
Citation113 Idaho 672,747 P.2d 81
PartiesSTATE of Idaho, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. Malefai MOLIGA, Defendant-Appellant.
CourtIdaho Court of Appeals

Jeff M. Brudie, Knowlton & Miles, Lewiston, for defendant-appellant.

Jim Jones, Atty. Gen., Myrna A.I. Stahman, Deputy Atty. Gen., Boise, for plaintiff-respondent.

WALTERS, Chief Judge.

On January 8, 1986, Malefai Moliga obtained approximately $3,500 in cash and jewelry from a retired banker in Lewiston, using what is popularly known as a "pigeon drop" scam. 1 Moliga then left Idaho for Washington. On January 24, 1986, a complaint was filed by the prosecuting attorney for Nez Perce County, Idaho, charging Moliga with grand theft. While Moliga was in Washington, he was charged with the commission of several crimes in that state and, on July 7, 1986, was sentenced to a twenty-two month prison term. On December 10, 1986, Moliga was returned to Idaho, pursuant to the Interstate Agreement on Detainers, I.C. § 19-5001. On January 30, 1987, Moliga pled guilty to the grand theft charge and on February 4, 1987, was sentenced to an indeterminate five-year sentence to be served concurrently with the sentence imposed in the state of Washington. Moliga was given credit for the time he served in jail in Idaho, from December 10, 1986, to February 4, 1987, while awaiting sentencing.

The only issue on appeal is whether the district court erred in not allowing further credit for the time Moliga served in jail in Washington between July 7, 1986, and December 10, 1986. Moliga contends that he was available to face charges in Idaho any time following his July 7th sentencing in Washington, but that the state of Idaho sat "idly by" and did nothing. For the reasons given below, we uphold the district court's refusal to give the credit sought by Moliga.

A brief review of the statutory detainer agreement is in order. Idaho Code § 19-5001(a) lists as a specific purpose that:

it is the policy of the party states and the purpose of this agreement to encourage the expeditious and orderly disposition of such charges and determination of the proper status of any and all detainers based on untried indictments, informations or complaints.

The procedure under the detainer agreement can be initiated either by the prisoner in the sending/custodial state or by the prosecutor or state official in the receiving state who has an untried indictment, information or complaint. When a prisoner initiates the procedure under the agreement, the prisoner has a right to a final disposition on any untried matter within 180 days after delivery of notice of the prisoner's place of imprisonment and a request by the prisoner for disposition of the charge pending against him. I.C. § 19-5001(c)(1).

Under the prosecutor-initiated method, the prosecutor must file a written request for temporary custody of the prisoner with the custodial state. The receiving state must commence the trial of the accused within 120 days of the arrival of the prisoner in the state. I.C. § 19-5001(d)(3). The detainer statute thus contemplates expeditious disposition of charges against individuals within the specified time limitations. If the state fails to meet those requirements, the outstanding charge against the prisoner should be dismissed. Rockmore v. State, 21 Ariz.App. 388, 519 P.2d 877 (1974); People v. Lincoln, 42 Colo.App. 512, 601 P.2d 641 (1979).

In the instant case, a document entitled "Inmate's Notice of Place of Imprisonment and Request for Disposition of Indictments, Informations or Complaints" was executed by Moliga on November 4, 1986, post-marked November 5, 1986 and received by the Nez Perce County Prosecutor on November 13, 1986. Moliga concedes that the time limitation requirements of the agreement have been met by Idaho but he insists that the state "mistreated" him by not prosecuting him with greater rapidity. 2 We disagree.

The record is unclear as to exactly how Moliga came to the attention of the Washington authorities, but it is clear he was held on Washington charges until his sentencing on July 7, 1986. Moliga would have us consider the time from July 7 forward, while he was serving a sentence in Washington for crimes committed in Washington, as applicable towards his eventual Idaho sentence. We hold that Moliga is not entitled to such credit.

I.C. § 18-309 provides:

In computing the term of imprisonment, the person against whom the judgment was entered, shall receive credit for any period of incarceration prior to entry of judgment, if such incarceration was for the offense or an included offense for which the judgment was entered. The remainder of the term commences upon the pronouncement of sentence and if thereafter, during such term, the defendant by any legal means is temporarily released from such imprisonment and subsequently returned thereto, the time during which he was at large must not be computed as part of such term. [Emphasis added.]

In In Re Rojas, 23 Cal.3d 152, 151 Cal.Rptr. 649, 588 P.2d 789 (1979), the California Supreme Court construed a California statute (§ 2900.5(b)) which is similar in concept to our I.C. § 18-309. In Rojas, the petitioner had been convicted and sentenced for manslaughter. While serving that sentence he was prosecuted for another, unrelated homicide. After he was found guilty of second degree murder, and sentenced for that offense, he filed an application for a writ of habeas corpus, seeking credit for time spent in jail awaiting prosecution on the second homicide. The California statute provided: "For the purpose of this section, credit shall be given only where the custody to be credited is attributable to proceedings related to the same conduct for which the defendant has been convicted." Applying the statute, the California Supreme Court held that the petitioner was not entitled to credit toward his sentence for that period of presentence time spent in custody when he was simultaneously serving a prison term for the prior, unrelated manslaughter offense.

The California court observed:

As we noted in In re Watson, supra, 19 Cal.3d 646, 651, 139 Cal.Rptr. 609, 566 P.2d 243 "[section 2900.5] pertains to the pretrial incarceration of a person charged with crime but not yet tried much less convicted, and therefore clothed with the presumption of innocence.... [p] The crucial element of the statute is not where or under what conditions the defendant has been deprived of his liberty but rather whether the custody to which he has been subjected 'is attributable to charges arising from the same criminal act or acts for which the defendant has been convicted.' (§ 2900.5, subd. (b).)" (Italics in original, p. 651, 139 Cal.Rptr. p. 612, 566 P.2d p. 246.)

There is no reason in law or logic to extend the protection intended to be afforded one merely charged with a crime to one already incarcerated and serving his sentence for a first offense who is then charged with a second crime. As to the latter individual the deprivation of liberty for which he seeks credit cannot be attributed to the second offense. Section 2900.5 does not authorize credit where the pending proceeding has no effect whatever upon a defendant's liberty.

... [W]e conclude that defendant was not deprived of his liberty as a result of the conduct which resulted in his conviction of second degree murder in September 1973. His incarceration was due to his previous conviction of manslaughter in January 1972.

Id. 151 Cal.Rptr. at 652, 588 P.2d at 792 (Emphasis original.)

Other courts have arrived at conclusions similar to that expressed in Rojas. See Woodson v. State, 178 Ind.App. 692, 383 N.E.2d 1096 (1978) (defendant not entitled to receive credit on Indiana robbery sentence while he was an escapee and incarcerated in another jurisdiction for another crime); Cooley v. State, 172 Ind.App. 199, 360 N.E.2d 29 (1977) (defendant not entitled to credit in Indiana for presentencing time which elapsed while defendant was serving a sentence in an Illinois penitentiary upon a totally different offense); Smith v. State, 165 Ind.App. 37, 330 N.E.2d 384 (1975) (defendant not entitled to credit, in state prosecution, for interim period of incarceration occasioned by conviction in federal court on unrelated charges) 3; State v. Dawn, 45 Ohio App.2d 43, 340 N.E.2d 421 (1975) (defendant not entitled to credit for time served on a prior conviction in another jurisdiction toward a later, totally unrelated conviction, even where such prior conviction was later vacated and the defendant discharged therefrom).

We have reached a similar result in a case where a defendant was incarcerated in another state and was later returned to Idaho on a probation violation. In State v. Teal, 105 Idaho 501, 670 P.2d 908 (Ct.App.1983), the defendant fled from Idaho while on probation. He eventually was arrested in California on criminal charges and sent to prison there. A detainer was filed on the probation violation and Teal was returned to Idaho, where a probation violation hearing was held. Teal's probation was...

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  • Lewis v. Class, 19651
    • United States
    • South Dakota Supreme Court
    • January 15, 1997
    ...L.Ed.2d 236 (1976). ¶30 Neither has South Dakota, by statute or otherwise, conferred such a right upon parolees. ¶31 In State v. Moliga, 113 Idaho 672, 747 P.2d 81 (1987) the court held that the defendant had no constitutional right to serve his sentences for Washington crimes and Idaho cri......
  • Joyner, In re
    • United States
    • California Supreme Court
    • April 3, 1989
    ...and therefore could not be attributable to the California proceedings from which the hold originated. (See State v. Moliga (App.1987) 113 Idaho 672, 747 P.2d 81, 83-85.) The period from petitioner's arrest in Florida to his sentencing in that state presents a slightly different issue. In de......
  • State v. Brand
    • United States
    • Idaho Supreme Court
    • May 31, 2017
    ...effect whatever upon a defendant's liberty." State v. Dorr , 120 Idaho 441, 443, 816 P.2d 998, 1000 (quoting State v. Moliga , 113 Idaho 672, 675, 747 P.2d 81, 84 (Ct.App. 1987) ). The purpose of I.C. § 18–309 and similar statutes "is to eliminate unequal treatment of indigent prisoners who......
  • Ontiveros v. Utah Bd. of Pardons
    • United States
    • Utah Court of Appeals
    • June 15, 1995
    ...convictions. Therefore, Teal is not entitled to credit for any time spent in California custody." Id.; see also State v. Moliga, 113 Idaho 672, 676, 747 P.2d 81, 85 (Ct.App.1987) (holding that defendant incarcerated for unrelated conviction in Washington would only be credited "for time ser......
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