State v. Reynolds, CR-91-0116-PR

Citation823 P.2d 681,170 Ariz. 233
Decision Date07 January 1992
Docket NumberNo. CR-91-0116-PR,CR-91-0116-PR
PartiesSTATE of Arizona, Appellee, v. Brian Keith REYNOLDS, Appellant.
CourtSupreme Court of Arizona

Page 681

823 P.2d 681
170 Ariz. 233
STATE of Arizona, Appellee,
Brian Keith REYNOLDS, Appellant.
No. CR-91-0116-PR.
Supreme Court of Arizona, In Banc.
Jan. 7, 1992.

Grant Woods, Atty. Gen., Paul J. McMurdie, Atty. General's Office, Chief Counsel, Crim. Appeals Section, Jack Roberts, Asst. Atty. Gen., Phoenix, for appellee.

Dean W. Trebesch, Maricopa County Public Defender, Stephen R. Collins, Deputy Maricopa County Public Defender, Phoenix, for appellant.


GORDON, Chief Justice.

The State of Arizona petitioned for review of the court of appeals' opinion holding that a defendant is entitled to credit for time spent in a drug rehabilitation program as time spent "in custody" pursuant to A.R.S. § 13-709(B). We granted review to resolve a conflict between court of appeals' decisions on this issue. We have jurisdiction pursuant to Ariz. Const. art. 6, § 5(3), and A.R.S. § 12-120.24.


Brian Reynolds (appellant) pleaded guilty to attempted sale of narcotic drugs. The trial court placed him on five years probation. After violating probation, he was reinstated on intensive probation on condition that he participate in the New Arizona Family, a residential drug treatment program. Appellant violated probation again by failing to complete the program. After the second probation violation, the trial court gave him a mitigated prison term of 3.75 years, and denied appellant credit for

Page 682

[170 Ariz. 234] the 297 days he spent in the New Arizona Family program.

Appellant appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in denying him credit for presentence incarceration spent in the rehabilitation program because the restrictive nature of the program placed appellant "in custody" within the meaning of A.R.S. § 13-709(B). 1 The court of appeals agreed, and held "that when a defendant is confined in such a program under conditions which the trial court finds are as onerous and as restrictive on movement and conduct as those a defendant would experience if he were in jail, a defendant is entitled to credit for time if he is later sentenced to imprisonment." State v. Reynolds, 168 Ariz. 580, 580-81, 816 P.2d 237, 237-38 (App.1991). The court of appeals acknowledged that there is Arizona case law directly at odds with its holding, specifically State v. Vasquez, 153 Ariz. 320, 736 P.2d 803 (App.1987). Because we believe the court of appeals erred in giving appellant credit for time he spent in a rehabilitation program, we vacate the court of appeals' opinion and affirm the trial court's decision.


To resolve the issue in this case, we must determine what the legislature meant when it used the words "in custody" and how our courts have interpreted the "in custody" requirement of A.R.S. § 13-709(B) that provides:

All time actually spent in custody pursuant to an offense until the prisoner is sentenced to imprisonment for such an offense shall be credited against the term of imprisonment otherwise provided for by this chapter.

When interpreting the meaning of particular statutory provisions, we seek to discern the intent of the legislature. We look primarily to the language of the statute itself and give effect to the statutory terms in accordance with their commonly accepted meanings, see A.R.S. § 1-213, "unless the legislature has offered its own definition of the words or it appears from the context that a special meaning was intended." Mid Kansas Fed. Sav. and Loan v. Dynamic Dev. Corp., 167 Ariz. 122, 128, 804 P.2d 1310, 1316 (1991); State v. Korzep, 165 Ariz. 490, 493, 799 P.2d 831, 834 (1990). If a statute's language is clear and unambiguous, the court will give it effect without resorting to other rules of statutory construction. Janson v. Christensen, 167 Ariz. 470, 471, 808 P.2d 1222, 1223 (1991).

We note that the word "custody" is not defined explicitly within the criminal code and it does not appear that the legislature attached any special meaning or definition to the phrase "in custody." Because some ambiguity exists, the court may examine a variety of factors including the language used, the context, the subject matter, the effects and consequences, and the spirit and purpose of the law. Korzep, 165 Ariz. at 493, 799 P.2d at 834. The court of appeals recently construed this identical statutory provision in State v. Cereceres, 166 Ariz. 14, 800 P.2d 1 (App.1990). We find its analysis both helpful and persuasive. It stated:

Use of the word "custody" is not uniform. It is commonly interchangeable with such terms as "imprisonment", "jail", "arrest", and "detention". Consequently, its meaning varies depending upon the construction of the particular statute under consideration....

[W]e note that A.R.S. § 13-709(B) is located in the chapter of the penal code relating to sentencing. Its stated purpose is to credit a defendant with all time served in presentence incarceration. The word "custody" thus appears in the context of serving a sentence of imprisonment.... Accordingly, we can reasonably infer that the legislature intended that custody, for purposes of A.R.S. [170 Ariz. 235]

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§ 13-709(B), be equated with incarceration in a jail or prison and not merely with the substantial restraint of freedom which is commensurate with an arrest or detention.

166 Ariz. at 15, 800 P.2d at 2.

We conclude, as did the court of appeals in Cereceres, that the legislature intended the words "in custody" to mean actual incarceration in a prison or jail and more than simply a restraint on freedom as onerous as jail or prison would be....

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  • Hayes v. Continental Ins. Co.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arizona
    • April 21, 1994
    ...language is clear and unambiguous, we apply it without resorting to other methods of statutory interpretation. State v. Reynolds, 170 Ariz. 233, 234, 823 P.2d 681, 682 (1992). Ambiguity exists if there is uncertainty about the meaning or interpretation of a statute's terms. State v. Sweet, ......
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    ...their commonly accepted meanings.'" State v. Petrak, 198 Ariz. 260, ¶ 10, 8 P.3d 1174, 1178 (App. 2000), quoting State v. Reynolds, 170 Ariz. 233, 234, 823 P.2d 681, 682 (1992). And "[w]e assume that the legislature accords words their natural and obvious meanings unless otherwise stated [a......
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    ...The language of § 13-1003(D) is precise, unambiguous, and leaves no room for interpretation. See id.; see also State v. Reynolds, 170 Ariz. 233, 234, 823 P.2d 681, 682 (1992) ("If a statute's language is clear and unambiguous, the court will give it effect without resorting to other rules o......
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    ...award credit for time spent in a drug rehabilitation center or similar facility as a condition of probation. See State v. Reynolds, 170 Ariz. 233, 823 P.2d 681, 683-84 (1992) (statute requiring credit against sentence for time prior to sentence spent "in custody" does not permit credit for ......
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