State v. Taylor, No. 18-0502

CourtSupreme Court of West Virginia
Writing for the CourtWALKER, Justice
Citation842 S.E.2d 224,243 W.Va. 20
Parties STATE of West Virginia, Respondent v. Edwin Mack TAYLOR, Petitioner
Docket NumberNo. 18-0502
Decision Date21 April 2020

243 W.Va. 20
842 S.E.2d 224

STATE of West Virginia, Respondent
Edwin Mack TAYLOR, Petitioner

No. 18-0502

Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia.

Submitted: March 3, 2020
Filed: April 21, 2020

Steven B. Nanners, Esq., Law Offices of Nanners & Willett, L.C., Buckhannon, West Virginia, Counsel for Petitioner.

Patrick S. Morrisey, Esq., Attorney General, Holly M. Flanigan, Esq., Assistant Attorney General, Charleston, West Virginia, Counsel for Respondent.

WALKER, Justice:

Petitioner Edwin Taylor resolved several separate criminal charges in one universal plea agreement by agreeing to plead guilty to a single felony charge. The circuit court gave Petitioner credit for twelve days of time served toward the sentence he received for his single felony conviction, although he spent additional time in confinement for other charges that were dismissed in the universal plea agreement. Because the charges were resolved in one plea agreement, Petitioner now argues that he was constitutionally entitled to credit for time served on all charges resolved by the universal plea agreement. We disagree that double jeopardy and equal protection principles—the constitutional foundations upon which mandatory credit for time served is based—required the circuit court to credit Petitioner for time spent in confinement on separate offenses unrelated to the felony conviction to which he pleaded guilty. To grant Petitioner credit for time served on these facts would do little more than reward Petitioner for habitual criminal behavior, and, for that reason, we affirm.


On September 16, 2016, Petitioner was arrested for (1) felony carrying a concealed firearm by a person prohibited from possessing a firearm; (2) misdemeanor possession of a firearm by a person prohibited from possessing a firearm; and (3) misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance (September 2016 charges). Petitioner was incarcerated on those charges for twelve days before he was released on bond. A Randolph County Grand Jury returned a three-count indictment on the September 2016 charges, resulting in Circuit Court Case No. 17-F-14. Although Petitioner did not appear for his arraignment and a capias was issued for his arrest, Petitioner's

842 S.E.2d 226

bond was never revoked.1

Petitioner was arrested again on March 23, 2017, for: (1) grand larceny; (2) possession of a controlled substance; and (3) false information/interference with a police officer (March 2017 charges). Those charges culminated in Magistrate Court Case Nos. 17-M42M-00566 and 17-M42F-00254. Petitioner did not post bail on those charges and so remained in confinement.

In August 2017, Petitioner agreed to resolve the pending charges against him in a universal plea agreement. Under the terms of the universal plea agreement, Petitioner agreed to plead guilty to the September 2016 charge of felony carrying a concealed firearm by a prohibited person, and also agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $1,169.81 for a fraudulent schemes charge dating from July 2016 (July 2016 charge).2 In exchange, the State agreed to drop the March 2017 charges and the remaining two September 2016 charges.

Petitioner's sentencing hearing took place in October 2017. The presentence investigation report noted that Petitioner had been incarcerated for 208 days as of the date of the report, which included the time served on the March 2017 charges. But the sentencing order granted Petitioner only twelve days of time served, reflecting the twelve days Petitioner had been incarcerated before making bond on the September 2016 charge to which he had pleaded guilty. Petitioner filed a motion pursuant to Rule 35 of the West Virginia Rules of Criminal Procedure to address credit for time served, requesting that the circuit court grant him credit for the full time he had been incarcerated from March until October 2017 on the March 2017 charges since the March 2017 charges had been dismissed as part of the universal plea agreement. The circuit court held a hearing and concluded that Petitioner was constitutionally entitled to only twelve days of time served. Petitioner now appeals that order.


Petitioner's motion to address credit for time served falls under the purview of Rule 35 of the West Virginia Rules of Criminal Procedure.3 We have held that our standard of review of a Rule 35 order has three parts:

In reviewing the findings of fact and conclusions of law of a circuit court concerning an order on a motion made under Rule 35 of the West Virginia Rules of Criminal Procedure, we apply a three-pronged standard of review. We review the decision on the Rule 35 motion under an abuse of discretion standard; the underlying facts are reviewed under a clearly erroneous standard; and questions of law and interpretations of statutes and rules are subject to a de novo review.[4 ]
842 S.E.2d 227

With this standard in mind, we turn to the parties’ arguments.


The universal plea agreement resolves three different sets of charges against Petitioner: the July 2016 charge, the September 2016 charges, and the March 2017 charges. Petitioner argues that, in addition to the twelve days of credit for time served, he is constitutionally entitled to credit for time served from March 2017 until his sentencing in October 2017 because he was incarcerated for charges that were resolved in the universal plea agreement. Conversely, the State argues that Petitioner is not entitled to credit for time served from March to October 2017 because the March 2017 charges for which he was incarcerated are unrelated to the September 2016 charge to which Petitioner pleaded guilty in the universal plea agreement.

West Virginia Code § 61-11-24 addresses credit for time served and explains:

Whenever any person is convicted of an offense in a court of this State having jurisdiction thereof, and sentenced to confinement in jail or the penitentiary of this State, or by a justice of the peace having jurisdiction of the offense, such person may, in the discretion of the court or justice, be given credit on any sentence imposed by such court or justice for the term of confinement spent in jail awaiting such trial and conviction.

Although § 61-11-24 permits courts discretion to award credit for time served, this Court, in State v. McClain ,5 held that "[t]he Double Jeopardy and Equal Protection Clauses of the West Virginia Constitution require that time spent in jail before conviction shall be credited against all terms of incarceration to a correctional facility imposed in a criminal case as a punishment upon conviction when the...

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