Callan v. State

In Callan v. State, 904 P.2d 856 (Alaska App. 1995) the Court held that a prisoner's consecutive sentences should be deemed one combined sentence for purposes of calculating the prisoner's accumulation of good time and the State's obligation to release the prisoner on mandatory parole under AS 33.20.030-.040. In Callan, the Court interpreted AS 33.20.030 and AS 33.20.040, the statutes governing a prisoner's release on mandatory parole. Callan was convicted of theft in the second degree. The superior court sentenced Callan to 3 years' imprisonment. After serving 2 years of his sentence, Callan had accumulated 1 year of good time and the State released Callan on mandatory parole for 1 year. While on parole, Callan committed a burglary for which he was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment. Because he committed the burglary while on parole, the parole board revoked Callan's 1 year of good time credit and he was ordered "to serve the 1 remaining year from his theft sentence and to serve a consecutive 3-year sentence for his burglary." Callan filed an application for post-conviction relief in which he argued that at the time of his parole revocation, he had served his sentence for the theft conviction. Callan argued that he was entitled to a deduction for good time on this sentence. He argued that since he had served his sentence for the theft conviction, the state was required to release him on mandatory parole in that case, pursuant to AS 33.20.040(a). According to Callan, he would then immediately begin to serve his time on the burglary conviction while simultaneously serving his mandatory parole time. (Id. at 857.) The superior court rejected Callan's argument. Callan appealed and this court affirmed. In reaching this decision, we explained that "Alaska's good time and mandatory release statutes are based on former federal statutes," and these federal statutes were "based on calculating good time for the composite sentence for all of the prisoner's convictions." The Court followed federal precedent as summarized by McCray v. United States Board of Parole: "There is no authority for the proposition that consecutive sentences 'expire' independently of one another. The argument that consecutive sentences have separate mandatory release dates and that as each sentence reaches that date the next sentence begins has been made before and summarily rejected." In Callan, the Court also concluded that Callan's proposed reading of the statute led to unreasonable results: In addition to being supported by federal precedent, the state's system appears more logical than the system which Callan proposes. It seems simpler and more sensible to calculate a prisoner's release on mandatory parole based upon his composite sentence rather than each individual sentence. Under the system proposed by Callan, it would be important to calculate which sentence the prisoner should serve first. Furthermore, a prisoner sentenced to serve four years based upon two consecutive two-year sentences would be treated differently than a prisoner sentenced to a single four-year sentence. The Court conclude that precedent and policy favor adoption of the state's interpretation of the good time and mandatory release statutes. ( Id. at 857-58.)