Does Prison Time for Not Making Bail During Trial Count's When Imposing Incarceration Sentence ?
In Martin v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, 576 Pa. 588, 840 A.2d 299 (2003), the parolee was sentenced to forty-eight hours incarceration and one-year probation.
He was arrested on May 30, 2000, at which time the Board lodged its detainer, but he was not sentenced until July 19, 2001.
He remained incarcerated that entire time since he could not make bail solely because of his indigent status. the Board denied him credit for the time he was incarcerated against his original sentence.
The Court affirmed and the Supreme Court reversed.
It explained that in such a situation, if the time spent incarcerated while awaiting sentencing is not credited to the original sentence, either because no confinement time at all is imposed or the time imposed is in excess of the maximum date on the new sentence, an indigent parolee is punished based solely on his indigent status.
It held that such a result violated principles of equity, which are relevant to the award of credit.
The Supreme Court's primary concern was that a convicted parole violator would not have his pre-sentence detention time applied to any sentence at all, purely because of his indigency.
Indeed as the Supreme Court noted:
The reason often given for the failure to apply credit for time served within circumstances similar to the instant matter, is that the Constitution neither permits nor requires the establishment of "penal checking accounts".
The concern is that prisoners, while not in confinement, could set up some sort of escrow into which they would deposit time spent awaiting trial on both a board warrant and pending charges, or that time served on unrelated charges later declared invalid could be deposited into that account to be subsequently withdrawn and applied toward a future sentence.
As one court aptly noted, to allow an individual to accumulate time credits might mean that the situation could arise wherein an individual might have "banked" several years of prison time to apply to a sentence for a crime that he has not yet committed or for which he has not yet been prosecuted. United States ex rel. Smith v. Rundle, 285 F. Supp. 965 (E.D.Pa. 1968).
Our decision in the instant matter does not create a "penal checking account". It merely provides for the allocation of all periods of confinement:
(1) where confinement is the result of both a Board warrant and pending criminal charges;
(2) where there is no period of incarceration imposed;
(3) where the charges are nolle prossed;
(4) or the parolee is acquitted.
Accordingly, we hold that, where an offender is incarcerated on both a Board detainer and new criminal charges, all time spent in confinement must be credited to either the new sentence or the original sentence. the Court further hold that the indigency of a detainee in failing to satisfy the requirements for bail is not determinative as to whether the offender receives credit for time served. Martin, 576 Pa. at 605-606, 840 A.2d at 308-309.