Collecting Government Reward Points For Multiple Stays At Various County Hotels: Appellate Court Finds That Jail Time Credit Should Apply To A Defendant Incarcerated In A Different County While On A Detainer Under A Different Judicial Jurisdiction

What seems like eons ago, I was sitting for the Ohio Bar and praying to the law gods to have mercy on me.  And by eons ago, I mean three years ago.  But three years in lawyer years is enough time to get beat up on a daily basis through the court system.  So to my fellow July 2013 Ohio Bar class, congratulations, we have earned some well-deserved war stripes and war stories.  We still don’t know what we are doing, but we are still in the trenches!

Alright I lost my train of thought.  Back to the story at hand, while in Columbus taking the bar, I stayed at the Sheraton Hotel on Capitol Square.  Not going to lie, it was an outstanding hotel that I could not afford.  I was actually booked a cheaper hotel, but a week before I was to take the bar; I received a phone call from said hotel informing that the floor I would be staying on had flooded.  Heart sank and panic set in!  But the kind folks of the Noah’s Ark hotel put me up at the Sheraton Hotel and paid the difference.  Not bad at all.

After completing the bar exam, I was ready to head back to Dayton and enjoy the ever so cold beer this great city has to offer a weary traveler.  During my checkout process, the front desk clerk asked if I wanted to use my reward points to pay for my internet usage in the room.  I knew for a fact that I did not have any reward points, but my father, who I share the same name with, has a shit ton of reward points!  He wouldn’t miss a few points, so I told the nice lady at the front desk to go ahead and transfer some of those reward points to pay for the internet.

About thirty minutes into my car ride back to Dayton, I received a phone call from my father.  He opened up with the general pleasantries and asking about the exam, but I knew what he was really calling about….the reward points.  My father received an email from the Sheraton Hotel extending their thanks for his stay at the hotel and using his reward points.  My father got a chuckle out of that and could truly care less.

In a similar situation, in the sense of wanting some credit for various stays in County Hotels, defendant Jason Caccamo asked the court to consider this credit as jail time credit in State v. Caccamo, 2016-Ohio-3006.

Caccamo’s plight started way back in November 2012.  At that time, Caccamo pled guilty to several counts of identity theft in Lake County Court of Common Pleas.  Part of Caccamo’s sentence was to serve two years on community control.

With just one year into his community control, ole Caccamo was arrested in Cuyahoga County for passing bad checks.  Beginning January 17, 2014, Caccamo was held in Cuyahoga County Jail until March 4, 2014 when he was transferred to Lorain County Correctional Institution to begin his eight month sentence from Cuyahoga Common Pleas Court.

On January 22, 2014, while still in Cuyahoga County Jail, Lake County probations department caused an arrest warrant to be issued against Caccamo.  Said warrant, however, was not executed until April 22, 2014, when Caccamo was in state prison.

The same day the warrant was executed, April 22, Caccamo was conveyed to Lake County where he awaited his hearing on April 24.

On May 12, 2014, Caccamo had a final hearing where his community control was terminated after entering a guilty plea to violating his sanctions.  The court sentenced Caccamo to twenty-six months with his sentence to run concurrent with his eight month sentence out of Cuyahoga County.

With the sentence, the court gave Caccamo thirty-three days of jail time credit.  Twelve of those days were for time Caccamo was held in 2012 and the remaining twenty-one days were for being held in county jail between his conveyance from the state prison and the date of the final hearing in Lake County Common Pleas.  Caccamo did not object to the number of jail time credit.

On appeal, Caccamo made two arguments regarding jail time credit.  The second argument was found to have no merit by the Eight Appellate Court District, so I will only concentrate on the Caccamo’s first argument.

Caccamo claimed that he was entitled to credit for the majority of the period he was held in the Cuyahoga County Jail and the state prison before being transported back to Lake County on April 22, 2014.  Caccamo believed that even if the jail days in question were deducted from his eight month prison term on the Cuyahoga County charge, he was entitled to the same credit on his Lake County sentence because he was subject to a detainer filed by the Lake County probation department, while he was in the Cuyahoga County Jail.  Essentially, Caccamo’s argues that his confinement in the Cuyahoga County Jail was based upon the alleged community control violation in Lake County and because of that, even if the Cuyahoga County charges had been dismissed, he still would have remained incarcerated in light of the detainer.

To support his argument, Caccamo relied on State v. Fugate, 2008-Ohio-856.

In Fugate, Fugate was serving community control sanctions when he was indicted on two new felony offenses.  The trial court heard the probation revocation as part of the sentencing hearing on the new charges.  During sentencing, the trial court ordered incarceration for the two new cases and for the probation revocation.  All cases were to run concurrent to each other.  With regards to jail time credit, the trial court found that Fugate was entitled to 213 days of credit, but only applied said credit to his new felony case and not the revocation case.  Fugate appealed.

Fugate argued that since his two sentences were to run concurrently, he was entitled to have the 213 days of jail time credit deducted from each sentence.  Fugate’s argument eventually made its way up to the Ohio Supreme Court, where the Supreme’s agreed.

The Supreme’s found that a criminal defendant is unable to make bail and is held in jail prior to his trial, he would be denied his constitutional right to equal protection if he was not granted credit for the time already served.  Upon applying said principle to Fugate’s case, the court concluded that the principle would be violated if the credit was not deducted from each concurrent sentence.

The Supreme’s went on to say that “when concurrent prison terms are imposed, courts do not have the discretion to select only one term from those that are run concurrently against which to apply jail-time credit.”  “If courts were permitted to apply jail-time credit to only one of the concurrent terms, the practical result would be to deny credit for that an offender was confined while being held on pending charges.  So long as an offender is held on a charge while awaiting trial or sentencing, the offender is entitled to jail-time credit for that sentence; a court cannot choose one of several concurrent terms against which to apply the credit.”

With that reasoning, the appellate court found that since Caccamo’s confinement in the Cuyahoga County Jail was predicated in part upon the seven identity theft charges in Lake County, he was entitled to jail-time credit for the days from January 22, 2014 until April 21, 2014.

It is important to note that the Eighth District’s holding is the minority view on how to apply Fugate for charges pending in two separate counties.

In State v. Marini, 2009-Ohio-4633, the Fifth District held “it is one thing to hold, such as the Supreme Court did in Fugate, that jail time credit earned in two cases must be applied to both cases when the sentences are imposed concurrently by the same court.  It would be quite another to hold in the present case that confinement while serving non-concurrent jail time must be awarded as jail time to reduce a later imposed felony sentence.

Judge Rice, in her dissenting opinion in Caccamo, stated that Ohio courts have repeatedly recognized that where a defendant was incarcerated on a prior unrelated conviction during the pendency of the present case, he is not entitled to jail-time credit.  Making Marini, arguably, the majority view of how to apply Fugate.

The majority opinion in Cuaccamo distinguished this view by stating “given that the existence of the holder justifies appellant’s continuing incarceration had the Cuyahoga County charge been dismissed, the foregoing distinction in Marini is unpersuasive because it would defeat the underlying principle that a defendant is entitled to credit for all presentencing incarceration based upon the pending charges in the underlying case.”

I believe that Cuccamo is a very fact sensitive opinion and could have easily gone the other way, had it not been for the Lake County holder.

Either way, Cuccamo got to cash in his County Hotel reward points.

 

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