Giving Credit Where Credit is Due: Defendants are Entitled to All Time Served on Concurrent Sentences for Consolidated Cases

State v. Veales, No. 124,320 (Kan. Ct. App., Dec. 9, 2022) (unpublished opinion)

Amanda McElfresh, Staff Editor

Issue: When an individual is serving a concurrent sentence on consolidated cases, are they entitled to jail credit for all the time served while their cases were pending?

Answer: Yes.  A defendant is entitled to all the time served if the record reflects that they were held in pre-trial custody on both cases.

Facts: Robert Veales was charged in three separate cases in Sedgwick County.  He served time on and off between the first two cases and the third case.  However, after the third case, Veales remained in custody.  Veales then entered into a global plea agreement that dismissed Case 2 and consolidated Cases 1 and 3.  The District Court imposed a concurrent 55-month prison sentence and ordered that Veales receive his jail time credit.

The District Court awarded Veales 196 days of jail time credit for Case 1 and 581 days for Case 3.  Because the total length of the sentence for Case 3 was less than the amount of time he spent in custody, Veales lost 191 days of his jail time credit.  Veales argued that the 191 days should also apply to Case 1 because he served those days for both cases and not only for Case 3.  The District Court held that it could not change which case the 581 days applied to because Veales was in custody only for Case 3 during those days.  Veales appealed.

Discussion: The Kansas Court of Appeals interpreted Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6615(a) to hold a defendant is entitled to jail time credit for all the time served on consolidated cases with a concurrent sentence when the record reflects the defendant was in pre-trial custody on both cases.  As it reads, § 21-6615(a)’s language does not specify how to award jail time credit for time served on consolidated cases with a concurrent sentence.  The Kansas Court of Appeals relied on the statute’s purpose, the record, and existing jail time credit precedent to reach its conclusion that Veales is entitled to all the time he served.  The statute’s purpose is to give defendants jail time credit for the time they serve pre-trial.  When the District Court consolidated the cases and ordered a concurrent sentence, but only applied the credit to the shortest sentence, it denied Veales his jail time credit.  The denial is at odds with the purpose of the statute and was also improper because the record showed Veales was in pre-trial custody for both cases at the same time.  Specifically, the Court of Appeals relied on the six continuances granted, the bond motions, the plea agreement, the plea hearing, and the bond reduction hearing to reach this conclusion.  

The prosecution argued Veales was attempting to “double count” his jail time credit.  Generally, a defendant “cannot claim double credit for pretrial detention against more than one sentence.”[1]  The Kansas Court of Appeals found that Veales was not seeking to double count because his situation differed from State v. Devaney, where the defendant’s request to “quintuple-dip” was denied. Devaney sought to apply jail time credit for time served on only one case to his other four non-consolidated cases. Here, Veales sought to apply jail time credit for time served on both consolidated cases to his concurrent sentence. 

The Court of Appeals did leave the door open for a different result on other cases with similar facts.  There would be a different result if the record were to show that a defendant did only serve time on one of the consolidated cases or if the cases were not consolidated.  In those instances, the lower court should apply jail time credit only to the case corresponding to the time served.

Key Authorities:  

Kan. Stat. Ann. Supp. § 21-6615(a) (2021) (specifying the calculation of jail time credit).

State v. Devaney, No. 110 722, 2015 WL 2131509 (Kan. Ct. App. 2015) (unpublished opinion) (holding that even on concurrent sentences defendants can only receive jail time credit on cases that he served the time on).

[1] State v. Veales, No. 124,320, page 9 (Kan. Ct. App., Dec. 9, 2022) (unpublished opinion)

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