The Clock Starts Now: Kansas Supreme Court Rules Defendants are Now Entitled to Jail Time Credit for All Time They Spend Incarcerated While Their Cases are Pending Disposition.

State v. Hopkins, No. 124,851, 2023 WL 6933634 (Kan. Oct. 20, 2023).

Clayton Anderson, Staff Editor

Issue:  Is an award of jail-time credit limited to the time a defendant spends in custody “solely” on the charge that is being sentenced?

Answer:  No.  A defendant must receive credit for all time they spend incarcerated while their case is pending disposition.  

Facts:  Mark Hopkins II was held without bond for murdering two people.  Hopkins later pleaded guilty to premeditated first-degree murder charges.  Hopkins had other cases pending against him while he was incarcerated for the pending murder charges.  Because of those other pending cases, the district court declined to grant Hopkins jail-time credit at sentencing for the 572 days spent in custody while awaiting the disposition of his case.

Discussion:  The Kansas Supreme Court held that under Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6615(a), a defendant must receive credit against their sentence for all time they spend incarcerated while their case is pending disposition.  Thus, Hopkins was entitled to 572 days of jail time credit.

Since Campbell v. State, the Kansas Supreme Court had interpreted Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6615(a) to require the sentencing judge to award credit for time a defendant spent in custody “solely” on the charge being sentenced while awaiting disposition of the case.  Under Campbell, a defendant received no credit for time spent in jail on unrelated charges.

The Hopkins court overruled Campbell, reasoning that the Campbell rule departed from the plain meaning of Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6615(a), which states that a defendant is entitled to credit “for the time which the defendant has spent incarcerated pending the disposition of the defendant’s case.”  The Hopkins court also noted that the Campbell rule was inconsistently applied because it required judges to decide whether the incarceration was solely the result of the crime convicted.  

Key Authorities: Kan. Stan. Ann. § 21-6615(a) (Supp. 2022); Campbell v. State, 575 P.2d 524, 526–28 (Kan. 1978) (holding that a defendant is entitled to credit for time spent solely on the charge being sentenced), overruled by State v. Hopkins, No. 124,851, 2023 Kan. LEXIS 61 (Kan. Oct. 20, 2023).

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