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Washington Community Custody Violators Entitled to Time Served

The Washington State Court of Appeals has held that prisoners are entitled to credit for all time spent in custody on alleged community custody violations.

On June 30, 2003, Anthony Bakari Louis Bovan was sentenced to 73.5 months in prison and community custody on four robbery charges. The Washington Department of Corrections (DOC) released Bovan to community custody on March 1, 2007, but he violated the conditions of his release three times.

He was arrested for the first violation in January 28, 2008. Bovan remained in custody 13 days before a DOC hearings officer found him guilty of the violation and sanctioned him to time served on February 11, 2008.

On May 4, 2008, Bovan was arrested for his second community custody violation. A hearings officer found him guilty, imposed a 30-day sanction and granted 10 days credit for time served from May 4, 2008 to May 14, 2008.

Bovan was arrested for his third community custody violation on August 6, 2008. He was found guilty on August 18, 2008 and his release was revoked, requiring him to return to prison until his sentence expired. The hearings officer granted 13 days of credit for time served in custody from August 6, 2008 to August 18, 2008. Bovan was denied credit for the 13 days he served on the first violation and the 10 days he served on the second violation.

Bovan filed a personal restraint petition, claiming that he was entitled to credit for “the total amount of time he ... spent in detention awaiting his three disposition hearings” for the community custody violations.

The action was “technically moot” because Bovan was released while the case was still pending. However, the court agreed with the parties that it should address the issue because it was an issue of continuing and substantial interest which was likely to evade judicial review.

The court first determined that the 2002 version of RCW 9.94A.737 applied because that version was in effect at the time of Bovan’s 2003 offenses. Interpreting the plain language of the statute, the court determined that it “requires DOC to give Bovan credit for ‘every’ and ‘all’ time spent awaiting disposition hearings for alleged violations of the terms of community custody.” The failure to grant Bovan credit for time served on the first two violations “was contrary to the plain language of former RCW 9.94A.737(1) (2002),” the court held.

As such, “Bovan was entitled to a total of 23 days credit for time spent awaiting his first two disposition hearings for alleged violations of conditions of release to community custody. That total should have been credited against his remaining sentence following his transfer to a more restrictive confinement status to serve his remaining sentence.”
Deciding the issue on statutory grounds, the court declined to reach Bovan’s ex post facto argument. See: In re PRP of Bovan, 157 Wash.App. 588, 238 P.3d 528 (Wa.Ct.App. 2010).

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Related legal case

In re PRP of Bovan