Three state prisoners from Coconino County received some bad news from the Arizona Court of Appeals on Tuesday, including one who was slated to be released next week.
According to a unanimous opinion, judges in Coconino County gave too much credit to Alvin E. Charley, Kody Joe Del Fay, and Hilary Yug for the time the men spent in jail prior to being sentenced to prison. As a result, their individual prison sentences have been ordered corrected -and extended- by the appellate court.
The problem stemmed from the fact some jail inmates can receive double-time credit toward their “sentence” by serving as a trusty. At various times, Charley, Delfay, and Yug did just that while waiting for their cases to be resolved.
When they were later sentenced to prison their sentencing judges took the defendants’ trusty service into consideration.
But the Nov. 23 opinion authored by Presiding Judge Cynthia J. Bailey of the Arizona Court of Appeals noted that while one state law provides double-time credits for a trusty, another state law mandates any credit toward an inmate’s prison sentence is based only on time “actually spent” in jail prior to sentencing.
Accordingly, the appellate court agreed with the Coconino County Attorney’s Office which had argued that Charley, Del Fay, and Yug were improperly granted double-time credit. The opinion amends each defendant’s sentencing orders “to reflect the appropriate credit for presentence incarceration.”
The amount of those credits is not insignificant in any of the three cases. Charley’s presentence credits were reduced to 434 days, while Del Fay ended up with 206 days of credit. Yug’s corrected presentence incarceration credit was modified to 559 days.
For Charley, the Arizona Department of Corrections’ website on Tuesday showed he is scheduled to be released Dec. 1 on a three year sentence for a 2019 aggravated assault. Meanwhile, Del Fay was showing an October 2023 release date prior to the ruling for his narcotic drug conviction.
Yug is currently serving a seven-year sentence for a dangerous drug conviction out of Maricopa County. If he owes additional time for his prior Coconino County conviction he is already in ADC’s custody.
Updated release dates for the three are expected to be calculated next week.
At issue was Arizona Revised Statute 31-144(A) which reads in part that a prisoner “in a city, town or county jail, while working…as a trusty outside the jail…or while holding a position of trust either within or without the jail, shall be allowed double time while so employed” and each of those days shall be counted “as two days in computing time on his sentence.”
Bailey’s opinion, however, notes that ARS 13-712(B) pertaining to prison sentencing has been “long interpreted” to permit presentence incarceration credit solely for time spent in “actual incarceration in a prison or jail.”