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State v. Hensley

Court of Appeals of Iowa

January 10, 2018

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
BRETT CALVIN HENSLEY, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, William P. Kelly, Judge.

         A defendant appeals the court's denial of his motion to obtain jail credit for the time he spent in the Bridges of Iowa program.

          Jamie Hunter of Dickey & Campbell Law Firm, P.L.C., Des Moines, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and William A. Hill, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Doyle, P.J., Mullins, J., and Scott, S.J. [*]

          SCOTT, SENIOR JUDGE.

         Brett Hensley appeals the district court's denial of his motion for credit for days he spent at the Bridges of Iowa program against his sentence of incarceration. The State asserts the district court correctly denied the credit. For the reasons stated herein, we affirm the district court's decision.

         I. Background Fact and Proceedings.

         Hensley pled guilty to third-degree burglary and was sentenced on March 25, 2014, to a suspended five-year prison term. Hensley was placed on probation for two years, and the court ordered, as a part of that probation, Hensley complete treatment at the Bridges of Iowa program. The sentencing order required Hensley to remain in the Polk County Jail until space became available at Bridges. On June 17, 2014, Hensley was escorted to the Bridges facility, which is housed in a different portion of the Polk County Jail building. After spending 126 days at Bridges, Hensley absconded from the facility on October 22, 2014. His probation officer filed a report of violation with the court, and the court imposed the previously suspended five-year prison term on August 24, 2015.[1]

         On February 29, 2016, Hensley sent a letter to the court asking that he be given credit for the 126 days he spent in the Bridges program. The court directed the attorneys involved in the case to file a written response to the letter. On April 27, 2016, counsel for Hensley filed a motion for credit for time served, asserting he should be permitted credit for time spent at Bridges under Iowa Code section 903A.5(1) (2016). The State resisted the motion, and Hensley's counsel filed an amended motion on December 13, 2016, asserting credit for the time spent in Bridges should also be granted under section 907.3(3). A hearing was held on December 14, 2016, and the district court issued its decision the same day denying the motion for the credit. Hensley appeals that denial, asserting he is entitled to a credit under section 903A.5(1) and section 907.3(3).

         II. Scope and Standard of Review.

         Whether Hensley is entitled to a credit on his sentence for the time he spent at the Bridges program is a question that turns on statutory interpretation. As such, our review of the district court's decision is for the correction of errors at law. State v. Allensworth, 823 N.W.2d 411, 413 (Iowa 2012).

         III. Analysis.

         At the hearing on his motion, Hensley submitted as an exhibit the application form for the Bridges program. The exhibit provides Bridges is "a long-term faith-based treatment program for substance abusing individuals involved with the criminal justice system. Bridges of Iowa provides an intensive faith-based community environment designed to support individuals as they transition from prison or jail confinement." The application describes the program as lasting, typically, one year and having three phases. The first phase lasts approximately two to three months, and "[t]he resident's time away from the facility is considerably limited during Phase I." Phase 2 lasts approximately three to four months, and residents obtain employment and earn weekend furloughs. According to the application form, Phases 1 and 2 are located in the west wing of the Polk County Jail, "[b]ut the Bridge program is completely separate from the jail itself. Residents are not locked in. Bridges is a halfway house program. Clients come and go from this facility to work, meetings, church, furloughs, and other activities." Finally, Phase 3 typically lasts six months, and the participant "gains much more freedom, transitions off the West Wing unit and moves into one of our Phase 3 Apartments located in a beautiful facility in West Des Moines." However, the participants are required to return to the ...


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