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State v. Hensley

Supreme Court of Iowa

May 4, 2018

STATE OF IOWA, Appellee,

         On review from the Iowa Court of Appeals.

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

         The defendant seeks further review of a court of appeals decision that affirmed the district court 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, PLC, Des Moines, for appellant.

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

          ZAGER, JUSTICE.

         The defendant appealed the district court ruling denying his motion for credit for time served based on the time he spent in the Bridges of Iowa (Bridges) program. The district court concluded that Bridges is not a correctional or mental health facility under Iowa Code section 903A.5(1) (2016), nor an alternate jail facility or a community correctional residential treatment facility under Iowa Code section 907.3(3). The court of appeals affirmed the district court ruling. On further review, we vacate the decision of the court of appeals, reverse the district court ruling, and remand for entry of an order providing Hensley with sentencing credit for the time he resided at Bridges.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         Brett Hensley pled guilty to third-degree burglary, a class "D" felony, in violation of Iowa Code sections 713.1 and 713.6A (2013). On March 24, 2014, Hensley was sentenced to a suspended five-year prison term and was placed on supervised probation for two years. Among other requirements, the terms and conditions of his probation stated, "Defendant shall complete . . . the treatment program at Bridges of Iowa. Defendant shall remain in Polk County Jail until space is available at Bridges. A violation of this paragraph is a violation of probation." Hensley remained in the Polk County jail until a bed became available at Bridges on June 17, 2014, at which time he was escorted by Polk County jail staff to Bridges for treatment.

         Bridges is located in the west wing of the Polk County jail, but it is a separate program from the jail. The application form for Bridges describes the program as "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." According to an archived version of its website provided by Hensley, Bridges "is a licensed level 3.1 long term substance abuse treatment program." Bridges of Iowa, Inc., About Bridges of Iowa (2016), http:/[ web/20160323204440/http:/]. A level 3.1 facility provides "clinically managed low-intensity residential services, " which include a 24-hour structure with available personnel and at least five hours of clinical service per week. Am. Soc'y Addiction Med. Continuum, What are the ASAM Levels of Care? (May 13, 2015),[]. Bridges participants are subject to an orientation period and three phases to successfully complete the program.

         According to the Bridges application form, phase one generally lasts between 60 to 90 days "and consists of a variety of treatment modalities" centered around Bible study, therapy, Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings, and courses teaching residents about job seeking and financial planning. During this phase, residents receive "considerably limited" time away from the Bridges facility. Phase two typically lasts between 90 and 120 days, during which the "resident obtains employment, earns weekend furloughs, and begins paying full rent." The residents also continue to participate in the therapeutic or treatment-related activities they started during phase one. "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."

         The third and final phase typically lasts six months and represents "the point in the program where the client gains much more freedom, transitions off the West Wing unit and moves into one of [Bridges'] Phase 3 Apartments" in West Des Moines. Participants in the third phase "are required to return to the residential unit two evenings per week for continuing care-group counseling sessions and Spiritual programming." Participants may receive an "unsuccessful discharge" if they "display[ ] unacceptable behavior or fail[ ] to have satisfactory progress in the program." If a participant is unsuccessfully discharged while on probation, Bridges will notify the participant's probation or parole officer.

         Hensley participated in the Bridges program for a period of 126 days from June 17 to October 22. Hensley made it to phase two before absconding from Bridges in violation of its policies and in violation of the terms of his probation. On October 23, a violation report was filed by Hensley's probation officer, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. The report noted that Hensley had violated the rule of his probation requiring him to "cooperate with and participate in any referral programs directed by [his] probation officer." In the report, the probation officer wrote, "PO Schmitz was informed by Bridges of Iowa Patrick Coughlin that [t]he Defendant would be unsuccessfully discharged from Bridges of Iowa Treatment today due to continued non-compliance." In the request for a warrant, the probation officer noted that Hensley "has been unsuccessfully discharged from Residential Drug Treatment with Bridges of Iowa due to Habitual non-compliance with their Residential Program."

         Hensley subsequently had his probation revoked due to his unsuccessful discharge from Bridges, as well as an additional criminal charge for second-degree theft he incurred after he absconded from Bridges. On August 24, 2015, Hensley was sentenced to prison. The district court imposed his previous five-year prison term in the probation revocation proceedings. Additionally, Hensley had pled guilty to the charge of second-degree theft in violation of Iowa Code section 714.2(2) (2015), a class "D" felony. Hensley was sentenced to a five-year term of imprisonment for the theft conviction, which the court ordered to run consecutively to his ...

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