Carson District Judges James Wilson and Todd Russell are systematically rejecting petitions from inmates seeking to force prison officials to grant them good time credits lowering their minimum sentences.
They have thus far ruled in nearly a dozen of the cases but, facing them, is a total of 106 such petitions as of Tuesday and court officials say more arrive every day.
The flood of claims started coming after the Nevada Supreme Court ruled inmate Frederick Von Seydewitz was entitled to good time credits against his minimum sentence under Assembly Bill 510 of the 2007 Legislature.
In the case of Caleb Gault, Judge Russell rejected the petition.
“Any statute designating a minimum term of imprisonment inherently sets the minimum sentence an offender must serve before becoming parole eligible,” he wrote. “By statutory definition, an offender becomes eligible for parole when he has served the minimum term of his sentence.”
That is the same line of reasoning both judges have used thus far.
In the case of Jonathan Flagg, Judge Wilson wrote when he committed his offense, he wasn’t eligible for a reduction to his minimum sentence.
“He fails to state a claim that, if true, would entitle him to relief,” he wrote.
AB510 of the 2007 Legislature made dramatic changes to parole eligibility for inmates including providing credits against minimum sentences in some cases — most notably for offenders convicted of non-violent crimes.
After the Von Seydewitz ruling, the Attorney General’s office advised prison officials the order has no binding authority on any other inmate and doesn’t constitute precedent.
But as the pile of petitions works its way through the district court, the inmates involved are going to undoubtedly appeal to the Supreme Court again.