Carson Court inundated with inmate appeals

Carson City District Judge James Wilson has set a July 12 hearing to resolve a growing stack of inmate petitions challenging how the Department of Corrections calculates good time credits.

As of Friday, there were 53 Habeas Corpus petitions from inmates all claiming the department has illegally refused to apply those good time credits to their minimum sentences, extending their prison time before they’re eligible for parole.

The petitions began coming to Carson District Court in May after the Nevada Supreme Court ruled in favor of Frederick Von Seydewitz who argued prison officials should be ordered to apply good time credits to his minimum sentence as required by Assembly Bill 510.

AB510 of the 2007 Legislature made dramatic changes to parole eligibility for inmates, including making them eligible for good time credits against their minimum sentences, not just their maximum prison time. Inmates can get up to 20 days off their sentence each month for good behavior.

The district court ruling rejected Von Seydewitz’s argument. That decision was reversed by the Supreme Court and sent back with instructions to correct Von Seydewitz’s sentence.

But, according to a memo issued by prison officials April 8, the Attorney General’s office advised “this order has no binding authority on anyone else” because it was an unpublished order.

“An unpublished order shall not be regarded as precedent and shall not be cited as legal authority,” the memo states.

Therefore, the memo says, the Department of Corrections isn’t required to apply it to any other inmates.

“That being said, as a result of this, it is likely, and we’ve already seen a huge number of kites and inquiries about this exact issue that we will have a bunch of inmates filing similar lawsuits on this,” according to the memo.

The District court clerk’s office has been receiving more Habeas Corpus filings challenging how prison officials are calculating inmate parole eligibility every day since word spread among the state’s inmate population.

Wilson is scheduled to take them up all at once in the July 12 hearing.

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