This week I received some very useful information. NE Corrections has 2 types of good time, the standard day-for-day good time that is automatically credited when you arrive but you can loose it, and 191 good time, which you have to earn by going without major write-ups for at least a year. Currently NDCS applies the 1-for-1 good time to both you tentative date (TRD or jam date) and your parole eligibility date (PED) but they only apply the 191 good time to your PED. I have argued that a proper reading of the statutes (83-1,107 and 83-1,110) shows that191 good time should apply to both TRD and PED. The NDCS admin. and even the Ombudsman (Mr. Lux) have disagreed with my interpretation. The Ombudsman granted that my arguments were very “lawyerly” but that the “literati” of sentencing have interpreted it this way for decades. He stated that “the mere inference from statutory language and structure won’t be enough to convince a judge. In other words, the Legislature would have said so, explicitly, and in no uncertain terms…which, of course, they didn’t.”
The useful information I received this week was the transcript of the Legislature’s floor debate on LB 191. Sen. Council, the author of LB 191, opened debate on it and in his explanation of how it would apply he says: “By way of example, an individual sentenced to a term of four years is eligible for parole after two years. Under LB 191, that inmate would have the opportunity to earn an additional 36 days of good time.” So, actually, the Legislature DID explicitly, and in no uncertain terms, state that LB 191 would apply to PEDs. By Mr. Lux’s own standards, that would now be enough to convince a judge. Ha!
I am currently finishing the grievance process on NDCS misinterpretation of LB 191 and I am certain they won’t change their minds. I have also written to the new Ombudsman with the new evidence to see where he stands. Ultimately, I expect I will have to petition a judge to force NDCS to properly apply 191 good time but I am debating whether I should do this pro se (on my own) or if I should hire a lawyer. It would cost at least $5,000 to retain a lawyer while doing it myself would only probably be a couple hundred dollars. But if I mess up and miss a deadline or something then I’ve screwed up the whole process. *sigh* Regardless of whether I file myself or hire a lawyer I am getting a few other guys who have earned 191 good time to finish the grievance process so they can sue too and then I hope we can establish a class action on behalf of everyone who has earned 191 good time. *smile* I’m even doing a Public Records request to find out how many people in NDCS have earned 191 good time to prepare for the class action argument. I’d be pretty happy if I can get them to properly apply 191 good time but I’d be pretty proud if I could manage a class action law suit without a lawyer. *grin*
I also found out this week that, even though the program I need to take at LCC (iHelp) is moving to OCC as of January, my case manager (Flowthy) is unwilling to change my transfer order from LCC to OCC. I have to wait till my reclassification in Sept. which means it won’t be approved by the DRC (Director’s Review Committee) until Oct. It shouldn’t take too long after getting approved and I’ll still likely get to OCC before the program starts there but I had hoped to move sooner. One of the biggest lessons from being incarcerated is that you learn to be patient. *deep breath*
The transfer to OCC shouldn’t be a problem. I had been blocked from going to OCC because there was a “central monitoring” issue with someone there. That means I couldn’t be in the same facility as someone, we’ll call him LC. Luckily, LC has been moved to work release in Lincoln (CCCL). Jeff, my cellie, knows LC had been assuring me that I wouldn’t have any problems with LC if I was sent to OCC. Jeff had been cellies with him in county before and didn’t think LC would be a threat to me but now it doesn’t matter. *smile* How coincidental that my cellie for almost the past 2 years had also been cellies with LC. I guess there are only 5,500 people in the system so there’s going to be a lot of cross-connections. Hmm.