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Caton v. State

Supreme Court of Nebraska

October 2, 2015

BRUCE CATON, APPELLANT,
v.
STATE OF NEBRASKA, APPELLEE

Page 912

Appeal from the District Court for Lancaster County: STEVEN D. BURNS, Judge.

Bruce Caton, Pro se.

Douglas J. Peterson, Attorney General, and George R. Love for appellee.

WRIGHT, CONNOLLY, MCCORMACK, MILLER-LERMAN, and CASSEL, JJ., AND MOORE, Chief Judge, and RIEDMANN, Judge. HEAVICAN, C.J., not participating.

OPINION

Page 913

[291 Neb. 940] McCormack, J.

NATURE OF CASE

Bruce Caton was discharged from the custody of the Department of Correctional Services (Department) upon serving 10 years of his sentence. Caton was later taken back into custody after the Department realized that the mandatory discharge date had been erroneously calculated by giving good time credit on the 10-year mandatory minimum term of Caton's sentence. Caton filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, challenging the Department's continuing exercise of custody. Caton alleged that in calculating his mandatory discharge date, the Department's reliance on State v. Castillas [1] violated the prohibition against ex post facto laws. The district court granted summary judgment for the State. We affirm.

[291 Neb. 941] BACKGROUND

Caton was sentenced on October 27, 2004, to 10 to 20 years' imprisonment with 363 days' credit for time served, after being convicted of burglary with habitual criminal enhancement. An order of commitment into the custody of the Department was signed by the clerk of the district court that same date. The date Caton committed the acts that led to this conviction is not in the record. The 10-year minimum sentence was mandatory under the habitual criminal statute, Neb. Rev. Stat. § 29-2221 (Reissue 1995).

The State discharged Caton after erroneously calculating good time on the 10-year mandatory minimum sentence. The correct mandatory discharge date will be upon serving 15 years of his sentence. Approximately 8 months after Caton's erroneous discharge, Caton was brought back into the Department's custody after the district court granted the State's motion to secure an arrest warrant. Caton was immediately released on parole. An affidavit by the records manager of the Department reflects that the Department has for purposes of his mandatory discharge date given Caton credit for the time spent mistakenly at liberty.

Caton filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Caton argued that in calculating his discharge date, the Department's reliance on Castillas, in which we discussed how discharge and parole eligibility dates should be calculated under the relevant good time ...


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