Nowak v. SuthersAnnotate this Case
In a matter of first impression, the issue before the Supreme Court in this case called for an evaluation of the relationship between C.R.S. sections 17-22.5-101 and 17-22.5-403(1) (2013) of article 22.5, governing "Inmate and Parole Time Computation." Petitioner Jeffrey Nowak was convicted on two counts of aggravated motor theft and sentenced to eight years. He began serving the sentence on May 13, 2003 - the effective date of the sentence for parole eligibility purposes. The Department of Corrections calculated petitioner's parole eligibility date (PED) as July 3, 2006. Several months after reaching his PED, petitioner absconded from a halfway house while on a temporary leave. Petitioner would later be convicted of felony escape and sentenced to twelve years in prison to run consecutively to the eight-year sentence. Petitioner began serving the new sentence on July 13, 2007. Because he had already reached his PED on the original sentence when he started serving the new sentence, the DOC used the July 2007 date (rather than the May 2003 date) to calculate petitioner's new PED. Petitioner sought habeas relief, arguing the DOC should have used the PED from May 2003. The Supreme Court concluded that for the purpose of computing an inmate's PED, section 17-22.5-101 required the DOC to construe all sentences as one continuous sentence when the inmate has been committed under several convictions with separate sentences, even when doing so results in the inmate becoming parole eligible before serving at least 50% of the second sentence.