On appeal from a Final Decision of the New Jersey Department of Corrections.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted February 7, 2007
Before Judges Wefing and Yannotti.
Appellant James Davis (Davis) appeals from a final determination of the New Jersey Department of Corrections (DOC), dated May 1, 2006, concluding that Davis' maximum release date is January 13, 2008. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.
This appeal arises from the following facts. On April 16, 1999, Davis pled guilty to three counts of second-degree robbery, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1a. Defendant was sentenced to three, concurrent, ten-year terms of incarceration, each with a five-year period of parole ineligibility. The judge granted Davis 183 days of jail credit.
On January 24, 2004, while serving his sentences, Davis escaped from a halfway house. He was later apprehended in New York, charged and convicted of grand larceny in that state, and sentenced to a three-year term of incarceration. Davis thereafter was charged in New Jersey with escape, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:29-5a. On August 30, 2004, Davis pled guilty to the escape charge.
At the plea hearing, the assistant prosecutor asserted that, as part of the plea agreement, the State would recommend that Davis be sentenced to three years of incarceration "concurrent to two other sentences" that Davis was "currently serving; one in New York, one in New Jersey." Davis's attorney stated that he had reviewed the plea form with Davis. Defense counsel said that he was satisfied that Davis had voluntarily waived his rights.
Davis informed the judge that he had gone over "everything carefully" with his attorney and said that he was satisfied with the advice he had been given. Davis additionally commented:
Just like to state on the record, as [defense counsel] already stated, once again that the agreement as I understand it is the charge will run concurrent with my New York sentence under Inmate Number 04A246A, which I'm presently serving; and the New Jersey sentence under Inmate Number 3107721, I'm presently serving, also.
The judge replied, "That is correct, Mr. Davis." The judge added that the "sentence is to run concurrent to those two sentences." Davis provided the judge with the factual basis for his plea and asked to be sentenced in absentia. The judge accepted the plea and agreed that Davis did not have to be present for his sentencing.
Davis was accordingly sentenced to a term of three years of incarceration. The judgment of conviction states that Davis's sentence was concurrent to the 1999 New Jersey sentence and the 2004 New York sentence. The judge awarded Davis 59 days of jail credits for the period from August 30, 2004, to October 27, 2004.
It appears that Davis subsequently was paroled by New York. He was returned to DOC custody on March 15, 2006. The DOC thereafter determined that Davis's maximum release date is January 13, 2008; however, Davis questioned the accuracy of the DOC's calculation. The DOC responded to Davis's inquiry in a letter dated April 18, 2006. The DOC explained that Davis's three-year custodial sentence imposed in 2004 for escape had been absorbed into the ten-year sentence for robbery imposed in 1999. The DOC thus found that the 1999 sentence was the "controlling sentence."
According to the DOC's calculation, the 1999 ten-year sentence expired on April 15, 2009, from which jail credits were deducted, leaving a "flat max expiration" date of October 15, 2008. The DOC then subtracted an additional 936 days for commutation credits, which resulted in a "max date" of March 24, 2006. The DOC added 784 days for the period that Davis was absent from DOC custody. The DOC deducted 247.8 days for work credits, as well as 126 days of minimum credits, ...