Case: Arriola v. Commonwealth of Kentucky

12-01208 | Kentucky state trial court

Filed Date: Sept. 11, 2012

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

This lawsuit was brought against the Kentucky Department of Corrections (KDOC) on July 7, 2014, by inmates and former inmates who have spent time in Kansas penal custody and who were denied “Earned Good Time” (EGT) credits or had their EGT credits revoked. The EGT system is part of a law passed by the Kentucky legislature (KRS 197.045), which is intended to reduce recidivism among inmates in the custody of KDOC by offering them credits that can be applied towards a sentence reduction for comple…

This lawsuit was brought against the Kentucky Department of Corrections (KDOC) on July 7, 2014, by inmates and former inmates who have spent time in Kansas penal custody and who were denied “Earned Good Time” (EGT) credits or had their EGT credits revoked. The EGT system is part of a law passed by the Kentucky legislature (KRS 197.045), which is intended to reduce recidivism among inmates in the custody of KDOC by offering them credits that can be applied towards a sentence reduction for completing approved educational and rehabilitative programs.

The plaintiffs here brought suit because they were denied EGT credits by KDOC. KDOC claimed that the programs completed by plaintiffs were too similar to EGT programs that that they had completed previously to qualify them for additional EGT credits. However, plaintiffs argued that sections 1(a), 2, and 3 of KRS 197.045 requires that inmates who complete approved educational or rehabilitative programs be awarded EGT credits on their sentences, and that KDOc doesn't have the discretion to deny credits for programs considered too similar to previously completed programs. Plaintiffs thus argued that KDOC’s denial of credits was arbitrary and capricious, and that this violated Kentucky State law, Sections 1, 2, 10, 17, and 25 of the Kentucky Constitution’s Bill of Rights, and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. They brought their suit in state court, in the Franklin Circuit Court, Division I, and they sought class certification to represent other persons who completed approved programs but were denied EGT credits by KDOC. They have asked the court to declare that the KDOC’s denial of EGT credits was illegal, to issue an injunction forbidding denial of EGT credits to persons who complete or who have completed approved programs, to award actual and punitive damages to plaintiffs and plaintiff class, and to award plaintiffs with attorneys’ fees and costs.

On June 3, 2015, the Judge assigned to the case, Judge Phillip J. Shepherd, held that the KDOC’s denial of EGT credits was arbitrary and capricious, and that this violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, along with sections 2 and 3 of the Kentucky Constitution. He also granted plaintiffs request for class certification, allowing them to act as class representatives for, “. . . inmates incarcerated by the [K]DOC who have sought, or are seeking, the award of sentence credits under KRS 197.045 through completion of educational or behavior modification programs offered by [K]DOC for the time period of five years preceding the filing of this action.” Judge Shepherd reserved ruling on what remedies to provide for the KDOC’s violations of the U.S. and Kentucky Constitutions pending, “. . . further proceedings to address the appropriate scope of injunctive relief and to explore the availability of other remedies, including mediation that can fairly and efficiently address the violations found by the Court.”

The only documents that we have available in the Clearinghouse are the plaintiffs’ complaint from July 7, 2014, and Judge Shepherd’s order from June 3, 2015. As of July 3, 2016, we don’t know whether the case is still ongoing, or whether Judge Shepherd has entered a final judgment.

Summary Authors

Ryan Berry (7/3/2016)

People


Judge(s)

Shepherd, Phillip J. (Kentucky)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bathurst, Camille (Kentucky)

Belzley, Gregory A. (Kentucky)

Judge(s)

Shepherd, Phillip J. (Kentucky)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bathurst, Camille (Kentucky)

Belzley, Gregory A. (Kentucky)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Fourth Amended Class Action Complaint

July 7, 2014 Complaint

Opinion

June 3, 2015 Order/Opinion

Docket

Last updated May 12, 2022

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: Kentucky

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: Sept. 11, 2012

Case Ongoing: Unknown

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Persons who completed completed programs under Kentucky law providing for reduced sentences who were denied those reductions by the Kentucky Department of Corrections

Plaintiff Type(s):

State Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Kentucky Department of Corrections , State

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Corrections

Case Details

Causes of Action:

State law

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Availably Documents:

Complaint (any)

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Unknown

Declaratory Judgment

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Issues

General:

Over/Unlawful Detention

Rehabilitation

Type of Facility:

Government-run