The attorney for Tim Howard, the former Death Row inmate sentenced to a reduced term on retrial for two slayings in Little River County, has filed a motion in Jefferson Circuit Court seeking a declaratory judgment that he is eligible either for parole or immediate release because he’s served enough of his sentence — counting time off for good behavior — for immediate release.
Howard was convicted of capital murder of Brian and Shannon Day in 1999 and sentenced to death. He won a new trial this year that resulted in second-degree murder convictions and a 38-year sentence. He has a clean disciplinary record and, with “good time,” should be eligible for release. But the state Correction Department has said Howard was ineligible for good time or other credit for time served.
Howard’s attorney Patrick Benca argues that the jury was aware of good time rules in computing the 38-year sentence and expected them to be counted along with the 19 years he’s served. Retroactive application of good time has been applied in other cases, Benca argues, but the state is contending that the judge’s sentencing order doesn’t allow it to apply the same rules.
Benca argues that Howard is being denied fundamental rights to fairness, due process and equal protection.