- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A Nebraska felon released early because of a sentencing miscalculation won’t have to go back to prison despite losing another court fight to remain free: He’s won parole.

Bruce Caton was among dozens of prisoners released early because state officials miscalculated sentences, according to an investigation by the Omaha World-Herald. Caton, 57, was released in October 2013, which under corrected calculations was more than five years early.

He was taken back into custody on June 30. He asked the court to free him in July, arguing that the state was unconstitutionally applying a new calculation on his sentence and returning him to prison without due process. But as he awaited a judge’s decision, he was granted parole on Sept. 18.

That means he will remain free despite a ruling Tuesday by Lancaster County District Judge Steven Burns, who disagreed with Caton and ruled he was provided due process. The judge said the state Supreme Court in 2002 and 2003 addressed mandatory minimums and “good time” provisions, which enable prisoners to trim time off their sentences because of good behavior, well before Caton’s original sentencing in October 2004 for burglary. Burns also said the law by which good time is calculated has not changed since its adoption in 1995.

Burns consequently dismissed Caton’s filing, granting the summary judgment requested by the state’s attorneys.

The court loss was the second for Caton, who on June 24 asked the district court to bar the state from returning him to prison, saying he’d already served the minimum of his 10- to 20-year sentence. Judge Robert Otte ruled against Caton three days later, saying among other things that Caton’s argument was flawed because he wasn’t in custody while arguing that he was being illegally detained.


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