CORRECTIONS – educational good time credit, incentives, and GED: Richardson v. Rees (COA 3/27/2009)

Richardson v. Rees
2009 WL 792748

Opinion by Judge Wine; Judges Caperton and Taylor concurred.

The Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part an order of the circuit court dismissing appellant’s petition seeking a declaratory judgment that certain statutory and constitutional rights had been violated when he was denied 60 days Educational Good Time Credit (EGT) and a monetary incentive award for earning his GED, as well seeking punitive damages, costs and attorney fees.

The Court first held that appellant’s use of “et al.” in his Notice of Appeal to designate seven individual respondents did not comply with CR 73.03(1) and therefore, the judgment was final and no longer appealable as to those individuals. However, because the Commissioner was individually named and he had the ultimate responsibility of deciding whether to award the credit, the other individuals were not indispensable parties.

The Court then held that that the Department of Corrections correctly applied a limitation of one mandatory award of EGT for completion of one of the categories listed in KRS 197.045(1) and that awards of additional EGT credit were within the discretion of the Department subject to the guidelines set out in KCPP 20.1(II(C)(1) and (2).

The Court then held that the Department abused its discretion in denying appellant additional EGT credit for successfully completing his GED after he was directed to complete the GED class in order to enroll in a carpentry vocational program even though he presented a college transcript supporting his claim that his college degree should meet the requirements of a GED or high school diploma and after counselors assured him that he would be awarded the EGT if he obtained his GED.

The Court next held that appellant’s failure to move the trial court to amend its order pursuant to CR 52.02 or CR 59.05, precluded review of his claim that the trial court failed to address his breach of contract claim. The Court finally held that appellant’s claim that his equal protection rights were violated was brought for the first time on appeal and therefore, was unreviewable.

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