State v. Kenvin, 2013 VT 104.
Today’s case provides a compelling look into a prevalent problem in our society today—that of our callous disregard for the safety of our neighbors when we get behind the wheel of a car. It also demonstrates the frustrations experienced by, and the sentences issuing from, our judiciary when confronted with tragedy, which resulted from carelessness, and highlights an issue that I address in my criminal law class—the difficulty presented by situations involving negligence, as a criminal mental state combined with a tragic outcome.
But today’s major holding isn’t about any of that. Instead, it’s about how much restriction on liberty prior to conviction or imposition of sentence constitutes “custody” for purposes of a convicted defendant receiving “credit” toward a sentence. In other words, today’s case is a criminal defense practitioner’s dream.