Judge's math let Nikko Jenkins out of prison early - Omaha.com
Published Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 1:00 am / Updated at 1:33 pm
Judge's math let Nikko Jenkins out of prison early

Nikko A. Jenkins should have been in prison through 2013 and into 2014.

That isn't the philosophical conclusion of a tough-on-crime advocate.

It's a mathematical one.

While serving a prison sentence for two 2003 robberies, Jenkins was convicted and faced up to five years in prison for the December 2009 assault of a prison guard during a furlough for his grandmother's funeral in Omaha.

On July 12, 2011, Douglas County District Judge Gary Randall sentenced Jenkins to two to four years in prison — a term that is cut to one to two years under state sentencing guidelines.

Randall specifically ordered the term to run consecutively to Jenkins' previous sentences — meaning that Jenkins should have had two years in prison tacked onto his total sentence.

However, Randall gave Jenkins credit for 513 days that he had served in the Douglas County Jail after being transferred there from the Tecumseh State Prison while he awaited trial.

Prosecutor Katie Benson objected, arguing that Jenkins should receive no credit for that time served.

Benson's argument: Even though Jenkins was in Douglas County, the time he was serving there was for his original sentence in the robberies — and shouldn't count in the assault of the guard.

“The state would ask that ... whatever sentence you impose, it (should) run consecutive and that he not receive credit,” Benson said, according to a transcript of that hearing.

Under state law, Randall said, he believed that he had to give Jenkins jail credit because Jenkins had been transferred from the state prison to Douglas County and was under Randall's jurisdiction while he awaited trial.

“Since he's here incarcerated, I thought the way they did it is he got credit for this charge for the time that he spent here,” Randall said in the transcript. “But he's getting no credit for the (prison sentence).”

Randall said Wednesday that he believed that the State Department of Correctional Services would make the necessary adjustments to Jenkins' time served to ensure that Jenkins served an additional two years.

However, corrections spokeswoman Dawn-Renee Smith — while not commenting on Jenkins' case — said corrections has no leeway to depart from any judge's order. “Absolutely none,” she said. “The judge's order is what it is.”

Bottom line: The granting of jail credit effectively reduced the time tacked onto Jenkins' sentence from two years to about seven months.

And it was the opposite of what a previous judge had done. In 2006, Douglas County District Judge James Gleason sentenced Jenkins to the equivalent of a year in prison for assaulting a fellow inmate.

Gleason ordered the sentence to run consecutively. He declined to credit Jenkins for time served because Jenkins was in prison on the robbery charge. “Credit for 0 days given,” Gleason wrote.

Contact the writer: Todd Cooper

todd.cooper@owh.com    |   402-444-1275

Todd covers courts and legal issues for The World-Herald.

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