Las Vegas Sun

August 20, 2018

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Inmate wins good-time credit ruling

CARSON CITY — Jessica Williams, sentenced to prison for running over and killing six teenagers in Las Vegas, has won a legal battle that may help other prisoners reduce their minimum sentences.

The Nevada Supreme Court ruled Thursday that good-time credits could be applied to the minimum terms of some inmates, making them eligible earlier for parole.

But the ruling, written by Justice Lidia Stiglich, applies only to inmates convicted of crimes committed between July 1997 and June 30, 2007, when the law was changed.

Williams was convicted of six counts of driving while under the influence of a controlled substance. Her car plowed into the teens, who were picking up trash in 2000. She was sentenced to six consecutive terms of 36 months to a maximum 96 months.

The state Department of Corrections maintained the good-time credits applied only to the maximum sentences.

The Supreme Court said the law at that time did not allow good-time credits when the sentence specified that a minimum term must be served.

Stiglich wrote that if the sentence does not spell out that the minimum term must be served, then good-time credits could be applied, making an inmate eligible to apply for parole.

The court said, “Thus, if the sentencing statue did not specify a minimum sentence that had to be served before parole eligibility, credits should be deducted from the prisoner’s minimum sentence, making an inmate eligible for parole sooner than he or she would have been without credits.”

The decision said Williams was eligible to apply good-time credits to her minimum sentence.

Stiglich said there are a number of cases before the court involving the same issue.

Williams has already served the minimum terms on five of her six sentences. She is now eligible to apply good-time credits to her last 36-month minimum sentence to permit her to apply for parole.