Circuit Court LC No. 2013-001721-FH
Before: Beckering, P.J., and Markey and Shapiro, JJ.
Sabrina Racine Parker, appeals by leave granted her guilty
plea to identity theft, MCL 445.65, and conspiracy to steal
and retain a financial transaction device without consent,
MCL 750.157n(1). The trial court sentenced defendant as a
fourth-offense habitual offender, MCL 769.12, to 4 to 15
years' imprisonment for each offense. The trial court
ordered these sentences to run concurrently to one another,
but consecutively to sentences imposed upon defendant in 2010
that she failed to complete because the Department of
Corrections (DOC) erroneously released her into the community
in 2011. Given the absence of statutory authority to support
the trial court's imposition of consecutive sentences in
this case, we remand to the trial court to correct
defendant's judgment of sentence by striking the
provision that her current sentences run consecutively to her
sentences from 2010.
October 2010, defendant was convicted and sentenced in Kent
County to serve 21 to 72 months' imprisonment for
possession of a stolen financial transaction device. In
November 2010, while serving her Kent County sentence,
defendant was also convicted of possession of a stolen
financial transaction device in Monroe County and sentenced
to 32 to 48 months' imprisonment. On June 6, 2011, the
DOC erroneously released defendant back into the community
before she finished serving either of her sentences.
charges in the current case arose from conduct initiated on
January 9, 2013, when defendant stole five credit cards from
a victim while the victim was participating in a yoga class.
Defendant was arrested on December 17, 2013, and subsequently
entered guilty pleas to identity theft under MCL 445.65 and
conspiracy to steal and retain a financial transaction device
without consent under MCL 750.157n(1). The trial court
sentenced defendant to concurrent sentences of 4 to 15
years' imprisonment for each offense. Because
defendant's release from prison in 2011, before
completing her sentences from 2010, came about through
clerical error, her presentence investigation report
indicated that she was "in prison." Accordingly,
the trial court ordered that defendant's sentences in
this case run consecutively to the completion of her
sentences from 2010 pursuant to MCL 768.7a.
appeal, defendant argues that the trial court erred by
ordering that her current sentences run consecutively to her
sentences from 2010 because the consecutive sentencing
provisions of MCL 768.7a do not apply to her. We agree.
a consecutive sentence may be imposed is a question of law
that we review de novo. People v Gonzalez, 256
Mich.App. 212, 229; 663 N.W.2d 499 (2003). Resolution of this
issue requires us to interpret MCL 768.7a and related
statutes. "The purpose of statutory interpretation is to
give effect to the intent of the Legislature. If a statute is
clear, we enforce it as plainly written. However, if a
statute is susceptible to more than one interpretation, we
must engage in judicial construction and interpret the
statute." People v Denio, 454 Mich. 691, 699;
564 N.W.2d 13 (1997) (citations omitted). The purpose of a
consecutive sentencing statute is "to deter persons
convicted of one crime from committing other crimes by
removing the security of concurrent sentencing."
People v Phillips, 217 Mich.App. 489, 499; 552
N.W.2d 487 (1996). Accordingly, " 'consecutive
sentencing statute[s] should be construed liberally in order
to achieve the deterrent effect intended by the
Legislature.' " Id., quoting People v
Kirkland, 172 Mich.App. 735, 737; 432 N.W.2d 422 (1988).
court may only impose a consecutive sentence if specifically
authorized by statute. People v Lee, 233 Mich.App.
403, 405; 592 N.W.2d 779 (1999). Neither of the statutes
under which the court sentenced defendant in this case
specifically authorizes consecutive sentencing. See MCL
445.65; MCL 750.157n(1). As authority for the imposition of
consecutive sentences, the trial court relied upon MCL
768.7a, which states in pertinent part:
(1)A person who is incarcerated in a penal or reformatory
institution in this state, or who escapes from such an
institution, and who commits a crime during that
incarceration or escape which is punishable by imprisonment
in a penal or reformatory institution in this state shall,
upon conviction of that crime, be sentenced as provided by
law. The term of imprisonment imposed for the crime shall
begin to run at the expiration of the term or terms of
imprisonment which the person is serving or has become liable
to serve in a penal or reformatory institution in this state.
(2)If a person is convicted and sentenced to a term of
imprisonment for a felony committed while the person was on
parole from a sentence for a previous offense, the term of
imprisonment imposed for the later offense shall begin to run
at the expiration of the remaining portion of the term of
imprisonment imposed for the previous offense.
to the plain language of MCL 768.7a, to be subject to
consecutive sentencing a person must either be
"incarcerated in a penal or reformatory institution,
" an escapee, or a parolee. It is undisputed that
defendant was neither an escapee nor a parolee when she
committed the 2013 offenses. Therefore, the question before
this Court is whether defendant was "incarcerated in a
penal or reformatory institution" at the time of ...