COREY M. JETER APPELLANT
COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY APPELLEE
REVIEW FROM COURT OF APPEALS CASE NO. 2017-CA-000223-MR
JEFFERSON CIRCUIT COURT NO. 16-CR-003332
COUNSEL FOR APPELLANT: Cicely Jaracz Lambert Chief Appellate
Defender Adam Braunbeck Louisville Metro Public Defender
Daniel T. Goyette Louisville Metro Public Defender.
COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE: Andy Beshear Attorney General of
Kentucky Dorislee J. Gilbert Special Assistant Attorney
September 21, 2016, Appellant, Corey M. Jeter, was arraigned
by the Jefferson District Court on a charge of one count of
second-degree burglary. The court set Jeter's bond at
$10, 000 full cash and granted him $100 a day bail credit
pursuant to KRS 431.066(5)(a). On December 20, 2016, the
Jefferson County grand jury returned an indictment charging
Jeter with second-degree burglary and theft by unlawful
taking of property valued over $500 but less than $10, 000.
his indictment, on December 28, 2016, Jeter appeared for his
initial hearing before the Jefferson Circuit Court, which
"fixed" a bond "in the interim" at $10,
000. Formal arraignment and pre-trial conference were
scheduled for February 8, 2017.
January 13, 2017, Jeter filed a RCr 4.40(1) motion for bond
reduction, for release on bail credit for his jail time
pursuant to KRS 431.066(5)(a), and, in the alternative, to
release him to the Home Incarceration Program. Jeter argued
that he had spent 99 days in custody accruing bail credit
prior to arraignment in the Jefferson Circuit Court and was
entitled to release on bail credit after 100 days pursuant to
the district court's order.
January 17, the circuit court held a hearing to consider
Jeter's motion. After consideration of the record, the
circuit court denied Jeter's request to decrease his
bond, and instead increased it from $10, 000 to $20, 000.
full cash. Furthermore, the circuit court found that Jeter
was ineligible for bail credit under KRS 431.066(5)(a)
because: (1) Jeter was a flight risk due to his history of
not appearing in court and (2) he was a persistent felony
offender ("PFO"). See KRS 431.066(5) (b).
The circuit court referred to these oral findings in its
order denying Jeter's motion. They were not reduced to
appealed to the Kentucky Court of Appeals pursuant to RCr
4.43(1). A divided Court of Appeals upheld the trial court.
In so holding, the Court of Appeals stated that the circuit
court had properly increased Jeter's bond at the January
17 hearing. Citing Sydnor v. Commonwealth, 617
S.W.2d 58, 59 (Ky. App. 1981), the Court of Appeals stated
that the December 20 indictment was a change in Jeter's
status "sufficient to authorize the circuit court ... to
summarily exercise a new discretion as to the amount of
bail." Jeter appealed for discretionary review pursuant
to RCr 4.43(1)(h), which this Court granted.
review a circuit court's decision whether to modify a
bail bond for an abuse of discretion. Commonwealth v.
Peacock, 701 S.W.2d 397, 398 (Ky. 1985); Long v.
Hamilton, 467 S.W.2d 139, 141 (Ky. 1971)
("Appellate courts will not attempt to substitute their
judgment for that of the trial court and will not interfere
in the fixing of bail unless the trial court has clearly
abused its discretionary power.") (internal citations
omitted). That is, we must analyze "whether the trial
judge's decision was arbitrary, unreasonable, unfair, or
unsupported by sound legal principles." Mitchell v.
Commonwealth, 423 S.W.3d 152, 156 (Ky. 2014) (internal
indictment, jurisdiction over Jeter's bail passed from
the district to the circuit court. RCr 4.54(1). Additionally,
upon indictment and the issuance of a bench warrant, the
circuit judge shall fix bail. RCr 6.54(1).
Therefore, at the December 28 appearance, it was solely up to
the circuit judge to set a new bond on the charges returned
in Jeter's indictment. Here, even though the circuit
judge used the peculiar term "interim bond, " he
fixed a new bond at v. $10, 000. Although this circuit court
bond had the same monetary value as the bond set by the
district court, it was not the same bond. Furthermore, with
the expiration of the district court's bond, the district
court's bail credit order became moot. Because the
district court bond was moot, all requirements which attended
it were moot and unenforceable. Nevertheless, the circuit
court considered the issue anew pursuant to Jeter's
motion, but found that Jeter was not entitled to bail credit
under KRS 431.066(5)(a).
the circuit court set Jeter's circuit court bond on
December 28, 2016, the issue as to whether the grand
jury's indictment was a "material change in
circumstances" sufficient under Sydnor or RCr
4.42 was moot. Sydnor and RCr 4.42 only apply when a
defendant has been released on bail. They embody a historic
concept of fairness meant to protect an individual's
liberty interest from arbitrary bond revocation and
reimprisonment. As opposed to the defendant in
Sydnor, Jeter was never released on bail. Therefore,
the "material change in circumstances" test for
bail modification never came into play. Bolton v.
Irvin, 373 S.W.3d 432, 436 (Ky. 2012) ("The rule
[RCr 4.42] provides additional protections for the liberty
interests of a defendant who has already been granted
pretrial release. It is therefore inapplicable to a defendant
like [Jeter] who remained incarcerated pending trial.").
The circuit judge used the indictment as a justifiable reason
for modifying the bond under RCr 6.54(1). Thus,
Sydnor and RCr 4.42-the primary focus of both
parties' arguments-are not operative in this case.
modification is brought before a trial court through
statutory and rule-based authorities. Some grant a trial
court power to modify a bond suasponte,
such as RCr 3.14(1), which permits a district court to modify
an initial bail amount after a finding of probable cause.
Others empower the court to consider modifying bond upon