The sole issue on these combined appeals is whether convicted prisoners are entitled to receive
In their stipulation of facts, the parties in both cases summarized the respective procedural histories. The petitioner Ronald G. Sutton was arrested on June 22, 1979, and was incarcerated pursuant to a mittimus and also because of his failure to obtain bail. On July 7, 1981, he pleaded guilty to the offenses of sexual assault in the first degree; General Statutes § 53a-70; kidnapping in the second degree; General Statutes § 53a-94a; and threatening; General Statutes § 53a-62; as charged in the state's substitute information. After the petitioner had been sentenced, the trial court granted his petition for a writ of habeas corpus, held the sentences void, and ordered a new trial. At the ensuing trial, the jury found the petitioner guilty on all three counts of the substitute information, and the court resentenced him.
The petitioner John J. McCarthy was arrested on August 5, 1980, and was jailed pursuant to a mittimus and also because of his failure to obtain bail. He was convicted of multiple crimes of burglary and larceny and sentenced on June 26, 1981. The commissioner credited the petitioner with his presentence jail time served under the mittimus, pursuant to General Statutes § 18-97.
In the petitions for writs of habeas corpus presently before us, the petitioners challenged the commissioner's refusal to credit them with presentence jail time pursuant to General Statutes § 18-98,
The proper application of §§ 18-97 and 18-98 requires us to reconcile a number of basic principles of statutory construction. Our fundamental objective in construing a statute is to carry out the apparent intent of the legislature. Caulkins v. Petrillo, 200 Conn. 713, 716-17, 513 A.2d 43 (1986); State v. Kozlowski, 199 Conn. 667, 673, 509 A.2d 20 (1986); DeFonce Construction Corporation v. State, 198 Conn. 185, 187, 501 A.2d 745 (1985); State v. Campbell, 180 Conn. 557, 561, 429 A.2d 960 (1980); 2A Sutherland, Statutory Construction (4th Ed. Sands 1984) § 45.05. Where the language of the statute is clear and unambiguous, we have refused to speculate as to the legislative intention, because it is assumed that the words express the intention of the legislature. Hayes v. Smith, 194 Conn. 52, 58, 480 A.2d 425 (1984); Delevieleuse v. Manson, 184 Conn. 434,
Both §§ 18-97 and 18-98 provide presentence jail credit to arrestees detained under different, yet precisely defined, circumstances. We have, therefore, refused on many occasions to delve into the actual intent of the legislature with respect to these statutes, holding that each statute was plain and unambiguous on its face. Johnson v. Manson, supra, 314; Delevieleuse v. Manson, supra, 438; Houston v. Warden, supra, 251; Holmquist v. Manson, 168 Conn. 389, 392, 362 A.2d 971 (1975); Mancinone v. Warden, 162 Conn. 430, 439, 294 A.2d 564 (1972). While we have determined that each statute, when read separately, is clear and unambiguous, we have not resolved the issue, now raised, of whether they were intended to apply cumulatively to an arrestee who qualifies for credit under each statute, as the habeas court held. Because the statutes are silent upon the subject of alternative or cumulative application, they are ambiguous with respect to this issue and we are compelled to look beyond their words to determine the intent of the legislature. State v. Kozlowski, supra, 674; Tramontano v. Dilieto, 192 Conn. 426, 433-34, 472 A.2d 768 (1984).
While it is the province of the courts and not the administrative agency to expound and apply the governing principles of law; Connecticut Hospital Assn. v. Commission on Hospitals & Health Care, 200 Conn. 133, 144, 509 A.2d 1050 (1986); Wilson v. FOIC, 181 Conn. 324, 342-43, 435 A.2d 353 (1980); this court has accorded considerable deference to the construction given a statute by the administrative agency charged with its enforcement, particularly when the agency has consistently followed its construction over a long period of time. Griffin Hospital v. Commission on Hospitals & Health Care, 200 Conn. 489, 496, 512 A.2d 199 (1986); Corey v. Avco-Lycoming Division, 163 Conn. 309, 326, 307 A.2d 155 (1972) (Loiselle, J., concurring) cert. denied, 409 U.S. 1116, 93 S.Ct. 903, 34 L. Ed. 2d 699 (1973); Burwell v. Board of Selectmen, 178 Conn. 509, 518, 423 A.2d 156 (1979). The habeas court, in its
This court has traditionally eschewed construction of statutory language that leads to absurd results or thwarts its manifest purpose. State v. Rodgers, 198 Conn. 53, 61, 502 A.2d 360 (1985); State v. Parmalee, 197 Conn. 158, 165, 496 A.2d 186 (1985); Frazier v. Manson, 176 Conn. 638, 643-44, 410 A.2d 475 (1979); Milano v. Warden, 166 Conn. 178, 187, 348 A.2d 590 (1974); see Llewellyn, "Remarks on the Theory of Appellate Decision and the Rules or Canons About How Statutes Are to be Construed," 3 Vand. L. Rev. 395, 401 (1950). The law clearly favors a rational statutory construction and we must presume that the legislature intended a sensible result. Peck v. Jacquemin, 196 Conn. 53, 64, 491 A.2d 1043 (1985). The construction of §§ 18-97 and 18-98—offered by the petitioners and adopted by the habeas court would reward a prisoner, fortunate enough to fall within the guidelines of both statutes, with double presentence credit upon his sentence. It would be bizarre to credit a pretrial detainee, unable to make bail, for presentence time in jail at twice the rate allowed for time served after sentencing. It is more reasonable to conclude that the legislature enacted §§ 18-97 and 18-98 as alternative mechanisms in order to ensure that all those detained in jail prior
We further note that under General Statutes §§ 54-64a
Additionally, in Holmquist v. Manson, supra, 393-94, we recognized that "the purpose of the `jail-time' statutes is to give recognition to the period of presentence time served and to permit the prisoner, in effect, to commence serving his sentence from the time he was compelled to remain in custody due to a mittimus (§ 18-97) or because of the court's refusal to allow bail or the defendant's inability to raise bail (§ 18-98)."
Consequently, in light of the inveterate practice of the department of correction in calculating jail time credit and because the offered construction of the statutes leads to what we view as a bizarre result, we conclude that §§ 18-97 and 18-98 cannot be applied cumulatively to the same sentence.
There is error, the judgments are set aside and the cases are remanded with direction to render judgments denying the petitions for habeas corpus.
In this opinion the other justices concurred.