Nathan Shelly was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment on a manslaughter conviction in 2009. He was placed in the custody of the Alabama Department of Corrections (“the Department”). Prior to March 9, 2012, Shelly was classified as a “Class I Prisoner” and earned a deduction of 75 days for every 30 days he served. In March 2012, the Department determined based on an opinion of the Alabama Attorney General, that inmates convicted of manslaughter could be considered only “Class II Prisoners” and thus could earn good time at a rate of no more than 40 days for every 30 days served. Shelly’s rate of earning good time was changed and his good-time balance dropped. Shelly filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus.
Shelly appealed. Reversed. Ala. Code 1975, § 14-9-41 (“the Act”), sets forth the standards for good time credit. It states that “No person may be placed in Class I if he or she has been convicted of an assault where the victims of the assault suffered the permanent loss or use or permanent partial loss or use of any bodily organ or appendage.” In a 1997 opinion, the Office of the Attorney General opined that any person convicted of manslaughter has committed an assault resulting in the permanent loss or use of the victim’s bodily organs or appendages.