PORTLAND — When he pleaded guilty to charges of eluding an officer in Kennebec County in 2012, Glen C. Harrington III thought he would be eligible to take classes at the Maine State Prison to reduce his sentence.

But he soon learned that the program is not offered to inmates until they are within 18 months of release, so he challenged the Department of Corrections.

Harrington believes he should be getting an extra “good time” credit of two days a month during his entire sentence. Without that, Harrington’s attorney calculates he will serve “72 days over that intended by the Legislature.”

After a Superior Court judge dismissed his attempt to file a post-conviction review petition to get the extra good time credit, Harrington, 30, formerly of Fairfield, appealed to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

On Wednesday, six Supreme Court justices heard Harrington’s attorney, James T. Lawley, argue that denying Harrington the credit is unconstitutional and that a post-conviction review petition is the proper method for handling it. He also said Harrington would not have pleaded guilty to eluding an officer if he had known he would not get the extra sentence reduction.

Inmates are eligible to receive seven days a month good time credit, and two extra days “following the inmate’s satisfactory completion of certain education or rehabilitation programs,” if they are within 18 months of their release date.

The state, represented at oral arguments by Assistant Attorney General Diane Sleek, maintains that Harrington should have used a different appeal process – not post-conviction review – to file his dispute over the calculation of his good time credits.

Justice Ellen Gorman noted that Harrington was not currently receiving all the good time credits for which he is eligible. Lawley acknowledged his client had problems at the prison.

Sleek said the other appeal vehicle, an 80-C, was preferable because it is more streamlined and can be handled in the jurisdiction where an inmate is serving the sentence.

Harrington is at the prison serving concurrent 48-month terms on a robbery conviction in Somerset County and the eluding an officer charge. According to the Department of Corrections website, his earliest release date is Dec. 7, 2015.

Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at:

[email protected]

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