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Fuentes v. Miner

April 18, 2007

CESAR FUENTES, PETITIONER
v.
WARDEN JONATHAN MINER, RESPONDENT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Conaboy

MEMORANDUM

Background

This pro se habeas corpus petition was initiated by Cesar Fuentes, an inmate presently confined at the Allenwood Low Security Correctional Institution, White Deer, Pennsylvania ("LSCIAllenwood"). This Court previously substituted LSCI-Allenwood Warden Jonathan Miner for the United States of America as the sole Respondent in this matter.

According to the petition, Fuentes pled guilty to two (2)charges of mail fraud on October 29, 2002, in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.*fn1 While released on bail pending sentencing, Petitioner was arrested by local police in Trenton, New Jersey on March 8, 2003 and charged with making terroristic threats. He was taken into state custody "in default of bail pending trial on the 'State Offense.'" Doc. 1, p. 2. Three (3) days later, Fuentes' federal bail was revoked and a "federal detainer was lodged at petitioner's place of state pre-trial confinement preventing his release on state bail." Id. at p. 3.

Petitioner was sentenced to concurrent terms of thirty-six (36) months imprisonment with respect to his federal conviction on July 7, 2003. There was no specification by the District of New Jersey that the federal sentence should run concurrently with any state sentence. Following imposition of his federal sentence, Fuentes was returned to state custody and a federal detainer was lodged with New Jersey state correctional officials.

On October 29, 2004, Petitioner entered a guilty plea in state court. Fuentes was sentenced in New Jersey state court on December 3, 2004 to "a five (5) year term with a stipulation of eighteen (18) months incarceration to run concurrently with the Federal Conviction." Id.

Petitioner completed service of his state sentence and was released to federal officials on March 21, 2005. He is presently projected for release from federal custody on October 28, 2007 via good conduct time release.

Fuentes claims entitlement to federal habeas corpus relief on the grounds that his federal sentence has been improperly calculated. Specifically, Petitioner asserts that officials of the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") erred by not designating the New Jersey state prison as a place of federal confinement. As a result of the federal authorities' purported failure to recognize that his state sentence was ordered to run concurrently with his previously imposed federal sentence, Fuentes contends that his federal sentence has expired and he is entitled to immediate release.

Discussion

Respondent asserts that in accordance with 18 U.S.C. § 3585(a) Petitioner began service of his federal sentence on March 21, 2005 and is scheduled for release on October 28, 2007. The Respondent argues that Fuentes was not awarded credit for any time spent in New Jersey state custody, since that entire period of incarceration was credited towards service of his state sentence.

According to the Respondent, Fuentes was considered for nunc pro tunc designation of service of his federal sentence while in state custody. However, said request was properly denied because the District of New Jersey did not indicate that the federal sentence should be served concurrently.

Title 28, United States Code § 2241, vests the federal district courts with jurisdiction to grant a writ of habeas corpus to persons in custody in violation of the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States. 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3).

A federal sentence commences when the defendant is received by the Attorney General of the United States for service of his federal sentence. Chambers v. Holland, 920 F. Supp. 618, 621 (M.D. Pa.), aff'd, 100 F.3d 946 (3d Cir. 1996); United States v. Pungitore, 910 F.2d 1084, 1118-19 (3d Cir. 1990). 18 U.S.C. § 3585 provides in relevant part:

(a) Commencement of sentence. -- A sentence to a term of imprisonment commences on the date the defendant is received in custody awaiting transportation to, or arrives voluntarily to commence service of sentence at, the ...


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