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United States v. Smith

May 10, 2007

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
ROY E. SMITH, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Conti, District Judge

ORDER

On February 15, 2007, Roy E. Smith ("petitioner") filed a pro se motion entitled "Petition to District Court for Lateral Departure to Home Confinement at Six Month Release Date Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3624(c)" (the "petition") (Doc. No. 16). On March 16, 2007, the government filed its response opposing the petition. (Doc. No. 17). For the reasons set forth herein, the petition will be denied.

Background

On March 6, 2006, the government filed a one-count Information charging petitioner with bank fraud in violation of Title 18, United States Code, section 1344. (Doc. No. 1). On April 3, 2006, petitioner entered a plea of guilty to the Information. (Doc. No. 5). On August 11, 2006, petitioner was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of fifteen (15) months, to be followed by a period of supervised release of five (5) years. (Doc. No. 14). Petitioner was also ordered to pay a special assessment in the amount of $100.00 and restitution in the amount of $290,952.40. Id. No fine was imposed. Id.

According to the government, petitioner commenced service of his sentence on December 7, 2006. See (Doc. No. 17). On February 15, 2007, petitioner filed the instant petition. (Doc. No. 16). On March 16, 2007, the government responded to the petition. (Doc. No. 17).

Discussion

Petitioner relies on Title 18, United States Code, section 3624(c) and Woodall v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, 432 F.3d 235 (3d Cir. 2005), in support of his prayer that this court order that he be released to home confinement during the final six months of his term of imprisonment. The government argues that neither section 3624 nor Woodall provides legal authority for the court to order that petitioner be released to home confinement during the final six months of his term of imprisonment.

A. Statutory Authority

1. 18 U.S.C. § 3624(c)

Title 18, United States Code, section 3624 addresses release of a federal prisoner from custody. See 18 U.S.C. § 3624 ("Release of a Prisoner"). Subsection (c) of section 3624 ("Pre-release custody") provides:

The Bureau of Prisons shall, to the extent practicable, assure that a prisoner serving a term of imprisonment spends a reasonable part, not to exceed six months, of the last 10 per centum of the term to be served under conditions that will afford the prisoner a reasonable opportunity to adjust to and prepare for the prisoner's re-entry into the community. The authority provided by this subsection may be used to place a prisoner in home confinement. The United States Probation System shall, to the extent practicable, offer assistance to a prisoner during such pre-release custody.

Id. This subsection gives the Bureau of Prisons (the "BOP"), and not the sentencing court, authority to place a prisoner in home confinement as one way to assure, to the extent practicable, that the prisoner spends "a reasonable part, not to exceed six months, of the last 10 per centum of the term to be served" under conditions that will afford the prisoner an opportunity to adjust and prepare for re-entry into the community. 18 U.S.C. § 3624(c). The plain meaning of the statute, however, does not give the sentencing court the authority to order, as petitioner requests, that a prisoner spend a certain amount of time in home confinement.*fn1 The court, therefore, lacks the authority to order the relief that petitioner requests pursuant to section 3624(c).

2. 18 U.S.C. § 3582(b) and (c)

In addition, although not raised by the parties, Title 18, United States Code, section 3582(b) ("Effect of ...


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