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Heras v. Ebbert

May 11, 2009

JESUS MANUEL HERAS, PETITIONER
v.
DAVID EBBERT, RESPONDENT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Rambo

MEMORANDUM

On March 17, 2009, Petitioner Jesus Manuel Heras ("Heras") filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, challenging the Bureau of Prisons' ("BOP") calculation of his federal sentence. (Doc. 1.) Specifically, Heras is seeking credit totaling 303 days for time spent in custody prior to his sentencing in federal court. For the reasons that follow, the petition will be denied.

I. Background

On March 2, 2004, Heras was arrested by local authorities in the state of Nebraska for possession of methamphetamine. (See Doc. 7-2.) On March 5, 2004, he was released on bond. (Id.) On April 3, 2004, Heras was arrested again by local authorities in Nebraska on charges of second degree assault and use of a deadly weapon. (Id.)

Heras remained in the primary custody of Nebraska state officials until May 3, 2004, at which time he was produced from state custody pursuant to a federal writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum to answer to a charge of distribution and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, see 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1) in the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska. (Id.) The United States Marshals Service returned Heras to primary state custody that same day for detention on the assault charge. (Id.)

On May 5, 2004, Heras was sentenced in Nebraska state court to a term of imprisonment of nine (9) months for various domestic offenses. (Id.) Heras had been arrested on these charges on December 15, 2003. (Id.)

On May 7, 2004, the state of Nebraska dismissed the charge of possession of methamphetamine against Heras resulting from the March 2, 2004 arrest, in favor of federal prosecution. (Id.)

On May 21, 2004, Heras was sentenced in Nebraska state court to a term of imprisonment of thirty (30) days for possession of a concealed weapon. (Id.) He had been arrested on this charge on February 3, 2004. (Id.)

Heras remained in the primary custody of Nebraska until July 14, 2004, at which time he was produced from state custody pursuant to a federal writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum to answer again to the charge of distribution and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, see 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1) in the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska. (Id.) On December 30, 2004, the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska sentenced Heras to a term of imprisonment of sixty-three (63) months after he entered a guilt plea on that charge. (Id.) The United States Marshals Service returned Heras to primary state custody on January 10, 2005, to serve his three (3) to five (5) year term of imprisonment for second degree assault. (Id.)

On March 27, 2006, Heras was released by the Nebraska state officials via discretionary parole. (Id.) At that time, federal authorities took primary custody of Heras to serve his sixty-three (63) month federal sentence.

Heras filed the instant habeas petition on March 17, 2009. (Doc. 1.) On March 19, 2009, an order to show cause was issued, directing the Respondent to file an answer to the petition. (Doc. 4.) Respondent filed that answer on April 15, 2009. (Doc. 7.) This matter is now ripe for disposition.

II. Discussion

A petition for writ of habeas corpus under § 2241 is the proper vehicle for relief "where petitioner challenges the effect of events 'subsequent' to his sentence," Gomori v. Arnold, 533 F.2d 871, 874 (3d Cir. 1976), and where he challenges the execution of his sentence rather than its validity, see Coady v. Vaughn, 251 F.3d 480, 485 (3d Cir. 2001). Thus, Heras has properly invoked section 2241 to challenge the determination of sentencing credit by the BOP. Barden v. Keohane, 921 F.2d 476, 478--79 (3d Cir. 1990).

The Attorney General is responsible for computing federal sentences for all offenses committed after November 1, 1987, 18 U.S.C. § 3585; United States v. Wilson, 503 U.S. 329, 331--32 (1992), and the Attorney General has delegated this authority to the Director of the Bureau of Prisons, 28 C.F.R. § 0.96. Computation of a federal sentence is governed by 18 U.S.C. § 3585, and consists of the following two-step process: (1) a determination of the date on which the federal sentence commences, ...


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