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Rashid v. Quintana

October 8, 2009


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Magistrate Judge Baxter


I. Introduction

Petitioner Jihad Rashid, a/k/a Richard Ordell Johnson, is a federal prisoner who is currently incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution, McKean ("FCI McKean"), located in Bradford, Pennsylvania. He is serving a 139-month term of imprisonment imposed on October 23, 2000, by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Petitioner's full term will expire on May 22, 2012, and his projected release date is November 24, 2010, assuming he receives all good conduct time available. He has filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 [Docket No. 4] in which he disputes the Bureau of Prisons' (the "BOP's") computation of his federal sentence. For the reasons set forth below, the Petition is denied.

A. Background*fn2

In May 1999, local police from the area around Detroit, Michigan, in conjunction with the multi-jurisdictional Violent Crimes Task Force and the FBI, identified Petitioner as a suspect in several armed robberies. When on May 25, 1999, the Great Lakes National Bank was robbed, Petitioner became a suspect in that crime as well. That night, at around 11:55 p.m., officers of the Detroit Police Department observed Petitioner leaving a hotel. He was arrested and taken into state custody. The state charged him with three robberies occurring on May 11, 23, and 24, 1999. (See ¶¶ 5-6 of Declaration of Cheryl A. Pauley ("Pauley Decl."), Ex. 1 to Response [Docket No. 11]; see also ¶¶ 5-6 of Declaration of James E. Hazelton ("Hazelton Decl."), and ¶ 4 of the Second Declaration of Vanessa Herbin-Smith ("Second Herbin-Smith Decl."), attached as Exs. 1 and 2, respectively, to the Surreply [Docket No. 16]; see also Preliminary Complaint Record, Ex. A to Petition).

The federal government prosecuted Petitioner for the May 25, 1999, bank robbery. Less than a month after that robbery, on June 22, 1999, a criminal complaint was filed against him in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, charging him with one count of Bank Robbery with Force and Violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a). (Pauley Decl. ¶ 5.1). On that same date, a warrant for Petitioner's arrest was lodged on that court's docket sheet. (See Second Herbin-Smith Decl. ¶ 6).

With the May 25, 1999 arrest, the State of Michigan obtained primary custody of Petitioner. The primary custody doctrine developed to provide different sovereigns (in this case the state and the federal governments) with an orderly method by which to prosecute and incarcerate an individual that has violated each sovereign's laws. See Ponzi v. Fessenden, 258 U.S. 254 (1922). See, e.g., Bowman v. Wilson, 672 F.2d 1145, 1153-54 (3d Cir. 1982); Chambers v. Holland, 920 F.Supp. 618, 621 (M.D. Pa.), aff'd, 100 F.3d 946 (3d Cir. 1996). In relevant part, the doctrine provides that the sovereign that first arrests an individual has primary custody over him. That sovereign's claim over the individual has priority over all other sovereigns that subsequently arrest him. The sovereign with primary custody is entitled to have the individual serve a sentence it imposes before he serves a sentence imposed by any other jurisdiction, regardless of the chronological order of sentence imposition. See, e.g., Bowman, 672 F.2d at 1153-54. Primary custody remains vested in the sovereign that first arrests the individual until it "relinquishes its priority by, e.g., bail release, dismissal of the state charges, parole release, or expiration of the sentence." Chambers, 920 F.Supp. at 622 (citations omitted).*fn3

On June 29, 1999, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum seeking temporary custody of Petitioner for processing of the federal criminal charge.*fn4 (Hazelton Decl. ¶ 5; see also ¶ 3 of First Declaration of Vanessa Herbin-Smith (hereinafter "First Herbin-Smith Decl."), Ex. 1 to the Response). On July 12, 1999, federal authorities obtained temporary custody of Petitioner pursuant to the writ. (Pauley Decl. ¶ 6(f)).

On December 21, 1999, Petitioner pleaded guilty in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to the bank robbery charge. (Id. ¶ 6(g)). On October 23, 2000, the federal district court sentenced him to a 151-month term of imprisonment with a 3-year term of supervised release to follow. The district court's sentencing order was silent as to whether the federal sentence was to run concurrent with any other sentence. (Id. ¶ 6(h)-(i); Federal Judgment and Commitment Order, Ex. 2b to Response).

On October 26, 2000, the United States Marshals Service returned Petitioner to state authorities in satisfaction of the writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum and a federal detainer was lodged against him at the Wayne County Jail. (Id. ¶6 (j)). On that same day, Petitioner appeared before the state court and entered guilty pleas on the three armed robbery criminal charges that were pending against him. (Id. ¶ 6(k)).

On November 14, 2000, the state court sentenced Petitioner to three concurrent state sentences of 5-20 years, with 538 days jail credit for the time he served in official detention prior to the imposition of his state sentences (that is, from May 25, 1999 (the date of his arrest), through November 13, 2000) (the date before his state sentences were deemed to have commenced). (Id. ¶ 6(l)). The state court directed that the state sentences were concurrent with the federal sentence imposed on October 23, 2000. (Id. ¶6(m)). It appears that the state court had assumed erroneously that the federal government had primary custody over Petitioner and that he would immediately begin serving both his state and federal sentences at a federal correctional institution. However, because Petitioner actually was in the primary custody of the state, he was transported to the Michigan State Prison. See PS 5880.28, Chapt. 1 at Pages 12-13, 31-33; see also BOP Program Statement 5160.05, Designation of State Institution for Service of Federal Sentence ("PS 5160.05") at Pages 2-12.

Petitioner contended that he should have been sent to a federal correctional institution. To remedy what he believed was an error regarding the manner in which he was serving his state and federal sentences, Petitioner filed a grievance with the Michigan Department of Corrections. According to Petitioner, a state grievance officer contacted the United States Marshals Service on his behalf and was informed that Petitioner's placement was proper and that he should be released to the federal detainer after he served his state sentences. (See Petition at 5-6; see also Michigan Dept. of Corr. Prisoner Grievance Form, Ex. D to Petition).

Next, Petitioner filed with the state court a motion to set aside his state sentences. The state court granted that motion on February 28, 2001. (Pauley Decl. ¶ 6(n); 2/28/01 Orders, Ex. 2e to Response). On March 7, 2001, the state released Petitioner to the United States Marshals Service pursuant to the federal detainer. (Id. ¶ 6(o)). The BOP designated Petitioner to a federal correctional institution in South Carolina and later designated him to FCI McKean. (Id. ¶ 6(p)).

The state court's orders do not explain why its sentences were set aside, but Petitioner claims that the orders were issued so that Petitioner could be transferred to federal custody and serve his sentences in accordance with the state court's original intent. (Petition at 6). If that is the case, the state court's orders had the desired effect, because by vacating Petitioner's sentences, the state released its primary custody thereby enabling him to be transferred to the custody of the federal government. See PS 5880.28, Chapt. 1 at Pages 12-13, 31-33; see also PS 5160.05, Pages 2-12. As set forth below, the state court would later reinstate its sentences; however, by setting those sentences aside ...

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