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Mills v. Quintana

June 28, 2010

TIMMY MILLS, PETITIONER,
v.
FRANCISCO J. QUINTANA, WARDEN, FCI MCKEAN, RESPONDENT.



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

OPINION AND ORDER*fn1

I. Introduction

Petitioner Timmy Mills is a federal prisoner who was incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution, McKean ("FCI McKean") at the time he commenced the instant action.

He is serving a 70 month term of imprisonment imposed on November 19, 2007, by the United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia. He received 91 days of prior custody credit pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3585(b) and his full term will expire on June 19, 2013. His projected release date presently is set at September 18, 2012, assuming he receives all good conduct time available.

Petitioner has filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 [Document # 5] in which he disputes the Bureau of Prisons' (the "BOP's") computation of his sentence. Specifically, he contends that he is entitled to more sentencing credit. For the reasons set forth below, the petition is denied.

II. Background

On May 21, 2006, Petitioner was arrested by local police in Martinsburg, West Virginia, and charged with domestic battery. He remained in local custody until he was released on bond on May 26, 2006. (Ex.*fn2 2, ¶¶ 5(h), 5(j)). On October 28, 2006, local police once again arrested Petitioner, this time charging him with the state offenses of Driving with a Suspended/Revoked License, Providing False Information, and Driving Under the Influence. (Id., ¶ 5(c)). After the arrest, he remained in local custody. (Id., ¶¶ 5(c)-(g)).

On November 9, 2006, Petitioner pleaded guilty to the state criminal charges connected with the October 28, 2006, arrest. He was sentenced to one year imprisonment. (Id., ¶ 5(c); see also Ex. 2b).

On November 27, 2006, the United States Marshals Service ("USMS") lodged a detainer with the state/local jail authorities at the Eastern Regional Jail in Martinsburg. (Ex. 2c). On December 4, 2006, the United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia issued a writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum*fn3 directing the USMS and the Administrator of the Eastern Regional Jail to produce Petitioner at the federal courthouse for an initial appearance. (Ex. 1c). When Petitioner arrived there on December 7, 2006, the USMS executed a federal arrest warrant upon him. He was charged with several federal drug crimes. (Ex. 1d).

On December 12, 2006, Petitioner once again was produced in federal court via a federal writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum . (Ex. 1g; Ex. 2d). He was arraigned and, after arraignment, he was remanded to the custody of the USMS pending processing of the federal criminal charges. (Ex. 1f).

On February 7, 2007, Petitioner pleaded guilty to Distribution of 0.61 grams of Cocaine Base, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). (Ex. 2, ¶ 5(a)). On March 19, 2007, in response to his unopposed Motion to Reconsider Sentence , the state court amended his state sentence to one year with credit for time served and indicated his state sentence was "to run concurrent with his federal sentence now being served." (Ex. 2e). He completed service of his state sentence on August 25, 2007. (Ex. 2, ¶ 5(g); Ex. 2f).

Next, on November 19, 2007, Petitioner was sentenced in the District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia to a 70 month term of imprisonment, with a three year term of supervised release to follow. (Ex. 2g at 2). The federal sentencing court directed that its sentence run concurrent with Petitioner's state sentence. (Id.) As it later explained, it was unaware at the time that Petitioner already had completed service of his state sentence. The federal sentencing court also made several " recommendations to the [BOP,]" including that Petitioner be credited for time served since December 7, 2006. Id. (emphasis added).

The BOP has computed Petitioner's federal sentence as having commenced on November 19, 2007 (the date of imposition). (Ex. 2, ¶¶ 8-9; Ex. 2h). It has further determined that he is entitled to receive 91 days of prior custody credit for the time that he served prior to the commencement of his federal sentence from May 21, 2006 through May 26, 2006, and from August 26, 2007 through November 18, 2007. (Id., ¶¶ 10-13; Ex. 1a at 3; Ex. 2h at 2).

Petitioner challenges the BOP's calculation of his sentence. He argues that it is at odds with the federal sentencing court's "recommended credit for time served since December 7, 2006, the date which the federal detainer was issued." Document # 5 at 2-3. As relief, he seeks an order from this Court directing the BOP to give him additional sentencing credit. Petitioner sought this relief through the BOP's administrative remedy process and the BOP denied his request.*fn4 (Ex. 1b).

Moreover, in April 2008, after learning that the BOP would not give him additional sentencing credit, Petitioner filed a motion with his federal sentencing court and sought a reduction of his 70 month term of imprisonment.*fn5 On May 30, 2008, that court issued an Order denying the motion. It held:

[T]he Court sentenced the defendant to a 70 month term of incarceration on November 19, 2007. In doing so, the Court provided that the defendant's federal sentence shall run concurrent to his state sentence, based on defense counsel's misrepresentation that the defendant had not yet completed his state sentence. In addition, the Court recommended that the defendant be given credit for time served since December 7, 2006, the date on which the federal detainer was issued.

Upon arrival at the federal institution for service of sentence, the BOP provided the defendant with a projected release date of September 18, 2012. Believing this release date to be at odds with his Court-imposed sentence, the defendant contacted the BOP's Designation and Sentence Computation Center (DSCC) for an explanation. In response, the DSCC informed the defendant that his federal sentence could not be made to run concurrent to his state sentence, as his state sentence was already completed at the time the federal sentence was imposed. In addition, the DSCC informed the petitioner that he was only eligible to receive credit for time served since the completion of his sentence on August 25, 2007, because prior to this time the defendant was in state custody in relation to a state sentence, which was not effected by the federal detainer. As a result of his dealings with the DSCC, the defendant wrote the Court seeking to obtain credit for time served from December 7, 2006 to August 25, 2007.

In regard to the applicable law, the BOP has broad authority in implementing the sentence imposed by the Court. For instance, it is the BOP, and not the district judge, that has the authority to determine when a sentence is deemed to commence and whether the defendant should receive credit for time spent in prior custody. United States v. ...


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