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United States v. Matthews

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA


October 29, 2010

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
DANIEL KEITH MATTHEWS, DEFENDANT.

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

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Pending before the court is the motion to be transferred or redesignated to Federal Correctional Institute ("FCI") Morgantown ("Motion") (ECF No. 930), filed by defendant Daniel Keith Matthews ("defendant" or "Matthews") on June 21, 2010. In the Motion, Matthews requests the court to order or direct the United States Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") to comply or honor the district court's judicial recommendations made in defendant's Judgment at Criminal Number 03-72, filed on January 22, 2007. (ECF No. 878.) On June 30, 2010, the government filed a response in opposition to the Motion. (ECF No. 931.) Because the court lacks jurisdiction to provide the relief requested, defendant's Motion will be denied.

I. Background

On January 17, 2007, defendant was sentenced to a term of imprisonment for 120 months at each of counts one and sixteen*fn1 of the superseding indictment at Criminal Number 03-72 to be served concurrently for a total of 120 months.*fn2 At the end of the sentencing hearing, defendant was committed to the custody of the BOP, at which time the court made recommendations to the BOP, including, among others, that: 1) defendant be placed as close to his family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as possible; 2) defendant, if he volunteers, be placed in the 500-hour residential intensive drug treatment program and other substance abuse programs; and 3) defendant be able to participate in any educational or vocational training and participate in any work program to continue using his current skills, including construction.

Defendant avers that he was transferred from FCI Elkton to Federal Satellite low Elkton in October 2009. Defendant maintains that, due to the transfer he is unable to comply with any of the judicial recommendations at Federal Satellite low Elkton because there is no Residential Drug Abuse Program*fn3 or vocational training in the construction trade.*fn4 Defendant contends that his transfer to FCI Morgantown would satisfy all the judicial recommendations.

II. Standard of Review

[A] district court has no power to dictate or impose any place of confinement for the imprisonment portion of the sentence. Rather, the power to determine the location of imprisonment rests with the Bureau of Prisons.

United States v. Serafini, 233 F.3d 758, 778 n.23 (3d Cir. 2000) (citing 18 U.S.C. § 3621(b) ("The Bureau of Prisons shall designate the place of the prisoner's imprisonment."). The law is well settled that the "Attorney General, through the BOP has responsibility for imprisoning federal offenders." United States v. Wilson, 503 U.S. 329, 331 (1992) (citing 18 U.S.C. § 3621(a)). The implementation of a defendant's sentence is an administrative matter that rests with the BOP.

After a district court sentences a federal offender, the Attorney General, through the BOP, has the responsibility for administering the sentence. See 18. U.S.C. Section 3621(a) ("A person who has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment . . . shall be committed to the custody of the Bureau of Prisons until the expiration of the term imposed").

Wilson, 503 U.S. at 335.

III. Discussion

Defendant misunderstands the court's power in making recommendations to the BOP with respect to the implementation of his sentence. Pursuant to the plain language set forth in defendant's Judgment, the court's role in the implementation of defendant's sentence is limited to making recommendations to the BOP. Defendant's request to be transferred or redesignated to Morgantown FCI as his place of federal confinement is left to the sound discretion of the BOP.

Any challenge to the manner in which defendant's sentence is being implemented by the BOP, e.g., the setting of his release date, the conditions in the prison, the authority of the warden to detain him, is properly filed as a motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, and is brought in the district where the prisoner is confined. See Moncrieffe v. Yost, 367 F. App'x 286, 288, (3d Cir. 2010) (a federal prisoner's challenge to the BOP's decision regarding placement . . . is a challenge to the execution of a sentence cognizable under § 2241) (citing Woodall v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons,432 F.3d 235, 243-44 (3d Cir. 2005)); see also United States v. Kennedy, 851 F.2d 689, 690 (3d Cir. 1988) ("A challenge to the Parole Commission's execution of a sentence is properly raised in a habeas corpus petition under 28 U.S.C.A. § 2241.") (citing United States v. Ferri, 686 F.2d 147, 158 (3d Cir. 1985); United States v. Jack, 774 F.2d 605, 607 n.1 (3d Cir. 1985)). In addition, with respect to § 2241 claims, the petitioner must exhaust his or her administrative remedies. Moncrieffe, 367 F. App'x at 288 n.1 (3d Cir. 2010); Barden v. Keohane, 921 F.2d 476, 479 (3d Cir. 1991).

Defendant's request for the court to transfer or redesignate him to FCI Morgantown is not appropriate under 18 U.S.C. § 3582.*fn5

Under these circumstances, there is no basis upon which the court can grant defendant's Motion or otherwise modify defendant's sentence. Accordingly, defendant's motion must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction and the Motion shall be denied.

ORDER

AND NOW, this 29th day of October, 2010, upon consideration of the Motion to Get Transferred or Redesignated to FCI Morgantown (ECF No. 930), and the government's response (ECF No. 931), it is hereby ordered that the Motion is denied.

Joy Flowers Conti United States District Court Judge


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