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Ramon De Paz-Salvador v. Ronnie Holt

August 31, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: (judge Caputo)


Presently before the Court is the Report and Recommendation of Magistrate Judge Martin C. Carlson (Doc. 15.) The Report recommends that Petitioner's motion for habeas corpus (Doc. 1) be denied. The Court has reviewed the Report and Recommendation de novo, and for the reasons explained below, the Magistrate's Report will be adopted.

I. Background

Ramon De Paz-Salvador ("Petitioner") is a Mexican national and convicted felon who is currently serving a seventy-seven (77) month federal sentence for illegal re-entry into the United States. In his Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (Doc. 1.), Petitioner argues that the Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") incorrectly computed his federal sentence by not providing him with credit for the time he spent in state custody prior to his federal sentencing, and by not allowing him credit for the time spent in immigration detention pending deportation. Currently, De Paz-Salvador has been credited a total of 348 days towards his federal sentence. (Doc. 10-1 at 8.)

On June 14, 2008, local authorities in Georgia arrested De Paz-Salvador and charged him with state offenses of aggravated assault and criminal trespass. On March 12, 2009, Petitioner was convicted of simple assault and criminal trespass and was sentenced to nine months in prison. State officials provided Petitioner with extensive credit against his sentence, and accordingly determined that he had retroactively satisfied his state sentence on October 27, 2008.

On March 16, 2009, De Paz-Salvador was released from state custody into the custody of officials for the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") for an outstanding detainer issued by the agency. While this immigration detention was initially undertaken for the sole purpose of conducting deportation proceedings, on April 3, 2009, the criminal investigation component of ICE initiated criminal charges against De Paz Salvador for illegal re-entry by a deported alien. De Paz-Salvador was charged criminally with illegal re-entry to the United States by a previously deported alien on April 23, 2009 and was taken into custody on May 4, 2009. On October 28, 2009, De Paz-Salvador was sentenced in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia to a seventy-seven (77) month term of imprisonment.

De Paz-Salvador received credit towards this term due to his detainment following the completion of his state sentence (October 28, 2008) to when he was taken into ICE custody on March 16, 2009. He was not given credit for the period between March 16, 2009 and April 3, 2009 as his status was custody pending deportation, which is not "official detention" for the purpose of prison term credit. However, De Paz-Salvador's detention status was modified to pending criminal prosecution on April 3, 2009. Accordingly, his sentence was credited for the period between initiation of criminal charges on April 3, 2009 to ultimate sentencing on October 28, 2009. He has been given a total of 348 days of credit.*fn1

This Petition has now been fully briefed by the parties (Docs. 1, 7, 10 and 14) and is ripe for resolution. For the reasons set forth below, it is recommended that the Petition be denied, since the BOPs' revised sentencing credit determination accurately calculates the sentence credit that De Paz-Salvador is entitled to receive in accordance with the law which governs such credits.

II. Discussion

A. Legal Standard for Reviewing a Report and Recommendation

Where objections to the magistrate judge's report are filed, the court must conduct a de novo review of the contested portions of the report, Sample v. Diecks, 885 F.2d 1099, 1106 n.3 (3d Cir. 1989) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(c)), provided the objections are both timely and specific, Goney v. Clark, 749 F.2d 5, 6--7 (3d Cir. 1984). In making its de novo review, the court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the factual findings or legal conclusions of the magistrate judge. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Owens v. Beard, 829 F. Supp. 736, 738 (M.D. Pa. 1993). Although the review is de novo, the statute permits the court to rely on the recommendations of the magistrate judge to the extent it deems proper. See United States v. Raddatz, 447 U.S. 667, 675--76 (1980); Goney, 749 F.2d at 7; Ball v. United States Parole Comm'n, 849 F. Supp. 328, 330 (M.D. Pa. 1994). Uncontested portions of the report may be reviewed at a standard determined by the district court. See Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 154 (1985); Goney, 749 F.2d at 7. At the very least, the court should review uncontested portions for clear error or manifest injustice. See, e.g., Cruz v. Chater, 990 F. Supp. 375, 376--77 (M.D. Pa. 1998).

Here, the Court reviews the portions of the report and recommendation which De Paz-Salvador objects to de novo. The remainder of the report and recommendation is reviewed for clear error.

B. Guidelines for Computing Criminal Sentences

"It is well settled that: 'The computation of a federal sentence requires consideration of two separate issues. Initially, we determine the commencement date of the federal sentence and then turn to the extent to which a defendant can receive credit for time spent in custody prior to commencement of sentence.'" Scott v. Holder, No. 1:11--CV--757, 2011 WL 2713429 at *2 (M.D. Pa. May 25, 2011) (quoting Binford v. United States, 436 F.3d 1252, 1254-55 (10th Cir. 2006)); Chambers v. Holland, 920 F.Supp. 618, 621 (M.D.Pa. 1996), aff'd, 100 F.3d 946 (3d Cir. 1996).

These determinations rest upon a comprehensive statutory and regulatory framework. A key component of this system involves the delegation of authority ...

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