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Walter Santiago v. David J. Ebbert

June 21, 2012

WALTER SANTIAGO,
PETITIONER,
v.
DAVID J. EBBERT, RESPONDENT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chief Judge Kane

MEMORANDUM

Before the Court is a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 filed by Walter Santiago ("Santiago"), an inmate currently incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary at Canaan, Pennsylvania. Santiago is challenging the Federal Bureau of Prisons' ("BOP") calculation of his federal sentence. Specifically, he claims that the BOP failed to give him credit for time spent in a state facility before he was transferred to BOP custody. The petition was served, and a response thereto has been filed. Santiago has filed a traverse. The petition is now ripe for disposition and, for the reasons that follow, will be denied.

I. Background

On February 7, 2008, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania authorities arrested Santiago for Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance and Possession with Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance. On February 20, 2008, the state charges were withdrawn, however, Santiago remained in jail pending a probation violation arising out of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, in Docket No. CP-38-00000823-CR-002. (Doc. No. 12, Ex. 1, Flagg Decl. ¶¶ 1-3.) Santiago was also charged by Federal authorities in a three-count indictment in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. (Doc. No. 1, Ex. A, Indictment, United States v. Santiago, No. 1:08-CR-66 (M.D. Pa. Feb. 13, 2008)).

On February 26, 2008, the federal government filed a motion for detention due to the severity of the charges. (Id., Ex. B.) Santiago was transferred to the custody of the United States Marshals Service ("USMS") to appear in federal court pursuant to a Writ of Habeas Corpus Ad Prosequendum. Santiago was returned to the primary custody of Dauphin County authorities on the same date. (Doc. No. 12-1, Attach. A, USMS Prisoner Tracking System at 1-2.)

On March 4, 2008, Santiago was again transferred to the custody of the USMS to appear in federal court pursuant to a Writ of Habeas Corpus Ad Prosequendum, where he entered a not guilty plea to the federal charges. The Federal court ordered his detention pending trial. He was returned to the primary custody of the Dauphin County authorities on the same date. (Id. at 2.) On March 12, 2008, Dauphin County turned Santiago over to the custody of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, based on the warrant for the probation violation in Docket No. CP-38-00000823-CR-002. (Doc. No. 12, Exh. 1, Flagg Decl ¶ 6; Attach. B, Designation and Sentence Computation Center notes dated May 17, 2010; Attach C, Lebanon County Criminal Docket.) Santiago's state probation was revoked on July 2, 2008, and a state term of imprisonment of two months to two years less one day was imposed. (Id.)

On July 24, 2008, Santiago was transferred to the custody of the USMS to appear in federal court pursuant to a Writ of Habeas Corpus Ad Prosequendum. He was returned to the primary custody of Lebanon County on the same date to complete the service of his probation violation sentence. (Doc. No. 12-1, Attach. A at 2.) On April 14, 2009, Santiago was transferred to the custody of the USMS to again appear in federal court on a Writ of Habeas Corpus Ad Prosequendum. (Id.)

On April 16, 2009, Santiago was sentenced in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania to a 108-month term of imprisonment on the federal charges of Conspiracy to Distribute and Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine Hydrochloride and Cocaine Base, violations of 21 U.S.C. § 846, and Criminal Forfeiture in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 853(p). (Doc. No. 12, Ex. 1 at ¶ 10; Attach. D, Judgment.) The judgment is silent concerning whether the federal sentence should run consecutive to or concurrent with Santiago's state sentence. (Id.) On the same date, Santiago was returned to the custody of authorities in Lebanon County. (Doc. No. 12-1, Attach. D at 1-2; Attach. A at 2.)

As set forth above, federal authorities borrowed Santiago from Dauphin County officials pursuant to Writs of Habeas Corpus Ad Prosequendum on February 26, 2008, and March 4, 2008, for federal court appearances. On each occasion, Santiago was returned to Dauphin County the same date. At the March 4, 2008 appearance, Santiago had entered a plea of not guilty to the federal drug charges. Dauphin County authorities turned Santiago over to Lebanon County officials on March 12, 2008, because a warrant was issued for a probation violation in that county. (Doc. No. 12, Ex. A ¶ 6.)

On July 24, 2008, federal officials borrowed Santiago from Lebanon County officials pursuant to a Writ of Habeas Corpus Ad Prosequendum for a federal court appearance when he changed his plea on the federal charges to guilty. (Id., ¶ 8.) Federal officials again borrowed Santiago from Lebanon County officials pursuant to a Writ of Habeas Corpus Ad Prosequendum on April 14, 2009 in relation to his appearance in federal court on April 16, 2009 for sentencing on the federal charges. Following the sentencing, he was returned to Lebanon County to serve the remainder of his probation violation sentence.

On June 24, 2009, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections discharged Santiago, and released him to the custody of the USMS to begin serving his federal sentence. (Doc. No. 12, Ex. 1, Attachs. C, E.) The Pennsylvania DOC awarded Santiago presentence credit for the period of time from March 12, 2008 (the date he was transferred to Lebanon County for his probation violation), through July 1, 2008 (the date prior to his state probation revocation and sentence), and commenced his state sentence on July 2, 2008. (Id., Ex. 1 ¶ 11; Attach. B.)

A sentence computation was completed by the BOP for Santiago taking into account the time he spent in state custody serving his probation violation sentence, as well as the commencement of his federal sentence on June 25, 2009 (the date he was released to federal custody following discharge from his state sentence). (Id., Ex. 1 ¶ 13; Attach. F, Inmate Data.) The sentence computation reveals prior custody credit for Santiago's federal sentence from February 7, 2008 (the date he was taken into custody by Dauphin County officials) through March 11, 2008 (the day prior to when Dauphin County released him to Lebanon County) because the state did not award Santiago sentence credit toward his state probation violation sentence for that period. (Id.) In light of the foregoing, his projected release date from his federal sentence is March 24, 2017. (Id.)

He files the instant habeas petition seeking credit toward his federal sentence from February 7, 2008 through June 24, 2009, the time he spent in the Dauphin County and Lebanon County Prisons. There is no dispute that Santiago has exhausted his administrative ...


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