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Jones v. Meeks

United States District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania

March 4, 2015

ANTHONY B. JONES, Petitioner,
v.
BOBBY L. MEEKS, Respondent.

OPINION AND ORDER [1]

SUSAN PARADISE BAXTER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

Presently before the Court is a petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed by the petitioner, federal prisoner Anthony B. Jones, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. He contends that the Bureau of Prisons (the "Bureau" or the "BOP"), which is the agency responsible for implementing and applying federal law concerning the computation of federal sentences, see, e.g., United States v. Wilson, 503 U.S. 329 (1992), erred in computing his sentence. For the reasons set forth below, the petition is denied.

I.

A. Relevant Background

On January 23, 2004, Jones was sentenced in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to a 184-month term of imprisonment for Armed Bank Robbery and Brandishing a Firearm During a Crime of Violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2113(d) and 924(c).

Jones committed the crime underlying his conviction on August 29, 2002. On that date, he robbed a bank while carrying and brandishing a semi-automatic handgun. He escaped with over $10, 000.00 in United States currency. Jones remained a fugitive until October 9, 2002, when police in Easton, Pennsylvania learned that he was in the area. When the police located him, Jones attempted to run down a police officer with a van he was driving. On that same date, the Easton Police eventually apprehended him at a home in Easton and arrested him. [ECF No. 12-7 at 3-4, Declaration of Marcus Boudreaux, at ¶ 5(a)-(d)].

As a result of the above-described incident, Jones was charged in the Northampton County Court of Common Pleas at Docket No. 3796 of 2002 with Aggravated Assault (four counts); Criminal Attempt to Commit Criminal Homicide; Person Not to Possess, Use, Manufacture, Control, Sell or Transfer Firearms (four counts); Resisting Arrest; Recklessly Endangering Another Person; Criminal Trespass; and Possession of a Firearm With an Altered Manufacture Number. [ECF No. 12-7 at 5, Boudreaux Decl. at ¶ 5(e)(v), ¶ 6(d)]. This criminal case will be referred to herein as State Criminal Case #1.

Because State/local authorities arrested Jones first, he was in the "primary custody" (sometimes referred to as "primary jurisdiction") of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. [ECF No. 12-7 at 7, 13 Boudreaux Decl. at ¶ 6(d), ¶ 11]. 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 who has violated each sovereign's laws. Ponzi v. Fessenden, 258 U.S. 254 (1922). See, e.g., Bowman v. Wilson, 672 F.2d 1145, 1153-54 (3d Cir. 1982); George v. Longley, 463 F.App'x 136, 138 n.4 (3d Cir. 2012) (per curiam); Elwell v. Fisher, 716 F.3d 477 (8th Cir. 2013). 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 its sentence expires and it releases the inmate, or until it relinquishes its priority through some other act, such as granting bail, dismissing the charges, or releasing the individual on parole. George, 463 F.App'x at 138 n.4.

On October 10, 2002, while Jones was in a Northampton County prison, a bench warrant issued by the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County in Criminal Case No. 676 of 2002 was executed in connection with State/local charges of False Reports to Law Enforcement Authorities; Drivers Required to Be Licensed; Driving While Operating Privilege Suspended/Revoked; and Careless Driving. That criminal case will be referred to herein as State Criminal Case #2. On that same date, non-federal authorities in Lehigh County lodged two bench warrants as detainers against Jones with Northampton County authorities. One of the warrants was issued in connection with a December 1999 State/local criminal charge of Former Convict Not to Own a Firearm in the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County in Criminal Case No. 987 of 2001. This criminal case will be referred to herein as State Criminal Case #3. The other warrant was issued in connection with an October 2000 State/local criminal charge of Fleeing or Attempting to Elude an Officer in the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County in Criminal Case No. 928 of 2001. This criminal case will be referred to herein as State Criminal Case #4. [ECF No. 12-7 at 7, Boudreaux Decl. at ¶ 6(e)-(g)].

On October 11, 2002, federal charges were filed against Jones in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in relation to the August 29, 2002, bank robbery. That same day, a federal detainer was lodged against Jones with the Northampton County Department of Corrections. [ECF No. 12-7 at 7, Boudreaux Decl. at ¶ 6(h)].

On October 15, 2002, after a preliminary hearing, the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County set bail at $1, 000, 000.00 in State Criminal Case #1. Jones remained detained due to his inability to post bail. [ECF No. 12-7 at 7-8, Boudreaux Decl. at ¶ 6(i)].

On October 24, 2002, Jones was arrested by federal authorities in the Northampton County Jail facility pursuant to federal criminal charges. A U.S. Magistrate Judge issued a writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum so that he could appear in federal court for an initial hearing. The U.S. Marshals Service took temporary custody of him pursuant to that writ on October 24, 2002, the same day it arrested him. [ECF No. 12-7 at 7-8, Boudreaux Decl. at ¶ 6(h)-(j)].

Although Jones was temporarily transferred to the physical custody of federal authorities pursuant to the writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania maintained primary custody over him. That is because a prisoner detained pursuant to a writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum remains in the primary custody of the sending sovereign unless and until it relinquishes jurisdiction over him. See, e.g., Ruggiano v. Reish, 307 F.3d 121, 125 n.1 (3d Cir. 2002), superseded on other grounds by U.S.S.G. § 5G1.3(c) app. note 3(E) (2003). See also Elwell, 716 F.3d at 482 ("When the United States obtained physical custody of Elwell based upon the writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum, the transfer of physical control over Elwell's custody from Iowa to the United States did not terminate Iowa's primary jurisdiction.") The receiving sovereign – in this case, the federal government – is considered simply to be "borrowing" the prisoner from the sending sovereign for the purposes of indicting, arraigning, trying, and/or sentencing him. Id.

By the end of October 2002, federal authorities had returned Jones to the Northampton County jail facility in satisfaction of the federal writ. [ECF No. 12-7 at 8, Boudreaux Decl. at ¶ 6(m)]. On October 25, 2002, Jones was sentenced by the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County in State Criminal Case #3 to a term of 36-120 months with credit for time served. On that same date, he was sentenced in the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County in State Criminal Case #4 to a concurrent term of 12-24 months' imprisonment with credit for time served. [ECF No. 12-7 at 8, Boudreaux Decl. at ¶ 6(k)-(1)].

On November 21, 2002, a federal indictment was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Jones's federal criminal case. [ECF No. 12-7 at 7, Boudreaux Decl. at ¶ 5(a)]. He was subsequently borrowed by federal authorities on two occasions pursuant to a federal writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum, first for a federal arraignment and then for his federal criminal trial. On April 24, 2003, after a jury trial in federal court, Jones was found guilty of Armed Bank Robbery and Brandishing a Firearm During a Crime of Violence. [ECF No. 12-7 at 8, Boudreaux Decl. at ¶ 6(q)].

On November 20, 2003, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania reversed and remanded Jones's conviction in State Criminal Case #3. On December 2, 2003, the criminal charge in that case was nolle prossed. [ECF No. 12-7 at 8-9, Boudreaux Decl. at ¶ 6(r)-(t)].

On January 23, 2004, Jones was sentenced in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to a 184-month term of imprisonment. The court was silent as to the relationship of the federal sentence with any other sentence to which Jones was or would be subject. On February 9, 2004, Jones was returned to state authorities in satisfaction of the most recent ...


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