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Rucker v. Spaulding

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

April 30, 2019

KEVIN SCOTT RUCKER, #04954-068, Petitioner,
v.
CAPTAIN S. SPAULDING, Warden, Respondent.

          MUNLEY, J.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          JOSEPH F. SAPORITO, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This proceeding was initiated by a petition for a writ of habeas corpus submitted pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, signed and dated by the pro se petitioner, Kevin Scott Rucker, on March 13, 2017. (Doc. 1.) At the time of filing, Rucker was incarcerated at FCI Allenwood Medium, which is located in Union County, Pennsylvania.

         I. Background

         On March 26, 2014, Rucker was arrested and charged by state authorities with the felony offense of fleeing police, along with several related misdemeanor and traffic offenses, in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Commonwealth v. Rucker, Docket No. CP-02-CR-0006381-2015 (Allegheny Cty. (Pa.) C.C.P.). At the time of his arrest on these state charges, Rucker was also the subject of a federal arrest warrant. Following his arrest by state authorities, federal authorities lodged a detainer based on this federal arrest warrant. While in state custody, Rucker was held as a pre-trial detainee at the Allegheny County Jail until his state sentencing.

         The federal arrest warrant for Rucker had been issued in connection with a May 2013 indictment charging him with the federal offense of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin. United States v. Rucker, No. 13-CR-157(2) (W.D. Pa.). On April 28, 2014, Rucker was temporarily borrowed from the primary custody of Pennsylvania authorities pursuant to a writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum so he could appear to answer the federal charges before the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. While in temporary federal custody, Rucker was held at the Butler County Jail. On March 23, 2015, following a guilty plea, Rucker was sentenced on the federal drug charge to serve a term of 87 months in prison. He was then returned to state custody and to Allegheny County Jail. Rucker's federal judgment of conviction was lodged as a detainer with the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

         On July 28, 2015, following a guilty plea, Rucker was sentenced on his state charges to serve a term of 1 to 2 years in prison. He was transferred into the custody of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and incarcerated at SCI Camp Hill. On September 23, 2015, pursuant to a consent motion to modify his sentence nunc pro tunc, Rucker was re-sentenced on the state charges to serve a minimum prison term of one year less one day, with a maximum prison term of two years less two days, to be served concurrently with his federal sentence. Rucker was given 546 days credit toward his state sentence for his pre-trial and pre-sentencing detention from March 27, 2014, through September 23, 2015. That same day, he was paroled into federal custody so that he could begin serving that sentence as well.

         On October 16, 2015, Rucker was received into the custody of the United States Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”). The BOP computed Rucker's 87-month sentence as commencing on October 16, 2015, the date he was received into BOP custody. The BOP gave Rucker 23 days of jail credit toward service of his federal sentence-22 days for the period beginning on September 24, 2015, [1] and ending on October 15, 2015, [2] plus an additional day for the date of his arrest, March 26, 2014, which was not credited toward his state sentence for reasons that are unclear. Rucker was not given credit for the 546-day period already credited toward service of his state sentence-March 27, 2014, through September 23, 2015.

         Rucker submitted the instant § 2241 petition challenging the computation of his federal sentence. Rucker contends that, pursuant to the language used by the state sentencing judge in his amended judgment of conviction, he should be given credit for the additional 546 days he spent in state custody so as to give effect to the state court's determination that the state and federal sentences should run concurrently. The respondent has filed an answer to the petition, and the petitioner has filed a reply. (Doc. 6; Doc. 7.)

         II. Discussion

         A federal habeas court may only extend a writ of habeas corpus to a federal inmate if he demonstrates that “[h]e is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3). The following statutes are relevant to our evaluation of the petition:

a. 18 U.S.C. § 3584(a), which governs a federal sentencing court's authority to order that a federal sentence be served concurrently with a state sentence;
b. 18 U.S.C. § 3621(b), which governs the BOP's authority to designate a state prison as a place of confinement for service of a federal sentence;
c. 18 U.S.C. § 3585(a), which governs the date upon which a federal sentence commences; and
d. 18 U.S.C ยง 3585(b), which governs the amount of prior custody credit, or pre-commencement credit, that an ...

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