United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
GENE C. SUTTON, Petitioner,
V. MOSER, WARDEN, FCI LORETTO, Respondent.
PATRICIA L. DODGE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
before the Court is a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus
(ECF No. 3) filed by federal prisoner Gene C. Sutton
("Petitioner") under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 in which
he challenges the manner in which the Federal Bureau of
Prison ("BOP") is carrying out his sentence. For
the reasons set forth below, the Court will dismiss the
November 17, 2009, Petitioner was sentenced by the United
States District Court for the Central District of Illinois to
180 months of imprisonment, plus an additional five years of
supervised release. At the present time, he is serving that
sentence at FCI Loretto, which is located within the
territorial boundaries of this Court.
Good Conduct Time
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). Section 3624(b) of Title 18
governs the calculation of Good Conduct Time
("GCT") credits for federal inmates. On December
28, 2018, Congress passed the First Step Act of 2018
("First Step Act" or the "Act"), Pub. L.
No. 115-391, 132 Stat. 5194. Among other things, § 102
of the First Step Act amended 18 U.S.C. § 3624(b). As
Respondent explains, the practical effect of the amendment is
that inmates will receive an additional seven days of GCT per
year spent in prison when compared to what they would have
received under the pre-First Step Act statute. (ECF No. 19 at
5-6). The BOP did not immediately recalculate inmates'
GCT because after the passage of the First Step Act because,
at § 102(b)(2), the Act states:
EFEECTIVE DATE.-The amendments made by this subsection shall
take effect beginning on the date that the Attorney General
completes and releases the risk and needs assessment system
under subchapter D of Chapter 229 of title 18 United States
Code, as added by section 101(a) of this Act.
101(a) of First Step Act provides that the "risk and
needs assessment system" be enacted "[n]ot later
than 210 days after" the law's enactment,
i.e., by July 19, 2019.
pre-First Step Act law, the BOP calculated Petitioner's
projected release date to be April 24, 2020, assuming that he
received all the GCT available to him (which, at that time,
was a total of 598 days of GCT). (ECF No. 19 at 2-3). When
Petitioner filed his habeas petition with this Court, the BOP
had not yet recalculated his GCT and projected released date
under the First Step Act because the Attorney General's
risk and needs assessment had not been issued. (Id.
at 6, 10-12). Petitioner claimed that the BOP violated his
right to due process by failing to give immediate effect to
the First Step Act's amendment to § 3624(b). In the
brief he filed contemporaneously with the habeas petition, he
explained that he was seeking an order from the Court
directing the BOP to immediately recalculate his GTC under
the First Step Act. (ECF No. 4 at 10-11).
Prerelease Transfer to a Residential Reentry Center or Home
3624(c) of Title 18, as amended by the Second Chance Act of
2007, Pub. L. No. 110-199, 122 Stat. 657 (April 9, 2008),
governs the amount of time the BOP can, in its discretion,
"prerelease" inmates to a Residential Reentry
Center ("RRC") or home confinement as they approach
the end of their sentences. It provides that the BOP
"shall, to the extent practicable, ensure that a
prisoner serving a term of imprisonment spends a portion of
the final months of that term (not to exceed 12 months),
under conditions that will afford that prisoner a reasonable
opportunity to adjust to and prepare for the reentry of that
prisoner into the community. Such conditions may include a
community correctional facility." 18 U.S.C. §
3624(c)(1). It also provides that the BOP's
"authority under this subsection may be used to place a
prisoner in home confinement for the shorter of 10 percent of
the term of imprisonment of that prisoner or 6 months."
Id., § 3624(c)(2). The BOP must consider
prerelease placement on an individual basis and in a manner
consistent with 18 U.S.C. § 3621(b) (which outlines five
factors for the BOP to weigh in determining where to place an
inmate). See id., § 3624(c)(6); 28
C.F.R. § 570.22.
October 15, 2018, Petitioner met with his Unit Team to
discuss a plan for his prerelease. (Resp's Ex. 1d, ECF
No. 19-5 at 2-5). On January 7, 2019, FCI Loretto recommended
that Petitioner be prereleased to an RRC for 151-180 days.
(Resp's Ex. 1e, ECF No. 19-6 at 2-3). The BOP approved
its recommendation. When Petitioner filed his habeas petition
with this Court, he was scheduled to be transferred to an RRC
on October 29, 2019. (Resp's Ex. 1f, ECF No. 19-7 at 2).
Petitioner claimed that FCI Loretto staff did not properly
consider § 3621(b)'s factors during his prerelease
placement evaluation. (ECF No. 3 at 4; ECF No. 4 at 5). He
also alleged that a case manager impermissibly considered his
race as a factor. (ECF No. 4 at 5-6). As relief, he sought an
order from this Court directing the BOP to reconsider him for
the maximum allowable RRC time and instructing it that it may
not consider his race and must "show [him] how the five
factors pursuant to [§]3621(b) determined his
eligibility for up to 180 days." (Id. at
Subsequent Relevant Events
7, 2019, which was before Respondent filed the Answer,
Petitioner filed a combined Supplemental Brief and an
Emergency Motion for Immediate Release to Home Confinement.
(ECF No. 16). He contended that now the Court should direct
the BOP to prerelease him to home confinement, in accordance
with its authority under § 3624(c)(2), ...