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Lima v. Quay

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

May 31, 2016

JOHN LIMA, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN QUAY, Respondent.

          RULING ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS

          VICTOR A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Petitioner, John Lima, filed this petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, when he was confined at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut (“FCI Danbury”). Petitioner claims Warden Quay failed to credit his federal sentence with 194 days of time spent in custody, after his arrest on criminal charges in Massachusetts. For the reasons that follow, the petition is DENIED.

         Procedural Background

         On April 26, 2007, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Mr. Lima pleaded guilty to count two of a four count superseding indictment charging him with a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344. See Doc. No. 1, Pet. Writ Habeas Corpus at 10-11. On November 16, 2007, a judge sentenced Mr. Lima to sixty months of imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release. See Id. at 11; Doc. No. 11-3, Resp. to Pet., Attach. 3. Mr. Lima began his term of supervised release on October 1, 2011. See Doc. No. 11 at 14-16, Decl. Dawn Giddings ¶ 4; Resp. to Pet., Attach. 3.

         On June 10, 2013, state authorities in Leominster, Massachusetts, arrested Mr. Lima on the following criminal charges: receiving stolen property, uttering false checks, and use of a false name and social security number. See Pet. Writ Habeas Corpus at 11. After his arrest, Mr. Lima could not post bail. See Id. On January 10, 2014, Mr. Lima pleaded guilty to all charges and a judge imposed a sentence of seven months of imprisonment. See Doc. No. 11-4, Resp. to Pet., Attach. 4.

         On January 10, 2014, the State of Massachusetts released Mr. Lima to the custody of the United States Marshal on charges that he violated the terms of his supervised release from his federal criminal sentence. See Doc. No. 11-2, Resp. to Pet., Attach. 2. On March 18, 2014, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Mr. Lima pleaded guilty to a violation of the first condition of his term of supervised release and the judge sentenced him to thirty months of imprisonment. See Doc. No. 11-5, Resp. to Pet. Attach. 5; Pet. Writ Habeas Corpus at 11.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         “A writ of habeas corpus under § 2241 is available to a federal prisoner who does not challenge the legality of his sentence, but challenges instead its execution subsequent to conviction.” Carmona v. U.S. Bureau of Prisons, 243 F.3d 629, 632 (2d Cir. 2001). A challenge to the execution of a federal inmate’s sentence may include “such matters as the administration of parole, computation of a prisoner’s sentence by prison officials, prison disciplinary actions, prison transfers, type of detention and prison conditions.” Jiminian v. Nash, 245 F.3d 144, 146 (2d Cir. 2001) (citing Chambers v. United States, 106 F.3d 472, 474-75 (2d Cir. 1997) (describing situations where a federal prisoner would properly file a section 2241 petition)). Thus, an action challenging the Bureau of Prison’s calculation of a sentence is properly brought under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. See Chambers, 106 F.3d at 474-75.

         DISCUSSION

         Mr. Lima asserts one ground for relief: that the Bureau of Prisons wrongfully denied him credit towards his federal sentence for time spent in state custody before he began to serve his federal sentence. The Bureau of Prisons has credited Mr. Lima’s federal term of imprisonment with time served in state custody from June 20 to June 21, 2012 and from January 8, 2014 through March 17, 2014. See Decl. Dawn Giddings ¶ 13. Mr. Lima seeks credit towards his federal sentence for the time period from the date of his arrest to the date of his release from state custody, June 10, 2013 through January 10, 2014.

         A federal sentence commences when the defendant is received into custody of the Attorney General at the facility at which the sentence will be served. See 18 U.S.C. § 3585(a). Credit for time served before the beginning of a federal sentence is computed by the Attorney General. See United States v. Wilson, 503 U.S. 329, 333-334 (1992). The Second Circuit has held that “[t]he Bureau of Prisons, and not the courts, determine when a defendant’s sentence starts and whether the defendant should receive credit for any prior time spent in custody.” United States v. Montez-Gaviria, 163 F.3d 697, 700-01 (2d Cir. 1998).

         Federal sentence computations are governed by 18 U.S.C. § 3585(b), which provides:

(b) Credit for prior custody. A defendant shall be given credit toward the service of a term of imprisonment for any time he has spent in official detention prior ...

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