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Johnson v. Shartle

United States District Court, Sixth Circuit

May 30, 2013

MICHAEL JOHNSON, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN SHARTLE, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND ORDER

JOHN R. ADAMS, District Judge.

Before the Court is pro se Petitioner Michael Johnson's above-captioned petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant 28 U.S.C. §2241. Mr. Johnson, who is being held in the Federal Correctional Institution in Elkton, Ohio ("FCI Elkton"), names F.C.I. Elkton Warden J.T. Shartle as Respondent.[1] He claims the Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") is improperly withholding jail credit to which he believes he is entitled. For the reasons set forth below, the Petition is denied.

Background

Mr. Johnson was arrested for receiving stolen property in Pennsylvania by the Nanticoke City Police on July 10, 2007 and held in Luzerne County Jail. Although the criminal complaint was amended to dismiss certain charges in favor of federal prosecution, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania imposed an unrelated sentence of 12 to 24 months in prison on September 6, 2007 on Mr. Johnson for possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance.[2] The court also awarded him 80 days credit for the following pretrial custody periods: February 17, 2006 through March 10, 2006 and July 10, 2007 until September 5, 2007. (Doc. No. 1, Ex. G.)

The United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania issued a writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum on September 18, 2007. Mr. Johnson was brought to federal court to face charges of interference with commerce by threat or violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951 and use, possession and carrying of a fireman during the commission of a violent act in violation of 18 U.S.C. §924(c). See United States of America v. Johnson, No. 3:07-cr-0331 (M.D. Pa. Aug. 21, 2007)(Nealon, J.) Mr. Johnson entered a guilty plea to the charges on November 30, 2007.

On April 17, 2008, United States District Judge William J. Nealon sentenced Mr. Johnson to serve a term of 27 months on Count 1 and 60 months on Count 2 consecutively, for a total term of 87 months. Judge Nealon also ordered the federal sentence to run "concurrently with that of the sentence imposed at Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas." Id. (Doc. No. 32.)

The day after Mr. Johnson's federal sentence was imposed, he was returned to Luzerne County Jail. Once he completed the term of imprisonment imposed by the Commonwealth, Mr. Johnson was released from Luzerne Jail to federal authorities on June 18, 2008. At that time, the BOP awarded Mr. Johnson federal jail time credit from July 10, 2007 through September 5, 2007. Because the length of Mr. Johnson's federal sentence exceeded that of his state sentence, the Designation & Sentences Computation Center (DSCC) determined he was entitled to presentence credit under Willis v. United States, 438 F.2d 923 (5th Cir. 1971) pursuant to BOP Program Statement § 5880.28(2)(c).[3] Mr. Johnson appealed the warden's decision to the Regional Director and National Inmate Appeals Administrator, both of whom denied the request.

Mr. Johnson now seeks an additional period of 214 days credit toward his federal sentence and a nunc pro tunc designation of the state facility for service of his federal sentence. He believes he is entitled to federal sentence credit from the date on which his Commonwealth sentence was imposed on September 6, 2007 until April 16, 2008, one day before his federal sentence was imposed. Because the federal court ordered his sentence to run concurrently with his Commonwealth sentence, Mr. Johnson believes he must receive federal sentence credit from the date on which his Commonwealth sentence commenced. Therefore, he argues he is entitled to credit from the date his Commonwealth sentence was imposed on September 18, 2007 until the date his federal sentence was imposed on April 17, 2008.

Initial Review

This matter is before the Court for initial screening. 28 U.S.C. § 2243; Harper v. Thoms, No. 02-5520, 2002, WL 31388736, at *1 (6th Cir. Oct. 22, 2002). A court is required to award an application for writ of habeas corpus "unless it appears from the application that the applicant or person detained is not entitled thereto." 28 U.S.C. § 2243. The Sixth Circuit has consistently held that "[t]he burden to show that he is in custody in violation of the Constitution of the United States is on the prisoner." Allen v. Perini, 424 F.2d 134, 138 (6th Cir. 1970), cert. denied 400 U.S. 906 (1970)(citations omitted). Johnson has not met his burden.

28 U.S.C. § 2241

It is the responsibility of the Attorney General, through the BOP, to administer the sentence imposed by a district court. See 18 U.S.C. § 3621(a) ("A person who has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment... shall be committed to the custody of the Bureau of Prisons until the expiration of the term imposed."). To fulfill this duty, the BOP must know how much of the sentence the offender has left to serve. Because the offender has a right to certain jail-time credit under § 3585(b), and because the district court cannot determine the amount of the credit at sentencing, the Attorney General has no choice but to make the determination as an administrative matter when imprisoning the defendant. United States v. Wilson, 503 U.S. 329, 335 (1992); United States v. Crozier, 259 F.3d 503, 520 (6th Cir. 2001)("Power to grant credit for time served lies solely with Attorney General and Bureau of Prisons.").

Under the relevant sentencing credit statute, it provides:

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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