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United States v. Ahmed

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Western Division

November 8, 2017

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Zubair Ahmed B.O.P. Inmate 19303-424, Defendant,

          ORDER

          James G. Carr, Sr. U.S. District Judge.

         Defendant pleaded guilty to and was convicted of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2339A. His base offense level was 43 (deemed 52 for sentencing purposes). Defendant had never been arrested before this offense, but received a criminal history category of IV due to the nature of the crime. This resulted in a Guideline Range of 360 months to life imprisonment.

         I sentenced defendant on June 10, 2010, to a term of 120 months, with three years supervised release to follow. The defendant's “out date” is August 17, 2018.

         He has filed a pro se “Motion Requesting a Judicial Recommendation Concerning Length of RRC/Halfway House Placement.” (Doc. 207). The government opposes the motion. (Doc. 208).[1]

         For the reasons that follow, I grant the motion and recommend that the Bureau of Prisons forthwith arrange for the defendant's release to a halfway house in his hometown, Chicago.

         Discussion

         Title18 U.S.C. § 3624(c)(1) authorizes the Bureau's Director to assign an inmate during the last months of his term (not to exceed twelve months) to a halfway house:

The Director of the Bureau of Prisons 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.

         Halfway house placement is “a mechanism to reduce recidivism.” (Doc. 207, Ex. 2 (Bureau of Prisons Director's Memorandum for Chief Executive Officers: “Revised Guidance for Residential Reentry Center (RRC) Placements”)). The Second Chance Act instructs that an inmate's placement should be “of sufficient duration to provide the greatest likelihood of successful reintegration in the community.” 18 U.S.C. § 3624(c)(6)(C). Although the Director is ultimately responsible for defendant's placement, the Bureau must consider “any statement” I make “recommending a type of penal or correctional facility as appropriate.” See 18 U.S.C. § 3621(b)(4)(B).

         The government's principal contention appears to be that the defendant, in light of the nature of his conviction, deserves no leniency and should not return to his home community until the latest date (usually six months prior to expiration of the term) as of which the Bureau would place him in the halfway house to prepare for release from custody.

         I disagree with the government for several reasons.

         First: the government says I do not know what the defendant's conduct has been in prison. So saying, the government ignores the courses that defendant has taken on subjects as diverse as Aquiculture and Organic Farming to Computer Applications, Financial Literacy, and Technology 101 to Stress Management and Decision-Making to College Correspondence Courses and Spanish.

         More to the point, the government offers no evidence as to the defendant's conduct, good or bad, while in custody. But the government certainly could have found out what his record as an inmate was. Its silence in that regard is telling.

         Second: with an “out date” one month short of two years before his imposed term ends on July 12, 2020, it is readily apparent that the ...


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