United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
PAUL S. LEVAN, Petitioner,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.
OPINION AND ORDER
AARON POLSTER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
April 15, 2019, Petitioner Paul S. Levan filed the instant
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a person in federal
custody, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Doc #: 1. In his
Petition, Levan seeks immediate release pursuant to the First
Step Act's amendment regarding good time credits. See
id. The Federal Public Defender's Office filed a
Supplement to Levan's Petition on April 29, 2019. Doc #:
3. The Government filed a Motion to Dismiss and Brief in
Opposition to the Petition and Supplement on May 23, 2019.
Doc #: 5. Levan filed his Reply brief on May 28, 2019. Doc #:
6. For the reasons that follow, Levan's Petition is
January 9, 1988, Levan was sentenced by the Eastern District
of Pennsylvania to 293 months imprisonment, ten years of
supervised release, and a $100.00 special assessment for
conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, in violation of 21
U.S.C. § 846. See No. 2:97-CR-225-02, Doc #:
78. While incarcerated, Levan was charged in the District of
New Jersey with another methamphetamine-related conspiracy
charge. See No. 1:12-CR-839-1, Doc #: 17. On May 15,
2013, Levan was sentenced by the District of New Jersey to
120 months imprisonment, five years supervised release, and a
$100.00 special assessment for conspiracy to possess and
attempt to possess methamphetamine. See id., Doc #:
24. The District of New Jersey ordered Levan's second
sentence to run consecutively with his original 293 months
sentence for a total of 413 months. Id. On December
1, 2017, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania reduced
Levan's original sentence to 188 months. See No.
2:97-CR-225-02, Doc #: 146. Levan has served approximately
265 months of his 308-month sentence. He is currently
incarcerated at the Elkton Federal Correctional Institution
and has a projected release date of October 2, 2019.
Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) must release a federal
prisoner on the date of the expiration of the prisoner's
term of imprisonment, less any time credited towards his
sentence. See 18 U.S.C. § 3624(a). Title 18
U.S.C. § 3624(b) provides a credit toward service of
sentence for satisfactory behavior (“good time
credit”). The BOP originally interpreted 18 U.S.C.
§ 3624(b) to allow a 47-day reduction in a
prisoner's sentence for each year served. The First Step
Act amended § 3624(b) to afford prisoners a 54-day per
year served reduction. See Pub.L. 115-391, Title I,
§ 102(b)(1)(A), (2), Dec. 21, 2018, 132 Stat. 5210,
5213. Levan argues that he is subject to immediate release
because, pursuant to this amendment, he was entitled to be
released on April 8, 2019. However, the First Step Act's
amendment to the good time credit provision does not become
effective until “the date that the Attorney General
completes and releases the risk and needs assessment
system[.]” Id. The Attorney General has until
July 19, 2019 to develop and publicly release the risk and
needs assessment system. See 18 U.S.C. §
3632(a) (“Not later than 210 days after the date of
enactment of this subchapter, the Attorney General . . .
shall develop and release publicly . . . a risk and needs
argues that the delayed effective date should apply only to
earned time credits, not good time credits, because the risk
and needs assessment system only effects the calculation of
earned time credits. Doc #: 1 at 6. The Court agrees that the
risk and needs assessment system is being developed to
calculate earned time credits, not good time credits.
See 18 U.S.C. § 3624(g)(1)(A). Earned time
credits are credits that a prisoner can earn by completing
recidivism-reduction programming. 18 U.S.C. §
3632(d)(4)(A)(i). For every 30 days of successful
participation in such programming, a prisoner can earn at
least 10 days of credit. Id. The risk and needs
assessment system will determine the type and amount of
recidivism reduction programming that is appropriate for each
prisoner. 18 U.S.C. § 3632(a)(3). The risk and needs
assessment system will not affect the calculation of good
time credits. However, Congress was explicit that the delayed
effective date applies to all amendments made to
§ 3624, including the amendment to good time credits.
The Court will not construe the First Step Act in a way that
is wholly inconsistent with Congress's plain language.
Thus, Levan is not entitled to a re-calculation of his good
time credits until the Attorney General completes his risk
and needs assessment system by July 19, 2019. Accordingly,
Levan's Petition is DENIED.
should the Attorney General fail to complete the risk and
needs assessment system by his deadline under the statute,
July 19, 2019, the Court hereby ORDERS that
the BOP release Levan no later than July 29, 2019. The
Government does not dispute that Levan is eligible to be
immediately released once his good time credits have been
calculated pursuant to the First Step Act's amendment.
Therefore, the Court finds that it would be unfair and
inconsistent with Congress's intent to keep Levan waiting
past the statutory deadline.