United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
A. BARKER, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court by transfer from the United States
District Court, District of New Jersey, to the Northern
District Ohio. Maximino Nieves filed a motion in his criminal
case in the District of New Jersey, Criminal Action No.
06-569 (“Criminal Case”), regarding the
recalculation of his good-time credits pursuant to the First
Step Act. The District of New Jersey construed Nieves'
motion as a challenge to the execution of his sentence,
rather than the judicially imposed length of his sentence,
and determined that such a challenge must be brought as a
petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241 rather than as a motion in the Criminal Case.
Therefore, the District of New Jersey ordered the criminal
motion terminated and refiled as a separate § 2241
habeas petition on a new docket, then transferred it to the
Northern District of Ohio, the judicial district within which
Nieves is confined. (Doc. No. 2.)
relief, Nieves seeks interim conditional release and an order
directing the BOP to recalculate his good-time credits
pursuant to the First Step Act. (Doc. No. 1 at 1,
reasons that follow, the petition is dismissed.
is a federal prisoner presently incarcerated at FCI Elkton in
Lisbon, Ohio. On December 5, 2008, he was sentenced in the
Criminal Case to 220 months of imprisonment for conspiracy to
distribute a controlled substance in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§ 846; his sentence was later reduced to 188 months of
imprisonment. Nieves claims that under the First Step Act, he
should receive 110 days of good-time credits in addition to
the credits that he has already earned, which would advance
his projected release date from May 24, 2021 to February 3,
2021. (Id. at 1.)
to the petition, the Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”)
has not yet acted to change Nieves' projected release
date on the grounds that the First Step Act contains a
delayed effective date for implementation of the good-time
credit amendment. (Id. at 1-2.) Nieves identifies
the issue as “whether the delayed effective date in
Section 102(b)(2) applies only to the earned time transfer
provisions in Section 102(b)(1)(B), or whether it also delays
the BOP's implementation of the independent good-time fix
in Section 102(b)(1)(A).” Nieves claims that the
good-time credit amendment should be effective immediately.
(Id. at 5.)
addition, Nieves maintains that he need not exhaust his
administrative remedies with the BOP on this issue before
seeking relief pursuant to § 2241 because exhaustion is
excused where (1) a prisoner faces irreparable harm from
delay, (2) there is doubt as to whether the agency is
empowered to render relief, or (3) the agency has
predetermined the issue rendering exhaustion futile. Nieves
contends that all three considerations apply here.
(Id. at 11-12.)
The First Step Act
portions of the First Step Act relevant here have been aptly
summarized as follows:
Subparagraph 102(b)(1)(A) of the First Step Act amended 18
U.S.C. § 3624(b) to alter the availability of good-time
credit for federal inmates. Specifically, it increased the
maximum allowable good-time credit from 47 to 54 days per
year, and it directed the BOP to calculate good-time credit
from the beginning of the final year of the sentence rather
than prorating at the end. First Step Act, Pub. L. No.
115-391, § 102(b)(1)(A), 132 Stat. 5194 (2018).
Separately, Subparagraph 102(b)(1)(B) of the First Step Act
developed a system of earned-time transfer credits.
Earned-time transfer credits are to be awarded as a benefit
of inmates' participation in recidivism-reduction
programming. Under Subparagraph 102(b)(1)(B), the BOP can
place an “eligible prisoner” in prerelease
custody outside of prison, or on supervised release up to 12
months prior to the end of the sentence. Id., §
To aid implementation of certain portions of the First Step
Act, the Attorney General is directed to create a “risk
and needs assessment system, ” to be completed and
released no later than 210 days from the date of the
statute's enactment; that is, July 19, 2019.
Id., § 101(a); 18 U.S.C. § 3632(a). The
risk and needs assessment system is meant to assess
inmates' risk of recidivism and develop guidance for
managing and reducing that risk.
Hamm v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, No. 1:19CV1110, 2019
WL 2717957, at *1 (N.D. Ohio June ...