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United States v. Yates

United States District Court, D. Kansas

April 23, 2019

MARC YATES, Defendant.


          Daniel D. Crabtree United States District Judge.

         Before the court is pro se[1] defendant Marc Yates's Emergency Motion for Time Served Pursuant to the Provisions of the First Step Act of 2018 (Doc. 123). Mr. Yates contends that he is entitled to immediate release if the court directs the Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) to recalculate his good-time credits. Because Mr. Yates challenges the computation of his sentence, the court construes his Motion as one filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. The court dismisses Mr. Yates's Motion without prejudice for the reasons explained, below.

         I. Facts

         Mr. Yates pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute more than five kilograms of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine. Doc. 103 at 1. The court sentenced Mr. Yates in December 2016 to a term of imprisonment of 76 months. Id. at 2. After his prison term, Mr. Yates will be subject to a five-year term of supervised release. Id. at 3. Mr. Yates's projected release date from BOP is January 12, 2020.[2] See Inmate Locator, Fed. Bureau of Prisons, (select “Find By Number” tab; enter “14029-031” into “Number” search box; and click “Search”) (last visited April 12, 2019).

         In his Emergency Motion, Mr. Yates contends-under the First Step Act of 2018-that BOP must recalculate his good-time credits, giving him 26 extra days credit. This recalculation, Mr. Yates contends, would change his release date to December 12, 2019.[3] Then, Mr. Yates asserts, that he is entitled to 12 months of home confinement. So, Mr. Yates concludes that he became eligible for home detention in December 2018.

         II. Discussion

         A. Mr. Yates has not filed his motion in the correct jurisdiction, nor has he exhausted administrative remedies.

         Mr. Yates has styled his filing as an Emergency Motion. But, the court construes his filing as a petition for habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 because Mr. Yates seeks to challenge BOP's computation of his good-time credits. Warren v. United States, 707 Fed.Appx. 509, 511 n.4 (10th Cir. 2017) (“If, for instance, a prisoner seeks to challenge certain ‘matters that occur at prison, such as deprivation of good-time credits and other prison disciplinary matters . . . affecting the fact or duration of the [prisoner's] custody,' that claim must be raised in a § 2241 application rather than a § 2255 motion.” (citation omitted)): United States v. Parrett, No. 01-CR-168-JPS, 2019 WL 1574815, at *2 (E.D. Wis. Apr. 11, 2019) (“[W]hen the good-time provisions of the [First Step Act] do go into effect, the proper vehicle for [the prisoner] to use to request relief (after exhausting administrative remedies) would be a petition for habeas corpus under . . . § 2241.”); Rizzolo v. Puentes, No. 1:19-CV-00290-SKO (HC), 2019 WL 1229772, at *2 (E.D. Cal. Mar. 15, 2019) (findings and recommendation) (reasoning that prisoner properly brought claims under § 2241 based on BOP's purported failure to calculate his sentence in light of the First Step Act and his contention he should receive more time in a halfway house or home confinement); United States v. Scouten, No. 13-CR-20S, 2019 WL 1596881, at *1 (W.D.N.Y. Apr. 15, 2019) (“[I]n challenging the Bureau of Prisons' execution of his sentence, [petitioner's] request for habeas relief is properly construed under 28 U.S.C. § 2241.”). And, as a § 2241 petition, the court concludes that it must be dismissed because Mr. Yates did not file his petition in the correct jurisdiction nor did he exhaust his administrative remedies. The court explains these grounds for dismissal in the next two sections.

         1. Jurisdiction

         Construing Mr. Yates's Motion as one made under § 2241, the court finds that he must file his motion in the judicial district where he is incarcerated against “the person who has custody” over him. Parrett, 2019 WL 1574815, at *2 (“As a general rule, jurisdiction [for a § 2241 petition] ‘lies in only one district: the district of confinement.'” (quoting Rumsfeld v. Padilla, 542 U.S. 426, 443 (2004))); see also Bradshaw v. Story, 86 F.3d 164, 166 (10th Cir. 1996) (“A [§ 2241 petition] . . . must be filed in the district where the prisoner is confined.” (citation omitted)); United States v. Powell, No. 5:11-CR-75-JMH-1, 2019 WL 1521972, at *1 (E.D. Ky. Apr. 8, 2019) (holding court lacked jurisdiction because the inmate could “only seek such relief through a § 2241 habeas petition, and [could] only file such petition in the federal court located in the district in which he is incarcerated, or where a regional BOP office is located”). Mr. Yates is incarcerated at the Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Doc. 123 at 1. The District of Kansas is not Mr. Yates's district of confinement, and, accordingly, the court dismisses Mr. Yates's Motion without prejudice.

         2. Exhaustion

         Even if Mr. Yates had filed his Motion in the appropriate court, a federal prisoner generally must exhaust available administrative remedies before filing a 28 U.S.C. § 2241 habeas petition. Garza v. Davis, 596 F.3d 1198, 1203 (10th Cir. 2010); see also Rizzolo v. Puentes, 2019 WL 1229772, at *2 (“[T]he exhaustion requirement is not a ‘“jurisdictional prerequisite, ”' and thus ‘is subject to waiver in § 2241 cases.'” (quoting Ward v. Chavez, 678 F.3d 1042, 1045 (9th Cir. 2012))). Accordingly, our Circuit has “occasionally waived exhaustion requirements where irreparable harm would otherwise result.” Steck v. Chester, 393 Fed.Appx. 558, 560 (10th Cir. 2010); see also Staples v. Maye, 711 Fed.Appx. 866, 867 (10th Cir. 2017) (explaining that inmates also “need not exhaust their administrative remedies if they can show that exhaustion would have been futile.”).

         Mr. Yates contends that he suffers irreparable harm because his release date either is imminent or has passed. But, as discussed below, the court concludes that Mr. Yates's release date-even if BOP recalculated his good-time credits today-would be mid-December 2019. The court thus concludes that the irreparable harm exception is inapplicable.

         Because Mr. Yates has not shown the requisite irreparable harm, he must comply with exhaustion requirements. Mr. Yates asserts that BOP staff has taken the position that it will not act without clear direction from the court. Doc. 123 at 2. But, Mr. Yates only has attempted to resolve his complaint informally. Mr. Yates's Motion does not allege that he has complied with the multi-stage administrative process under 28 C.F.R. §§ ...

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