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Stubbs v. Stewart

United States District Court, D. Maryland

December 4, 2018




         Michael J. Stubbs, is an inmate incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Maryland ("FCI-Cumberland"). In this self-represented petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, Stubbs challenges the Federal Bureau of Prison's ("BOP") determination that he is ineligible for early release under 18 U.S.C. § 3621(d) upon the successful completion of the Residential Drug Abuse Treatment Program ("RDAP"). ECF No. 1. As relief, Stubbs asks that he be afforded one-year early release upon his successful completion of RDAP. Id.

         Respondent Warden Timothy Stewart ("Stewart") moves to dismiss the complaint, or alternatively for summary judgment. ECF No. 4. Stubbs opposes the dispositive motion (ECF No. 6), and Stewart has filed a reply. ECF No. 7. The case is ready for disposition and the Court now rules pursuant to Local Rule 105.6 because a hearing is not necessary. Respondent's motion, construed as one for summary judgment, IS GRANTED.

         I. Background

         On April 21, 1999, Stubbs was convicted by the State of Ohio of two counts of robbery. ECF No. 4-2 at p. 6, ¶¶ 13-14 (Zurovec Declaration). In August of 2002, Stubbs was sentenced in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio to serve 140 months in federal custody, followed by four years of supervised release, for a violation of 18U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and § 846 (conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine base).[1] ECF No. 4-2, ¶ 2; ECF No. 4-2 at p. 15-27; see United States v. Stubbs, No. 1:02-CR-40-14 (N.D. Ohio). Stubbs was placed on supervised release on October 9, 2012, having been released from BOP custody with good conduct credit. ECF No. 4-2, ¶ 2.

         On April 4, 2017, the district court revoked Stubbs' supervised release terms based on Stubbs' commission of new offenses in 2014. ECF No. 4-2, pp. 29-30. He was sentenced to 48 months confinement and has a projected release date of September 21, 2020. ECF No. 4-2, ¶ 2; ECF No. 4-2, p. 30.

         While Stubbs has been serving his term on the supervised release violation, BOP reviewed whether Stubbs' would be entitled to a sentencing reduction were he to complete the RDAP program. ECF No. 4-2 at ¶¶ 11, 14. The BOP determined that Stubbs was precluded from early release pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3621(e) because his state robbery convictions, imposed in April of 1999, occurred within 10 years of the original sentence for his 2002 drug conviction. ECF No. 4-2 at ¶ 14; ECF 4-2 at p. 56-57.[2]

         Stubbs contends that the BOP erred in finding that the 1999 state robbery convictions occurred within ten years from his federal narcotics offense. More particularly, Stubbs argues that because the robbery convictions occurred more than ten years from the sentence imposed on his revocation of his supervised release, he is entitled to the one-year reduction pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3621(e) upon RDAP completion. ECF No. 1 at p. 9-10. For the following reasons, the Court cannot agree with Stubbs.

         II. Standard of Review

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure apply to federal habeas corpus proceedings to the extent the Rules do not conflict with any statutory provisions or the rules governing habeas corpus proceedings. See R. 12, Rules Governing § 2254 Cases.[3] Additionally, if it plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the Petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court, the petition must be dismissed. Id. at Rule 4.

         Summary judgment is proper when the moving party demonstrates that "no genuine dispute as to any material fact" exists when construing all facts and all justifiable inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a) & (c)(1)(A); see also Ricci v. De Stefano, 557 U.S. 557, 585-86 (2009); Baldwin v. City of Greensboro, 714 F.3d 828, 833 (4th Cir. 2013). A mere "scintilla of evidence" suggesting a material dispute cannot defeat a motion for summary judgment. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 251-52 (1986). Rather, the record evidence must demonstrate that a reasonable trier of fact could find in favor of the nonmoving party. MatsushitaElec Indus Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986).

         III. Analysis

         Stubbs brings this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, which permits a prisoner to file suit against the BOP for "a violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3); Rose v. Hodges, 423 U.S. 19, 21 (1975). The pertinent federal statute in this case, 18 U.S.C. § 3621(b), authorizes the BOP to implement drug abuse treatment programs such as RDAP and permits possible early release upon successful RDAP completion. 18 U.S.C. § 3621(e)(2)(B) (participant's prison term "may be reduced by the Bureau of Prisons, but such reduction may not be more than one year from the term the prisoner must otherwise serve.").

         Section 3625 of the same Title expressly exempts from judicial review BOP action as applied to "the making of any determination, decision, or order under this subchapter." 18 U.S.C. § 3625. See also Minotti v. Whitehead,584 F.Supp.2d 750, 761 (D. Md. 2008) (judicial review of any BOP "adjudication," defined as a "retrospective particularized fact-finding for each prisoner."). As part of BOP's broad decision-making power, the agency "shall designate the place of the prisoner's confinement." 18 U.S.C. § 3621(b). See also Ingram v. Thomas, 2011 WL 1791234 at *2 (D. Or. 2011). ...

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