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Casado v. Morris

September 28, 1998


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Joseph E. Irenas, U.S.D.J.



IRENAS, District Judge


Petitioner Rafael Feliciano Casado ("Casado) is currently incarcerated at FCI Fairton. He was sentenced on December 29, 1987, in the United States District Court of Puerto Rico for having been a felon in possession of a firearm, 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1), *fn1 having received a firearm stolen from the United States government, 18 U.S.C. § 641, and escape from federal custody, 18 U.S.C. § 751(a). He received consecutive terms of ten years, five years and five years, respectively, for each of the three convictions. Casado was given credit against this aggregate 20 year sentence for the periods from August 16, 1986, the date of his original federal arrest, through September 17, 1986, the date of his escape, and March 17, 1987, the date of his recapture, through December 29, 1997, the date on which he was sentenced.

Following his sentencing in federal court, petitioner was returned to the custody of Puerto Rico to finish serving a sentence resulting from his violation of probation stemming from a 1980 superior court conviction for voluntary manslaughter.

On August 9, 1988, Casado pled guilty in the Superior Court of Puerto Rico to transporting a loaded weapon, P.R. Laws Ann. tit. 25, § 418, receiving and transporting unlawfully appropriated property, P.R. Laws Ann. tit. 33, § 4274, and two counts of controlled substances violation, P.R. Laws Ann. tit. 24, § 2401. The weapons charge and the unlawful appropriation charge arose from the same facts which underlay the similar federal convictions. Casado was sentenced to six months on the unlawful appropriation charge and three years on each of the other three charges. However, the trial judge ordered that all four sentences were to run concurrently with each other and with the federal sentence which had previously been imposed.

Casado continued in commonwealth custody and completed serving his Puerto Rican sentences on January 2, 1991, at which time he was remanded to federal custody to complete the service of his 20 year federal sentence.

Presently before this Court is Casado's petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Casado claims that i) his state and federal convictions relating to the illegal appropriation and possession of a firearm violate the Double Jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution; ii) the District Court improperly instructed the jury; and iii) although the state court judge ordered that Casado's federal and state sentences run concurrently, the Bureau of Prisons did not credit him for any time served while in the custody of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Casado's first two claims will be dismissed since they are not cognizable under § 2241, but should have been timely brought under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 in the District of Puerto Rico where he was sentenced. His final claim will also be dismissed because 18 U.S.C. § 3568 does not allow credit against a federal sentence for time spent in state custody on charges which are not substantially identical. Although there is some similarity between the gun related offenses, there are elements of the federal charges which are sufficiently different from the Puerto Rican charges to preclude the credit sought by petitioner.



Petitioner's double jeopardy argument and his claim of faulty jury instructions attack the validity of his conviction and, thus, the legality of his sentence. Claims attacking the legality of a sentence are properly brought under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. See Wright v. United States Bd. of Parole, 557 F.2d 74, 77 (6th Cir. 1977). See also Chambers v. United States, 106 F.3d 472, 474 (2d Cir. 1997). Generally, a petition for a writ of habeas corpus under § 2241 is appropriate only "where petitioner challenges the effects of events `subsequent' to his sentence." Gomori v. Arnold, 533 F.2d 871, 874 (3d Cir. 1976), cert. denied, 429 U.S. 851 (1976). Issues relating to parole, computation of credits against a sentence which are administered by prison officials, and prison disciplinary actions are examples of matters which might properly be heard under § 2241. Liebman & Hertz, Federal Habeas Corpus Practice and Procedure (2d Ed.), vol.2, pp. 1184-1190.

However, petitioner's claims of double jeopardy and improper jury instructions should have been brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 2255 before the District Court in Puerto Rico ...

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