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Coleman v. Hollingsworth

United States District Court, District of New Jersey

February 2, 2015

NATHANIEL COLEMAN, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN JORDAN HOLLINGSWORTH, Respondent.

OPINION

ROBERT B. KUGLER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

I. INTRODUCTION

Petitioner is a federal inmate currently incarcerated at F.C.I. Fort Dix in Fort Dix, New Jersey. He is proceeding pro se with an amended petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Petitioner was convicted by a jury of conspiracy to violate the civil rights of a government witness, obstruction of justice and aiding and abetting. He received a life sentence. He claims that he should be released from federal incarceration because earned good time credits he has received are not being applied to his sentence. For the following reasons, the amended habeas petition will be denied.

II. BACKGROUND

On August 5, 1987, petitioner was sentenced after a jury found him guilty of: (1) conspiring to injure, oppress, threaten, intimidate any citizen in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him, see 18 U.S.C. § 241; (2) obstruction of justice, see Id. § 1503; and (3) aiding, abetting or causing an act to be done by another which is an offense against the United States, see Id. § 2. He received a sentence of life imprisonment. In 2010, the United States Parole Commission decided that petitioner would continue his sentence to its expiration.

Under the statutory provision applicable to petitioner’s case, this would be a period of thirty years. See 18 U.S.C. § 4206(d).[1] The Federal Bureau of Prisons’ (“BOP”) website indicates that petitioner is currently due to be released from federal incarceration on May 31, 2015.[2]

In January, 2104, the Court received petitioner’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. As petitioner had neither paid the filing fee nor submitted an application to proceed in forma pauperis, the matter was administratively terminated. Subsequently, on May 28, 2014, the Court received the requisite $5.00 filing fee from petitioner. Thereafter, on June 2, 2014, the Court received petitioner’s amended petition for writ of habeas corpus and the matter was reopened.

Petitioner requests in his amended habeas petition that he be immediately released. He claims that the United States Parole Commission has deliberately refused to adhere to its parole policies and procedures by not applying his earned good time credits to his sentence. Petitioner claims that he has earned 1, 482 days of good time credits. Accordingly, petitioner asserts that he should be released from federal incarceration at this time when these earned good time credits are applied to his sentence. Furthermore, petitioner also argues that the warden at F.C.I. Fort Dix also has refused to release him by applying his earned good time credits to his sentence.

Respondent has filed a response to the habeas petition and petitioner has filed a reply in support of his habeas petition. Thus, the habeas petition will now be analyzed.

III. DISCUSSION

As stated in supra Part II, petitioner claims that he should be released from federal incarceration as his earned good time credits have not been properly applied to his federal sentence. Title 18 of United States Code Section 4161 governs the calculation of good time credits for prisoners, such as petitioner, who committed his offenses prior to November 1, 1987. See Pinto v. DeRosa, No. 04-1380, 2005 WL 2320092, at *3 n.3 (D.N.J. Sept. 21, 2005) (noting that Section 4161 has been repealed but remains in effect with respect to a petitioner who committed his offense prior to November 1, 1987); see also Lueth v. Beach, 498 F.3d 795, 798 n.5 (8th Cir. 2007) (stating that while Section 4161 has been repealed, it remains applicable to offenses committed before November 1, 1987); Quinjano v. Hufford, No. 11-2254, 2012 WL 3775765, at *2 n.3 (M.D. Pa. Aug. 29, 2012) (stating that Section 4161 provides guidance for calculating sentences for prisoners who committed their crimes prior to November 1, 1987), aff’d by, 516 F. App’x 106 (3d Cir. 2013). Section 4161 states as follows:

Each prisoner convicted of an offense against the United States and confined in a penal or correctional institution for a definite term other than life, whose record of conduct shows that he has faithfully observed all the rules and has not been subjected to punishment, shall be entitled to a deduction from the term of his sentence beginning with the day on which the sentence commences to run, as follows:
Five days for each month, if the sentence is not less than six months and not more than one year. Six days for each month, if the sentence is more than one year and less than three years.
Seven days for each month, if the sentence is not less than three years and less than five years. Eight days for each month, if the sentence is not less than five years and less than ten years. Ten days ...

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