United States District Court, D. New Jersey
TYQUAN D. EVANS, Petitioner,
DAVID LEU, WARDEN, FCI FAIRTON, Respondent.
WILLIAM J. MARTINI, U.S.D.J.
Tyquan Evans moves pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 for a
writ of habeas corpus vacating the sentence computation
performed by the Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”). He
specifically challenges the BOP's decision not to award
him prior custody credit when calculating Petitioner's
92-month sentence for unlawful possession of a firearm. The
Petition is GRANTED. Although the BOP
previously determined that the period of April 22, 2014, to
April 13, 2015, had been credited toward a sentence of
“time served” in state court for violating
probation, the record instead indicates that no custodial
sentence was imposed for Petitioner's probation
violations and that Petitioner has yet to receive credit for
that time in state custody. Petitioner thus has a right under
18 U.S.C. 3585(b) to receive prior custody credit against his
federal sentence. The BOP shall perform a new computation of
Petitioner's sentence in line with the Court's
April 22, 2014, Petitioner was arrested by New Jersey State
Police and charged with unlawful possession of a firearm,
distribution of heroin, three violations of probation, and
several additional charges. Petitioner would remain in state
custody until April 2015. On February 5, 2015, the state
dismissed the charges in favor of federal prosecution. Kitka
Decl., Ex. C. On February 25, 2015, Petitioner was
“borrowed” from the state for an initial
appearance in federal court before Magistrate Judge Steven C.
Mannion. Judge Mannion committed Petitioner to state custody
on the charge of unlawful possession of a firearm by a
convicted felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1).
ECF 15-cr-0356, No. 8.
April 13, 2015, the state court held a hearing concerning
three violations of Petitioner's state probation stemming
from the same incident. Judge Donna Gallucio ordered that
Petitioner's probation be terminated without improvement.
Although the government contends that Petitioner received
“time served” for the probation violations, Judge
Gallucio's signed order and the hearing transcript state
only that probation was “terminated without
improvement” and that fines and penalties were to be
reduced to a civil judgment. ECF No. 5, Ex. 1-2. No term of
confinement was specified. The government submits three
internal administrative documents indicating “time
served” in handwritten notes, but, as Petitioner
argues, these do not appear to be official court documents.
See Resp. Opp'n to Pet., Exs. F, G, H.
April 15, 2015, two days after the disposition of
Petitioner's probation violations, Passaic County
officials released Petitioner to federal authorities. On
December 3, 2015, Petitioner pled guilty before the Court to
unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. ECF
No. 5, Ex. I. The Court sentenced Petitioner to a prison term
of 92 months, to commence immediately. Id. Prior
custody credit was awarded for April 14, 2015, through
December 2, 2015, the period between commencement of federal
proceedings and the date of Petitioner's federal
sentencing. However, no credit was given against the federal
sentence for Petitioner's previous time in state custody,
running from his arrest on April 22, 2014, to his commitment
to federal custody on April 14, 2015. Kitka Decl. ¶
3585 states that a defendant “shall be given
credit toward the service of a term of imprisonment for any
time he has spent in official detention prior to the date the
sentence commences . . . as a result of the offense for which
the sentence was imposed . . .” 18 U.S.C. §
3585(b)(emphasis added). While the task of computing
sentences belongs to the Bureau of Prisons, sentence
computation-including the decision to award or not to award
credit for prior custody-is reviewable by federal courts once
administrative relief is exhausted. United States v.
Wilson, 503 U.S. 329, 335-36 (1992); Holloman v.
Warden Fairton FCI, 635 Fed.Appx. 12, 14 (3d Cir. 2015)
(“A petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2241 is available to a federal prisoner who
seeks, as Holloman does, to challenge the execution of his
sentence.”); United States v. Merritt, 782
F.Supp. 12, 13 (D. Mass. 1992)(citing United States v.
Zackular, 945 F.2d 423, 424 (1st Cir. 1991)).
exhausted his administrative remedies, Petitioner may now
seek judicial review of his sentence computation. Petitioner
contends that the BOP should have awarded him prior custody
credit for time in state custody from April 22, 2014, to
April 13, 2015. If the time was not credited against
Petitioner's state sentence, then § 3585(b) affords
Petitioner the right to receive credit for that time against
his 92-month federal sentence. Because the record indicates
that the state court never imposed a custodial sentence, the
Court cannot agree that Petitioner received credit for his
time in state custody.
crucial document here is titled Violation of Probation
Disposition, signed by Judge Gallucio and dated April 13,
2015. See ECF 6, Ex. 2. The document, which uses the
language of an official court order, lists seven methods for
disposing of a probation violation. Judge Gallucio checked
the boxes corresponding to “Probation is terminated
without improvement, ” “Reduce fines/restitution
to Civil Judgment, ” and “Vacate Probation
Supervision fee and any non-mandatory fines.”
Id. Had Judge Gallucio intended to impose a sentence
of time served, she would have checked the box for
“Defendant is sentenced to New Jersey State
Prison.” Id. Importantly, that box was left
blank. The Court finds this to be persuasive evidence that a
sentence of time served was not imposed and that Judge
Gallucio disposed of the matter by simply terminating
Petitioner's probation. This is consistent with the
transcript of Petitioner's sentencing hearing in which
Judge Gallucio explicitly terminates Petitioner's
probation but makes no mention to “time served”
or any other custodial sentence. See ECF 6, Ex.
government points to three untitled administrative documents
on which “time served” appears in handwritten
notes. Kitka Decl., Exs. F, G, H. As Petitioner argues,
however, these are not official court documents, and
certainly cannot predominate over an official order signed by
the sentencing judge.
foregoing reasons, Petitioner's motion for habeas relief
is hereby GRANTED. Petitioner shall receive
prior custody credit pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3585(b) for
his time served in state custody from April 22, 2014, to
April 13, 2015. ...