United States District Court, D. New Jersey
JEFFREY L. MUSGROVE, Petitioner,
WARDEN DAVID ORTIZ, Respondent.
A. McGrain, Esq. Office of the Federal Public Defender
Counsel for Petitioner.
Jessica Rose O'Neill, Esq. John Andrew Ruymann, Esq.
Office of the United States Attorney Counsel for Respondent
L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.
Jeffrey L. Musgrove (“Petitioner”), a prisoner
presently incarcerated at the Federal Correctional
Institution at Fort Dix in Fort Dix, New Jersey, has filed a
Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241 (the “Petition”). ECF No. 1.
Petitioner's sole grievance raised in the Petition is
that he has been confined in excess of his maximum term
because the Federal Bureau of Prisons has failed to
recalculate his good time credits under the new method
provided in the First Step Act, Pub. L. No. 115-015, 132
Stat. 015 (2018). ECF No. 1. In light of Petitioner's
allegations, the Court ordered an answer to the Petition and
appointed counsel for Petitioner. ECF Nos. 3, 4. Respondent
filed an Answer to the Petition (the “Answer”).
ECF No. 7. Petitioner filed a reply to the Answer (the
“Reply”). ECF No. 8. The Petition is now ripe for
disposition. For the reasons stated below, the Petition will
was originally sentenced in the U.S. District Court for the
Eastern District of Virginia on July 9, 2010 and is serving a
130-month term of imprisonment for drug distribution and
firearms related offenses. ECF No. 1. Petitioner's
current projected release date is May 27, 2019, which
includes credit for good conduct time. Id.
Petitioner seeks recalculation of his sentence as it relates
to the calculation of his good time credits as a result of
the passage of the First Step Act. Id. Petitioner
contends that the recalculation of his good time credits
would have resulted in a release date of March 23, 2019 if
the Bureau of Prisons utilized the formula for calculating
good time credits contained in the First Step Act.
Id. In support of his argument, Petitioner argues
that the new formula for calculating good time credits
outlined in the First Step Act was intended and should be
construed to be implemented immediately and not delayed 210
days like certain other provisions contained in the Act.
See ECF No. 8.
2241 is the only statute that confers habeas jurisdiction to
hear the petition of a federal prisoner who is challenging
not the validity but the execution of his sentence.”
Coady v. Vaughn, 251 F.3d 480, 485 (3d Cir. 2001).
The Court has jurisdiction over the Petition and venue is
proper in this District pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241
because the Petition challenges the execution of his federal
sentence and he is presently confined in the District.
See Coady, 251 F.3d at 485; Zayas v. INS,
311 F.3d 247, 256 (3d Cir. 2002) (identifying
“applications challenging the manner in which a valid
federal sentence is carried out” as an example of a
“categor[y] of habeas petitions filed under §
Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 modified the rate at which
federal prisoners could earn good time credit, providing in
18 U.S.C. § 3624(b) that prisoners could receive
“credit toward the service of the prisoner's
sentence, beyond the time served, of up to 54 days at the end
of each year of the prisoner's term of
imprisonment.” In implementing this statutory
provision, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”)
developed a method of calculation that counted 54 days
against time actually served as opposed to the sentence as
imposed, which, in practical effect, results in federal
prisoners only receiving 47 days of credit for each year of
the term of imprisonment. The BOP's interpretation of the
good time credit provision in 18 U.C.S. § 3624 was
challenged but ultimately upheld as a reasonable
interpretation of the statute by the Supreme Court of the
United States in Barber v. Thomas, 560 U.S. 474
(2010). Since then, eligible federal prisoners receive 47
days of good time credit for each year of the term of
First Step Act, Pub. L. No. 115-015, 132 Stat. 015 (2018),
signed into law on December 21, 2018, provides comprehensive
federal criminal justice reform by, inter alia,
creating a new risk and needs assessment system to provide
appropriate programming for prisoners and amending the good
conduct time statute, 18 U.S.C. § 3624(b), to specify
the method of calculation to be utilized by the BOP for the
pre-existing good time credit provision. Under the method of
calculation specified by the First Step Act, federal
prisoners will receive 54 days of good time credit for each
year of imprisonment as measured by the full sentence as
seeks to receive the benefit of the First Step Act's
amendment to § 3624(b)'s calculation of good time
credits so that he receives 54 days instead of the 47 days
per year, which would make him eligible for release
immediately. For the reasons explained below, however,
Petitioner cannot obtain such relief as the new method of
calculating good time credits is not yet
amendment of 18 U.S.C. § 3624(b) to specify the method
of calculation for good time credits is contained within
Section 102(b) of the Act. At the end of Section 102(b), the
law provides a delayed effective date for “this