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CHRISTIAN v. BUREAU OF PRISONS

August 23, 2005.

LAWRENCE CHRISTIAN, Petitioner,
v.
BUREAU OF PRISONS, Respondent.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: HAROLD BAER, District Judge[fn*] [fn*] Scott Eckert, a summer 2005 intern in my Chambers, and currently a second year law student at Brooklyn Law School, provided substantial assistance in the research and drafting of this Opinion.

OPINION & ORDER

Lawrence Christian ("Christian") petitions this Court for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Christian contends that the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") has incorrectly calculated his good conduct time ("GCT") credits under 18 U.S.C. § 3624(b). For the following reasons, Christian's habeas corpus petition is DISMISSED as moot.

I. BACKGROUND

  On March 21, 2003, Christian was sentenced in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida to a twenty-four month term of incarceration, followed by a two-year term of supervised release, for his conviction of conspiracy to violate an arrested suspect's civil rights by improperly seizing the suspect's property in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 241.*fn1 (Scannell Decl., Exs. B, C.) Christian surrendered to the BOP and began serving his sentence on May 27, 2003. Id. On August 12, 2004, Christian filed this petition which alleges that the BOP improperly calculated his GCT credit pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3624(b) (Release of a Prisoner) and he is therefore being detained in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Christian was released from custody on February 18, 2005.

  II. DISCUSSION

  A. Jurisdiction

  Habeas jurisdiction is present when the petitioner is in custody "under the conviction or sentence under attack at the time his petition is filed." Lee v. Stickman, 357 F.3d 338, 342 (3d Cir. 2004) (quoting Maleng v. Cook, 490 U.S. 488, 490 (1989)). This Court has subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Title 28 U.S.C. § 2241 to consider Christian's Petition because (1) the Petition challenges the calculation of GCT relating to his time under the BOP's supervision at the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, New York; and (2) Christian was in the custody of the BOP at the time he filed the Petition. 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c).

  B. Legal Standard

  The relevant part of Title 18 U.S.C. § 3624(b) provides:

  [A] prisoner who is serving a term of imprisonment of more than 1 year other than a term of imprisonment for the duration of the prisoner's life, may receive credit toward the service of the prisoner's term of imprisonment, beginning at the end of the first year of the term, subject to determination by the Bureau of Prisons that, during that year, the prisoner has displayed exemplary compliance with institutional regulations. . . . [C]redit for the last year or portion of a year of the term of imprisonment shall be prorated and credited within the last six weeks of the sentence. (emphasis added) In order to assist in the administration of 18 U.S.C. § 3624(b), the BOP promulgated 28 C.F.R. § 523.20, which provides as follows:

 
Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 3624(b) . . . an inmate earns 54 days credit toward service of sentence (good conduct time credit) for each year served. This amount is prorated when the time served by the inmate for the sentence during the year is less than a full year.
  Additionally, the BOP has issued Program Statement 5880.28, which sets forth the formula by which GCT credits are calculated. This formula simply multiplies the number of days served by 0.148 (which is 54/365) for a prisoner who has served his sentence with exemplary behavior. Therefore, a prisoner may earn a maximum of 54 GCT days (365 × 0.148 = 54) for each full year actually served.

  Christian interprets this to mean that he should be eligible to earn 108 (54 × 2) days of GCT time based on his two-year sentence. He maintains that BOP's interpretation of 18 U.S.C. § 3624(b) is incorrect, and contends that the allocation of GCT credits should be based upon the length of the sentence, rather than the amount of time actually served. Therefore, Christian believes that he should only have to serve 624 days of his sentence.

  The BOP's interpretation of 18 U.S.C. 3624(b) calculates GCT credits based upon time actually served. The BOP maintains that a prisoner with a 24-month sentence is eligible to earn only 94 GCT days, and therefore has to serve 638 days. The result is ...


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