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Thomas v. Warden, Federal Correctional Institution

United States District Court, D. New Hampshire

February 5, 2015

Robert Thomas
v.
Warden, Federal Correctional Institution, Berlin, New Hampshire.

ORDER OPINION NO. 2014 DNH 231.

LANDYA McCAFFERTY, District Judge.

Before the court is respondent's motion to dismiss (doc. no. 21) Robert Thomas's petition for a writ of habeas corpus brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Thomas objects (doc. nos. 32 and 38), and respondent has filed a response (doc. no. 39) to that objection.

On September 24, 2014, the court held a hearing on the motion to dismiss, at which counsel for each side appeared. Thomas appeared, via audio link, from the prison. Subsequent to the hearing, Thomas filed a motion to "Stay the Proceedings and Reconsider Petition and to Appoint Substitute Counsel" (doc. no. 42), which is also pending before the court.

Background and Prior Proceedings[1]

Petitioner Robert Thomas was arrested in Illinois on a state armed robbery charge on October 1, 2000, and was detained pretrial at the Cook County Jail in Chicago, Illinois. On March 21, 2001, Thomas was "borrowed" by the United States Marshals Service ("USMS") pursuant to a writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum and detained at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a federal facility in Chicago, to answer federal drug charges, unrelated to the state charges, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. See United States v. Thomas, No. 01-cr-03 (N.D. Ill.) ("federal criminal case"). On September 14, 2001, Thomas was sentenced on his federal charges to 360 months imprisonment. See id., ECF No. 243.

On October 21, 2001, Thomas was sentenced in the state court to a twenty-year prison term on the armed robbery charge. The state sentencing court ordered that, per an agreement between Thomas and the state prosecutor, the sentence was to run concurrently with the already-imposed federal sentence, and would be served in the federal prison where Thomas would be serving his federal sentence. Thomas believed at the time that the State of Illinois had waived and relinquished its primary jurisdiction to the federal authorities.

On December 5, 2001, the USMS assumed custody of Thomas, without having first obtained a writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum, and placed Thomas at the Federal Correctional Institution in Pollock, Louisiana ("FCI Pollock"). Shortly thereafter, the Illinois Department of Corrections ("IDOC") lodged a detainer with the federal prison, so that if Thomas were released prior to the expiration of his state sentence, he would be returned to the IDOC to complete his state sentence. On April 11, 2002, however, the Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") determined that Thomas had been erroneously taken into federal custody, and, without requiring the IDOC to obtain a writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum, returned Thomas to the IDOC to serve his state sentence.

Thomas remained in IDOC custody until November 19, 2008, when he was paroled from his state sentence, and returned to federal custody to serve the remainder of his federal sentence. After his November 2008 return to federal custody, Thomas learned that he was not going to be credited for any of the time he had spent in custody, since his October 1, 2000, arrest, until he was returned to federal custody on November 19, 2008, as all of that time had been credited toward his state sentence. Thomas requested that the BOP recalculate his sentence to give him credit against his federal sentence for the time he spent in the IDOC, as the Illinois state sentencing court had intended. The BOP denied his request.

On November 13, 2009, Thomas was incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution in Gilmer, West Virginia ("FCI Gilmer"). On that date, Thomas filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, challenging the BOP's calculation of his sentence. See Pet., Thomas v. Deboo, No. 2:09cv134 (N.D. W.Va. Nov. 13, 2009), ECF No. 1. Specifically, Thomas asserted claims alleging that the State of Illinois had waived and relinquished primary jurisdiction over him at the time of his state court sentencing, and that, therefore, his designation to a federal facility in 2001 was proper. He argued that his return to the IDOC in 2002 was erroneous and caused him not to receive credit against his federal sentence for the time he had served prior to his November 2008 return to federal custody. He also asserted that his return to the IDOC caused him to serve his federal sentence in installments. See id.

On April 8, 2010, the West Virginia court granted the United States' motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary judgment, and denied Thomas's § 2241 petition. See Thomas v. Deboo, No. 2:09cv134, 2010 WL 1440693, at *7 (N.D. W.Va. Apr. 8, 2010), adopting report and recommendation, 2010 WL 1440465 (N.D. W.Va. Mar. 8, 2010), aff'd, 403 F.App'x 843 (4th Cir. Nov. 30, 2010) (per curiam). In its order, the West Virginia federal court expressly found that whatever the intention of the parties and court at the time of Thomas's state court sentencing, the executive of the State of Illinois did not expressly or affirmatively waive primary jurisdiction over Thomas at any time until it paroled Thomas from his state sentence in November 2008. See Thomas, 2010 WL 1440465, at *3-5. The court, therefore, denied Thomas relief. See id. at *7.

On April 26, 2011, Thomas filed a "Motion for Retroactive Designation" in his federal criminal case. See Mot. for Retroactive Designation, United States v. Thomas, No. 01-cr-03 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 26, 2011), ECF No. 428. On July 15, 2011, that court denied his motion without prejudice to his renewing the claim in a § 2241 petition brought in the federal court in the district of Thomas's incarceration at the time of such filing. Id., ECF No. 437.[2]

Thomas again sought relief, as he had in 2008, through the BOP's administrative grievance system, by requesting, again, that the BOP retroactively designate the IDOC as the place at which he was to serve his federal sentence. In its response to Thomas's request, the BOP found that Illinois had not waived its primary jurisdiction over Thomas, and that the USMS's assumption of custody over Thomas on December 5, 2001, was erroneous, and that the error was corrected by returning Thomas to the IDOC in 2002 to serve his state sentence. Further, the BOP determined that Thomas had received credit against his state sentence for all of the time he had served in state custody, from his October 1, 2000, arrest until his November 19, 2008, parole to federal custody, and that Thomas therefore could not be given credit against his federal sentence for that time, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3585(b).

Thomas then filed this action asserting that his due process rights had been violated by the BOP, asserting the same claims raised in his § 2241 petition in federal court in West Virginia, in his administrative grievances to the BOP, and in his 2011 motion for retroactive designation filed in the federal criminal case in Illinois. Thomas further contends in this action that this court should address his petition on the merits based on documentary evidence, attached to the instant petition, of the State of Illinois's intention to relinquish primary jurisdiction over Thomas at the time his state sentence was imposed, which was not available to the West Virginia federal court at the time it made its decision.

Discussion

I. Motion to ...


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