United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
Joshua J. Minix
Walter Davies, Director, Hampshire House; and J. Ray Ormond, Regional Director, Bureau of Prisons, Northeast Regional Office
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
K. JOHNSTONE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the court is petitioner Joshua J. Minix's petition for a
writ of habeas corpus (Doc. No. 1) filed pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2241, challenging the calculation of his
federal prison sentence by the Federal Bureau of Prisons
(“BOP”). The matter is before the undersigned
magistrate judge for preliminary review to determine whether
the petition is facially valid and may proceed. See Rule 4 of
the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases (“§ 2254
Rules”); § 2254 Rule 1(b) (allowing application of
the § 2254 Rules to any habeas petition).
asserts that he is presently incarcerated at the Hampshire
House, serving a sentence imposed by the District of Vermont
in United States v. Minix, No. 5:13-cr-053-01 (D.
Vt.). On October 14, 2014, that court imposed an eighty-seven
month sentence. See Oct. 14, 2014 J., Id. (ECF No.
99). Minix asserts here that he is scheduled to be released
from incarceration on August 5, 2019.
petition, Minix invokes Section 102(b) of the
recently-enacted First Step Act of 2018, which, inter alia,
amends 18 U.S.C. § 3624(b)(1), the statute which
authorizes and governs the BOP's calculation of federal
sentences imposed by the federal courts. Section 102(b)(1)
amends § 3624(b)(1) by raising the amount of good-time
credit federal prisoners may receive, for each year of their
sentence, from forty-seven days to fifty-four days.
now challenges the BOP's calculation of his sentence and
release date, and asks the court to direct the BOP to grant
him additional good-time credit. Minix contends that under
§ 102(b)(1), he is entitled to an additional seven days
of good-time credit for each full year of his
seven-years-and-three-months sentence, and an additional 2
days for the remaining three months of his sentence,
amounting to a total of fifty-one additional days of
good-time credit. Applying that figure to his presently
calculated August 5, 2019 release date, Minix claims he
should be released on June 15, 2019.
states that the BOP has declined to recalculate his sentence
based on the First Step Act, and further that the BOP does
not intend to make any good-time credit calculation changes
until July 2019 which, Minix alleges, will deprive him of
good-time credit to which he is entitled under § 102(b).
undertaking § 2254 Rule 4 preliminary review, this court
decides whether the petition contains sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face and cognizable in a federal habeas
action. See McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 856
(1994) (“Federal courts are authorized to dismiss
summarily any habeas petition that appears legally
insufficient on its face.”). When a habeas petitioner
is proceeding pro se, the assertions contained in the
petition are construed liberally. See Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam).
Good-Time Credit Under the First Step Act
petition, Minix seeks an order giving him the extra good-time
credits he asserts he is due under section 102(b)(1). Courts
that have issued rulings on similar claims have generally
concluded that section 102(b)(1)'s effective date hinges
on an event that has not yet occurred, namely, the Attorney
General's completion of a prisoner “risk and needs
assessment system, ” which Congress has required the
Attorney General to complete by a date in July 2019. See,
e.g., Johnson v. Bureau of Prisons, No.
4:19-cv-224-O, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62448, at *4, 2019 WL
1569360, at *1 (N.D. Tex. Apr. 11, 2019); Powell,
2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60012, at *6, 2019 WL 1521972, at *1;
United States v. Bellah, No. 2:12-CR-20016-001, 2019
U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56076, at *1 (W.D. Ark. Apr. 2, 2019);
Roy v. U.S. Bureau of Prisons, No. 2:19-CV-59-RMP,
2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56064, at *4, 2019 WL 1441622, at *2
(E.D. Wash. Apr. 1, 2019); Nichols v. Burch, No. CV
19-00076-TUC-RM (BGM), 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41595, at *4 (D.
Ariz. Mar. 12, 2019).
the BOP has no authority to recalculate [petitioner]'s
good-time credit according to the First Step Act until the
relevant provisions take effect in approximately July 2019,
the question of whether the BOP erred in administering
[petitioner]'s sentence on that basis is
premature.” Roy, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56064, at *3,
2019 WL 1441622, at *2. Accordingly, the district judge
should dismiss, as premature, Minix's ...