United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Edward S. Robertson, Petitioner,
R. Marques, Warden, Respondent.
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Wilhelmina M. Wright United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on the May 8, 2019 Report and
Recommendation (R&R) of United States Magistrate Judge
Steven E. Rau, (Dkt. 13), which recommends dismissing
Petitioner Edward S. Robertson's petition for a writ of
habeas corpus. Robertson filed timely objections to the
R&R, and Respondent R. Marques responded. For the reasons
addressed below, the Court adopts the R&R and dismisses
without prejudice Robertson's petition for a writ of
who currently is incarcerated at the Federal Correctional
Institution in Sandstone, Minnesota, filed the instant habeas
petition in April 2019. He challenges the method that the
Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) used to calculate credit
towards the service of his sentence for satisfactory
behavior, commonly referred to as “good time
credit.” See Barber v. Thomas, 560 U.S. 474,
476 (2010). Robertson argues that the First Step Act of 2018,
Pub. L. 115-391, 132 Stat. 5194 (2018) (the Act) is a
“good time fix” that manifests Congress's
intent that good time credit should be calculated based on
the term of imprisonment imposed by a sentencing judge.
to the passage of the Act, the BOP interpreted Title 18,
United States Code, Section 3624(b), to permit the
calculation of good time credit based on the length of time
that a prisoner actually serves rather than the length of the
sentence imposed. See Barber, 560 U.S. at 477-79.
The Act amends Section 3624(b) to require calculating good
time credit based on the length of a prisoner's sentence
imposed by the court. Robertson argues on alternate grounds
that the BOP has incorrectly calculated his good time credit.
Either the implementation of the Act has been unduly delayed,
Roberson contends, or the passage of the Act clarified
Congress's original intent for calculating good time
credit pursuant to Section 3624(b).
district court reviews de novo those portions of the R&R
to which specific objections are made. 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1). In doing so, the district court may accept,
reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or
recommendations of the magistrate judge. Id.;
accord Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3); LR 72.2(b)(3).
objects to the R&R's recommendation to dismiss his
habeas petition. Robertson does not challenge the
R&R's conclusion that the Act does not take effect
until the Attorney General “completes and releases the
risk and needs assessment system.” Pub. L. 115-391, 132
Stat. 5194, 5213. Nor does Robertson dispute that the plain
language of the Act provides the Attorney General 210 days to
complete the risk and needs assessment system, this 210-day
period has not expired, and the amendment to Section 3624(b)
will not take effect until approximately mid-July, 2019.
Rather, Robertson argues that the legislative history of
Section 3624(b) demonstrates that the BOP's current
method of calculating good time credit is incorrect even if
the amendment to Section 3624(b) is not in effect. This
argument is unavailing.
Barber, the Supreme Court of the United States
previously upheld the BOP's current method of calculating
good time credit. Barber, 560 U.S. at 480. In doing
so, the Court concluded that the BOP's calculation
method, which relies on the length of time a prisoner
actually serves rather than the length of the term of
imprisonment imposed by the sentencing judge, is consistent
with both the text of Section 3624(b) and its legislative
history. Id. at 483-86. By arguing that the
legislative history of Section 3624(b) is inconsistent with
the BOP's current calculation method, Robertson urges
this Court to disregard binding precedent. See United
States v. Robinson, 781 F.3d 453, 459 (8th Cir. 2015)
(“[I]t is self-evident that Supreme Court decisions are
binding precedent in every circuit.” (internal
quotation marks omitted)). Moreover, the Act's 2018
amendments do not, as Robertson suggests, demonstrate that
Barber was incorrectly decided in light of the law
in effect at the time. See Rivers v. Roadway Express,
Inc., 511 U.S. 298, 305 (1994) (stating that legislative
amendment does not “necessarily indicate that Congress
viewed a judicial decision as ‘wrongly decided' as
an interpretive matter”).
the Act's amendments to Section 3624(b) are not in effect
at this time and the BOP's current method of calculating
good time credit is consistent with Supreme Court precedent,
the Court overrules Robertson's objections and adopts the
R&R in full.
on the foregoing analysis and all the files, records and
proceedings herein, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:
objection of Petitioner Edward S. Robertson, (Dkt. 15), is
OVERRULED; 2. The May 8, 2019 R&R of
United States Magistrate Judge Steven E. Rau, (Dkt. 13), is
ADOPTED; and 3. Petitioner Edward S.
Robertson's petition for ...