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Dudgeon v. Rios

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

August 19, 2019

James G. Dudgeon, Petitioner,
v.
Warden M. Rios, Respondent.

          JAMES G. DUDGEON, PRO SE.

          ANA H. VOSS, ANN M. BILDTSEN, AND ERIN M. SECORD, UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS FOR RESPONDENT.

          ORDER

          SUSAN RICHARD NELSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Petitioner James G. Dudgeon's Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus [Doc. No. 1] under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 and Motion for Immediate Transfer to Home Confinement [Doc. No. 2]. For the reasons set forth below, the petition is denied without prejudice and the motion is denied.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Petitioner, who is 61 years old, is serving a two-year term of imprisonment at the Federal Prison Camp in Duluth, Minnesota (“FPC-Duluth”), for aggravated identity theft. (Boldt Decl. [Doc. No. 15] ¶ 4; Pet. ¶ 13.) He seeks immediate placement in the elderly home confinement pilot program. (Pet. at 6-7; Mot. at 4.) He asserts that he has petitioned staff at the Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) for placement in this program and they have denied his requests. (Mot. at 2.)

         II. DISCUSSION

         In order to address Dudgeon's petition and motion, the Court first addresses his projected release date from federal custody. The First Step Act of 2018 modified the calculation of federal prisoners' good time credit, providing for 54 days of such credit for each year of a prisoner's “sentence imposed by the court.” 132 Stat. 5194, 5210 (2018). When Dudgeon filed the instant habeas petition on June 6, 2019, he had a projected release date of February 11, 2020, based on a projection of 94 days of good time credit for good conduct. (Boldt Decl. ¶ 4.)

         Although the First Step Act was enacted on December 21, 2018, the amendments relating to the recalculation of good time credit did not go into effect until the Attorney General developed and released a risk and needs assessment, see 132 Stat. at 5196, 5210, 5213, which was effective on July 19, 2019. See Butler v. Warden, FCI Ray Brook, No. 9:18-cv-1354 (LEK), 2019 WL 3547500, at *6 (N.D.N.Y. Aug. 5, 2019). The BOP has now revised Dudgeon's sentence computation to reflect the change in good time credit under the First Step Act. (Boldt Decl. ¶ 6.) Under the revised computation, Dudgeon now has a projected release date of January 28, 2020, based on a projection of 108 days of good time credit. (Id.) To the extent that Dudgeon's Petition seeks a recalculation of good time credit it is moot, as the BOP has recalculated his good time credit and release date, consistent with the amendments discussed above.

         The First Step Act also expanded transitional residential opportunities, including home confinement, for elderly and terminally ill inmates. The elderly inmate home confinement pilot program, codified at 34 U.S.C. § 60541(g), provides for the placement of eligible elderly offenders from BOP facilities to home detention. It is not a “release” from imprisonment because eligible offenders will continue to serve their sentences in home confinement. See Schlegel v. Rios, No. 19-cv-338 (SRN/ECW), 2019 WL 3417053, at *3 (D. Minn. June 18, 2019), aff'd, 2019 WL 3412207 (D. Minn. July 29, 2019). An “eligible elderly offender” refers to an offender in BOP custody

(i) who is not less than 60 years of age;
(ii) who is serving a term of imprisonment that is not life imprisonment based on conviction for an offense or offenses that do not include any crime of violence (as defined in section 16 of Title 18), sex offense (as defined in section 20911(5) of this title), offense described in section 2332b(g)(5)(B) of Title 18, or offense under chapter 37 of Title 18, and has served 2/3 of the term of imprisonment to which the offender was sentenced;
(iii) who has not been convicted in the past of any Federal or State crime of violence, sex offense, or other offense described in clause (ii);
(iv) who has not been determined by the Bureau of Prisons, on the basis of information the Bureau uses to make custody classifications, and in the sole discretion of the Bureau, to have a history of violence, or of engaging in conduct ...

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