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Smith v. Wilson

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

March 5, 2014

BYRON SMITH, Petitioner,
v.
ERIC D. WILSON, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

DAVID R. HERNDON, Chief District Judge.

Petitioner Byron Smith is incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution in Petersburg, Virginia serving a term of incarceration imposed by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Currently before the Court is Smith's pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (Doc. 1), as well as his motion for preliminary and permanent injunctive relief (Doc. 13). In both his habeas petition and his motion for injunctive relief, Smith is seeking to have educational good time that he purportedly earned credited against his sentence. For the reasons stated below, Smith's habeas petition and his motion for injunctive relief are both DENIED.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Relevant Facts

On August 8, 1990, Byron Smith was sentenced to a term of 134 years and six months' imprisonment after pleading guilty to fourteen violations of the D.C. Criminal Code, including sodomy, threats, assault to commit sodomy, unlawful entry, attempted rape, burglary with intent to commit assault, assault with intent to rape, burglary and other related offenses (Doc. 14-2; Doc. 14-3). As a D.C. Code offender whose offense occurred between April 11, 1987 and August 5, 2000, Smith is eligible to receive educational good time as credit against his sentence.

Smith was initially in the custody of the District of Columbia Department of Corrections ("DCDC") in various correctional facilities around the country that contracted with the DCDC to house its prisoners (Docs. 14; 14-2). In July 2001, pursuant to the National Capital Revitalization and Self-Government Improvement Act of 1997, see infra pp. 3-4, Smith was transferred to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP"), where he remains today ( see Doc. 14-1).

When Smith was transferred to the BOP, the DCDC forwarded documents certifying that he had been awarded 54 days of educational good time for his enrollment in four courses at DCDC facilities (Doc. 14-7). While in the custody of the BOP, Smith was awarded an additional 100 days of educational good time for his enrollment in eight courses (Doc. 14-4).

Smith filed the instant habeas action on March 18, 2013 claiming that he was entitled to additional educational good time for various academic or vocational programs and courses that he completed while in DCDC custody and in BOP custody at USP-Leavenworth and USP-Marion (Docs. 1). Smith later filed an amended petition claiming that he was also entitled to additional educational good time for programs or courses that he completed in BOP custody at USP-Hazelton and USP-Tucson (Doc. 22). He also filed a motion for a preliminary and permanent injunction seeking to prohibit the BOP from denying him educational good time in the future and from retaliating against him for filing suit (Doc. 13).

B. D.C. Revitalization Act & Educational Good Time Credits

The nature of this challenge requires to court to outline the complex and highly technical system governing the incarceration of D.C. Criminal Code offenders in federal prisons. In 1997, Congress transferred responsibility for the imprisonment of all felons convicted under the D.C. Code from the District of Columbia to the federal government. See National Capital Revitalization and Self-Government Improvement Act of 1997, Pub. L. No. 105-33, tit. XI, subtit. C, 111 Stat. 712, 734 ("D.C. Revitalization Act") (codified at D.C. CODE § 24-101). Accordingly, some D.C. Code offenders, including Smith, were transferred from DCDC correctional facilities to facilities operated or contracted for by the BOP. D.C. CODE § 24-101(b).

Under the D.C. Code, offenders whose offenses occurred between April 11, 1987 and August 5, 2000, are eligible to receive educational good time as credit against their sentences. D.C. CODE § 24-221.01(a); 28 C.F.R. § 523.31. In particular, the statute states that inmates who "successfully participate in an academic or vocational program, including special education and Graduate Equivalency Diploma programs, shall earn educational good time credits of no less than 3 days a month and not more than 5 days a month." D.C. CODE § 24-221.01(a).

The DCDC is responsible for awarding educational good time to offenders for programs and courses that they completed while housed at DCDC facilities ( See Doc. 15-2, p. 2). For those offenders who were transferred to the BOP, the DCDC forwarded documents to the BOP certifying the educational good time that they had been awarded in the DCDC facilities (Doc. 15-2, p.7). After their transfer, the offenders are still eligible to receive educational good time for completing BOP education programs, and the BOP is responsible for awarding the credits. See 28 C.F.R. § 523.31; (Doc. 15-2, p.2).

D.C. offenders incarcerated in a BOP facility can earn five days of educational good time for each month they are enrolled in a designated program, up to the maximum amount designated by the BOP for that type of program. 28 C.F.R. § 523.32(a). If inmates are enrolled in more than one program at the same time, they are limited to a maximum of five days of educational good time credit per month. 28 C.F.R. § 523.32(a).

II. DISCUSSION

Smith is challenging the calculation of his educational good time credits that have been awarded to him, and therefore his claim is cognizable under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 because he is ultimately challenging the execution of his sentence. See Romandine v. United States, 206 F.3d 731, 736 (7th Cir. 2000). The District Court can grant habeas relief only upon a showing by Smith ...


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