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Acosta v. United States

United States District Court, W.D. Texas, El Paso Division

April 12, 2017

YOSHIO I. ACOSTA, Reg. No. 73486-280, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          FRXNK MONTALVO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Yoshio I. Acosta, a self-represented inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution in Adelanto, California, petitions the Court to grant him credit toward the sentence imposed in EP-10-CR-3058-PRM-5 for the 16 months he spent under state control before the United States Marshals Service took him into exclusive federal custody. Acosta originally filed a petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. The California District Court construed Acosta's petition as a motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to correct his sentence and transferred it to this Court. For the reasons outlined below, the Court will deny Acosta's petition, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 2243, 2255(b).[1]

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On July 7, 2010, deputies with the El Paso County Sheriffs Department arrested Acosta on a capias for violating the probation ordered by Criminal District Court No. 1 in El Paso County, Texas, in Cause No. 20060D01825.[2]On September 16, 2010, the Criminal District Court sentenced Acosta to an aggregate three-year sentence for the following offenses:

         (a) In Cause No. 20060D01825, to a three-year term of imprisonment for possession of marijuana;[3]

         (b) In Cause No. 20090D05731, to a concurrent six-month term of imprisonment for delivery of a simulated controlled substance;[4]

         (c) In Cause No. 20100D03951, to a concurrent three-year term of imprisonment for burglary of habitation;[5] and

         (d) In Cause No. 20100D00927, to a concurrent three-year term of imprisonment for assault on family or house member by impeding breathing or circulation.[6]

         On December 1, 2010, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice ("TDCJ") determined that Acosta satisfied his sentence in state Cause No. 20090D05731. Then, on November 9, 2011, the TDCJ released Acosta to mandatory supervision in state Cause Numbers 20060D01825, 20100D03951, and 20100D00927.[7]

         Meanwhile, on February 16, 2011, the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas ("Texas District Court") issued a writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum and ordered the United States Marshal's Service ("USMS") to produce Acosta for federal proceedings in Criminal Cause No. EP-10-CR-3058-PRM-5.[8] On March 22, 2011, the USMS took Acosta into custody from the TDCJ.[9] On October 25, 2012, the Texas District Court sentenced Acosta to a 168-month term of imprisonment for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance, and to a 120-month term of imprisonment for felon in possession of a firearm, to be served concurrently with the state sentences in Criminal Cause Numbers 20060D01825, 20100D03951, and 20100D00927.[10] On December 17, 2012, the Texas District Court issued a second amended judgment and reduced Acosta's 168-month sentence to a 144-month term of imprisonment.[11]

         Based on the forgoing, the Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") computed Acosta's 144-month sentence as follows. First, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3585(a), the BOP determined that his sentence commenced on October 25, 2012, the date the Texas District Court imposed the original sentence. Next, the BOP awarded Acosta pre-sentence custody credit from November 10, 2011, the day after the TDCJ released Acosta to mandatory supervision in the three state criminal cases, through October 24, 2012, the day before the Texas District Court imposed his sentence.[12]

         Acosta now asserts the BOP failed to correctly calculate his federal sentence and asks this Court to adjust his sentence "to Reflect The [Texas] District Courts [sic] Sentencing Intentions to Credit Petitioner With The Time Served in The State." Specifically, he asks the Court to reduce his sentence by 16 months:

At the time of Petitioner's Federal Sentencing proceedings he had already served 27 months of his 36 month state sentence(s) and the FBOP only credited him for 11 months served while in "constructive custody." Thus, Petitioner asks that his 144 months sentence be adjusted to 128 months (144 less 16 months), and his 120 months sentence be adjusted to 104 months (120 less 16 months) to reflect the sentencing courts intentions to credit Petitioner for the time he had served in the state.[13]

         Thus, the only time period at issue is the time Acosta spent in state custody serving his state sentences from July 7, 2010, through November 9, 2011.

         APPLICABLE LAW

         A petitioner may attack the execution of his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241.[14]More specifically, a petitioner may use a § 2241 petition to attack "the prison authorities' determination of its duration."[15] To prevail, a § 2241 petitioner must show that he is "in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States."[16] A § 2241 petitioner may make this attack only in the district court with jurisdiction over his custodian.[17]

         By contrast, a motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 '"provides the primary means of collateral attack on a federal sentence.'"[18] Thus, relief under § 2255 is warranted for errors that occurred at trial or sentencing.[19] A § 2255 petitioner may only bring his motion in the district of conviction and sentence.[20]

         ANALYSIS

         The gravamen of Acosta's argument is that the BOP erred when it failed to award credit toward his current federal term of imprisonment for the time he spent in state custody while serving his state sentences. Specifically, Acosta asserts an entitlement to an additional sixteen months of credit toward his federal sentence for time he spent in state custody from July 7, 2010, the day he was arrested by The El Paso County Sheriffs Department, through November 9, 2011, the day the TDCJ granted him release under mandatory supervision and turned him over to the USMS.

         Pursuant to § 2241, a petitioner may only attack the manner in which his sentence is being executed in the district court with jurisdiction over his custodian.[21] The BOP currently confines Acosta at the Federal Correctional Institution in Adelanto, California. Adelanto is within the jurisdictional limits of the United States District Court for the Central District of California ("California District Court"). Thus, the California District Court, not the Texas District Court, has jurisdiction over his custodian.

         Acosta originally filed his petition in California District Court, but it transferred the case to this Court, reasoning it was not a § 2241 petition, but a § 2255 motion:

This Court does not have jurisdiction over Petitioner's claim. Although the petition challenges the BOP's computation of his sentence - a claim that, at first blush, falls within this court's jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 - Petitioner's claim requires the Court to determine the intent of the sentencing judge in ordering that Petitioner's federal sentence be served concurrently with his expired state sentence. Petitioner therefore challenges the legality of the sentence imposed, rather than the BOP's calculation of that sentence. Generally, a federal prisoner's exclusive remedy to challenge the legality of confinement is to file a motion in the jurisdiction of sentencing. See Hernandez v. Campbell, 204 F.3d 861, 864 (9th Cir. 2000). Although a federal prisoner may bring the same challenge under § 2241 in the jurisdiction of confinement if he or she can show that a remedy under § 2255 would be "inadequate or ineffective, " Petitioner has made no attempt to do so. Id.; see also 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e).[22]

         This Court will accordingly address Acosta's claim directly without regard to whether it is time or procedurally barred.

         "After a district court sentences a federal offender, the Attorney General, through the BOP, has the responsibility for administering the sentence."[23] Thus the BOP, not the judiciary, is responsible for implementing the ...


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