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Ward v. Bureau of Prisons

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division

April 2, 2019

BRENDA WARD (BOP Register No. 49221-177), Petitioner,
v.
BUREAU OF PRISONS, Respondent.

          FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          DAVID L. HORAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Petitioner Brenda Ward, a federal prisoner convicted in this Court and in custody in this district, filed a pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 requesting that the Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) provide her “a full 12 months of halfway house and/or home confinement as per First Step Act, title 5.” Dkt. No. 3 at 5. This resulting action has been referred to the undersigned United States magistrate judge for pretrial management under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and a standing order of reference from Senior United States District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater. See also Amended Special Order No. 3-250 (N.D. Tex. Aug. 24, 2011), ¶ 3 (“A petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 will be directly assigned to the judge in the division who previously presided over a criminal case involving the defendant, if any.”). The undersigned enters these findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendation that the Court should summarily dismiss the habeas petition.

         Applicable Background

         As the Court set out in denying Ward's motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, she

pleaded guilty to health care fraud. See United States v. Ward, No. 3:15-cr-67-D (01) (N.D. Tex.), Dkt. No. 29. A Presentence Report (“PSR”) was prepared and later amended through an addendum. See United States v. Ward, No. 3:15-cr-67-D (01) (N.D. Tex.), Dkt. Nos. 20 & 26. The PSR proposed a total offense level of 25 under the United States Sentencing Guidelines [ ]; that calculation factored in a 16-level increase because Ward's intended loss - $1, 639, 926.90 - was more than $1, 000, 000 but less than $3, 500, 000, and a 2-level increase because her offense involved more than 10 victims - Medicaid plus the 572 individuals whose means of identification she used unlawfully. See United States v. Ward, No. 3:15-cr-67-D (01) (N.D. Tex.), Dkt. No. 26. The Court adopted the PSR and sentenced Ward to 57 months in prison and two years of supervised release. See United States v. Ward, No. 3:15-cr-67-D (01) (N.D. Tex.), Dkt. Nos. 29 & 30.
After an unsuccessful direct appeal, see United States v. Ward, No. 16-10126 (5th Cir. Mar. 8, 2016), Ward timely filed [the] Section 2255 motion[, which the Court denied with prejudice.]

Ward v. United States, No. 3:16-cv-3128-D-BN, 2018 WL 2031880, at *1 (N.D. Tex. Apr. 3, 2018), rec. adopted, 2018 WL 2017587 (N.D. Tex. May 1, 2018).

         BOP records available online reflect that Ward's current projected release date is April 26, 2020.

         Legal Standards and Analysis

         “Federal courts are authorized, under 28 U.S.C. § 2243, to dispose of habeas corpus matters ‘as law and justice require, '” Hilton v. Braunskill, 481 U.S. 770, 775 (1987). This statute “authorizes a district court to summarily dismiss a frivolous habeas-corpus petition prior to any answer or other pleading by the government, ” Gatte v. Upton, No. 4:14-cv-376-Y, 2014 WL 2700656, at *1 (N.D. Tex. June 13, 2014) (footnote omitted). And, under the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts - equally applicable “to § 2241 habeas cases, ” Romero v. Cole, No. 1:16-cv-148, 2016 WL 2893709, at *2 & n.4 (W.D. La. Apr. 13, 2016) (collecting authority, including Castillo v. Pratt, 162 F.Supp.2d 575, 576 (N.D. Tex. 2001)), rec. accepted, 2016 WL 2844013 (W.D. La. May 12, 2016) - “[i]f it plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court, the judge must dismiss the petition, ” Rule 4, Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts.

As another federal district court in Texas recently explained,
three statutes govern the discretion of the [BOP] to place inmates in particular facilities: 18 U.S.C. § 3621(b) grants the BOP the authority to designate places of confinement; 18 U.S.C. § 3624 (a part of the Second Chance Act of 2007) authorizes the BOP to provide post-imprisonment rehabilitation services in community corrections facilities; and 34 U.S.C. § 60541 (a part of the First Step Act of 2018) permits the BOP to grant prisoners who participate in reentry and skills development programs the maximum allowable period in a community corrections facilities. It also allows the BOP to place elderly prisoners in home confinement.

Burg v. Nicklin, No. EP-19-CV-24-FM, 2019 WL 369153, at *2 (W.D. Tex. Jan. 29, 2019) (emphasis ...


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