United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Fort Worth Division
RONALD M. HOENIG, Petitioner,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.
OPINION AND ORDER
R. MEANS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus under
U.S.C. § 2241 filed by petitioner Ronald M. Hoenig, a
federal prisoner presently assigned to a Dallas Residential
Re-entry facility operated by the Volunteers of America in
Hutchins, Texas. After considering the pleading and relief
sought by Petitioner and the applicable law, the Court
concludes that the § 2241 petition must be dismissed.
BACKGROUND/CLAIM FOR RELIEF
Ronald M. Hoenig was convicted in this Court for being a
felon in possession of a firearm (Class A Felony) in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § § 922(g)(1) and 924(e)(1).
United States v. Hoenig, No.4:02-CR-035-Y(1)(N.D.
Tex. Nov. 26, 2002). Hoenig was sentenced to a term of
imprisonment of 240 months. Id. At this time, the
Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) shows Hoenig's
projected release date as September 23, 2019. See
www.bop.gov/inmate locator (last visited May 6,
petition, Hoenig alleges that his current scheduled release
date of September 23, 2019, is no longer correct.
Specifically, he cites to the passage of the First Step Act
of 2018 (“FSA 2018") as entitling him to
additional days of good conduct time (“GCT”)
credits. (Pet. (doc. 1) at 2.) Hoenig alleges he should be
entitled to release on May 23, 2019. Id.
102(b)(1) of the First Step Act of 2018, Public Law No.
115-391, (“FSA”) amended 18 U.S.C. § 3624(b)
to permit federal inmates to earn 54 days of good conduct
time for each year of the prisoner's sentence imposed by
the court, rather than for each year of the sentence served,
effectively abrogating Barber v. Thomas, 560 U.S.
474, 476 (2010)(upholding the BOP's method of awarding
good-time credit at the end of each year the prisoner
served). See Public Law 115-391, 132 Stat. 5194,
§ 102(b)(1). But the good-time calculation provisions of
the FSA did not become effective when the law was signed on
December 21, 2018. See Banegas v. Wilson, No.
4:19-CV-178-A (N.D. Tex. Mar. 26, 2019) (McBryde, J.);
Roy v. Bureau of Prisons, No. 2:19-CV-59-RMP, 2019
WL 1441622, at *1 (E.D. Wash. April 1, 2019). Rather, the
good-time-credit change will not take effect until the
Attorney General completes the “risk and needs
assessment system” required to be completed within 210
days after the December 21, 2018 enactment, as provided by
§§ 101(a) and 102(b)(2) of the FSA. See
Schmutzler v. Quintana, No.5:19-046-DCR, 2019 WL 727794,
at *2 (E.D. Ky. Feb. 20, 2019). Therefore, § 102(b)(1)
will not take effect until approximately mid-July 2019.
Id.; Banegas, No. 4:19-CV-178-A (doc. 7.)
courts are limited under Article III of the Constitution to
deciding “cases” and “controversies.”
U.S. Const. art. III, § 2. “In order to give
meaning to Article III's case-or-controversy requirement,
the courts have developed justiciability doctrines, such as
the standing and ripeness doctrines.” Sample v.
Morrison, 406 F.3d 310, 312 (5th Cir. 2005)(citing
United Transp. Union v. Foster, 205 F.3d 851, 857
(5th Cir. 2000) and Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife,
504 U.S. 555, 650 (1992)). The ripeness doctrine is designed
“to prevent the courts, through avoidance of premature
adjudication, from entangling themselves in abstract
disagreements over administrative policies, and also to
protect the agencies from judicial interference until an
administrative decision has been formalized and its effects
felt in a concrete way by the challenging parties.”
Id. (quoting Nat'l Park Hosp. Ass'n v.
Dep't of Interior, 538 U.S. 803, 807-08
(2003)(internal citations omitted)).
the BOP does not have the authority to recalculate
Hoenig's good-time credit until the relevant provisions
of the FSA take effect in approximately mid-July 2019, the
question of whether the BOP has erred in the calculation of
Hoenig's sentence is premature and not yet ripe.
Accord Banegas v. Wilson, No.4:19-CV-178-A (N.D.
Tex. Mar. 26, 2019)(dismissing § 2241 petition seeking
re-calculation of good-time credits as premature) (McBryde,
J.); Gossman v. Underwood, No.3:19-CV-351-G (BK)
(N.D. Tex. April 1, 2019)(Fish, J.)(adopting findings,
conclusions, and recommendation to dismiss § 2241
petition seeking recalculation of good-time without prejudice
as premature); Roy v. BOP, 2019 WL 1441622 at *2
(discussing “ripeness” doctrine and finding that
§ 2241 petition challenging good-time under the FSA was
premature). Accordingly, Hoenig's present petition under
§ 2241 must be dismissed without prejudice.
reasons discussed herein, petitioner Ronald M. Hoenig's
petition for relief under 28 U.S.C. § ...