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Bates v. Saad

United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia

August 15, 2019

RICHARD LEE BATES, Petitioner,
v.
JENNIFER SAAD, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DENYING RESPONDENT'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION [DKT. NO. 29]

          IRENE M. KEELEY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On April 15, 2019, the respondent, Jennifer Saad (“Saad”), moved the Court to reconsider its March 26, 2019 Memorandum Opinion and Order, granting in part the Petitioner's § 2241 petition, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 60(b) (Dkt. No. 26). For the reasons that follow, the Court DENIES Saad's motion (Dkt. No. 29).

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Background [1]

         On May 31, 2012, the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia sentenced the petitioner, Richard Lee Bates (“Bates”), to 46 months of imprisonment for distribution of Oxycodone, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) (Count 3), and 60 months of imprisonment for possession of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking offense, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1) (Count 4), for a total term of 106 months (Dkt. No. 13-2 at 2-3). In July 2012, the Henry Circuit Court, in Henry County, Virginia, sentenced Bates to 10 years of imprisonment with 5 years suspended, which he began serving on August 30, 2012. Id. at 3. When Bates completed his state sentence on March 9, 2016, he was transferred to the custody of the United States Marshals Service to begin serving his federal sentence of 106 months (Dkt. No. 13-3 at 14).

         In May 2016, Bates sought a two-level reduction of his sentence for distribution of Oxycodone (Count 3) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 994(u). Id. at 15. The Western District of Virginia granted Bates's motion and reduced his total term of imprisonment from 106 to 97 months (37 months on Count 3 and 60 months on Count 4). Id.

         In June 2016, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) granted Bates's request for a nunc pro tunc designation as to Count 3. Id. at 16-18. To effectuate the nunc pro tunc designation, the BOP selected a retroactive start date for Bates's federal sentence so that his 37-month sentence on Count 3 would run concurrently with his previously-served state sentence and his 60-month sentence on Count 4--which had to be served consecutively to any other sentence--would begin on March 9, 2016, the day he was transferred in to federal custody (Dkt. No. 13-2 at 3).

         According to the BOP's calculation, Bates would begin his 37-month sentence on July 1, 2013, and satisfy it on March 8, 2016, the day before being released to federal custody to begin serving his 60-month sentence on Count 4. Id. Accordingly, the BOP has contended here that Bates would satisfy his 60-month sentence on July 13, 2021--more than 64 months later--less good conduct time (“GCT”) (Dkt. No. 13-3 at 23).

         B. Procedural Background

         On August 16, 2017, Bates filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 in which he alleged that, after his nunc pro tunc designation was granted, the BOP miscalculated his credit for time spent in state prison (Dkt. No. 1). In response, Saad filed a motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 13). On October 24, 2018, the Honorable Michael J. Aloi, United States Magistrate Judge, issued a Report and Recommendation (“R&R”), recommending that the Court grant Saad's motion and dismiss Bates's petition (Dkt. No. 20).

         On March 26, 2019, the Court rejected the R&R, denied Saad's motion, granted in part Bates's § 2241 petition, and directed the BOP to recalculate both the retroactive start and end dates of Bates's federal sentence (Dkt. No. 26). This Court's decision was based on the conclusion that “the BOP's decision fail[ed] to persuade under any deferential standard because the BOP clearly abused its discretion when it selected July 1, 2013, as the retroactive start of Bates's 37-month term of imprisonment.” Id. at 9-10. In support, the Court explained that, by selecting July 1, 2013 as the retroactive start date for his sentence on Count 3, the BOP had effectively extended Bates's total 60-month term of imprisonment by 4-plus months. Id. at 10-12.

         When Saad filed her timely motion for reconsideration (Dkt. No. 29), she included a previously unproferred explanation of how the BOP calculates the start and end dates of federal sentences (Dkt. No. 29-1), and asserted that the correct end date for Bates's federal sentence is July 31, 2021, less GCT (Dkt. No. 29 at 5).

         II. APPLICABLE LAW

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b), courts may relieve a party from a final judgment, order, or ...


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