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United States v. Bates

United States District Court, D. Utah

August 21, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
DANIEL DUANE BATES, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER DENYING MOTION TO MODIFY SENTENCE

          David Nuffer " United States District Judge

         Defendant Daniel Duane Bates seeks to modify his sentence to include credit for his pretrial detention.[1] Because only the Bureau of Prisons has the power to grant sentence credit in the first instance, jurisdiction is lacking. Therefore, Mr. Bates's Motion[2] is DENIED.

         BACKGROUND

         Mr. Bates was arrested on September 6, 2017, and originally charged in state court.[3] He was indicted on federal charges on October 11, 2017.[4] Mr. Bates was then writted out of state custody[5] and made his initial appearance on the federal charges on October 18, 2017.[6] Mr. Bates elected to remain in federal custody, [7] and was sentenced on March 28, 2018.[8]

         At the time of his sentencing, Mr. Bates had three pending state cases.[9] He was sentenced on his federal charges to 42 months in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons to run concurrently with his state cases.[10] The 42-month sentence was a downward variance from his guideline range of 51 to 63 months.[11] This variation was based, in part, on complications that existed with Mr. Bates's state cases that created uncertainty as to whether he would receive credit for his pretrial detention.[12]

         Mr. Bates has since learned that the Bureau of Prisons elected to count his time served only from his March 28, 2018 sentencing date.[13] He now seeks to modify his sentence to receive credit for the time he served in pretrial detention from his September 6, 2017 arrest.[14]

         DISCUSSION

         “A defendant convicted of a federal crime has a right under 18 U.S.C. § 3585(b) to receive credit for certain time spent in official detention before his sentence begins.”[15] However, the Supreme Court has held that “§ 3585(b) does not authorize a district court to compute the credit at sentencing.”[16] Rather, “[a]fter a district court sentences a federal offender, the Attorney General, through the [Bureau of Prisons], has the responsibility for administering the sentence.”[17] “Because the offender has a right to certain jail-time credit under § 3585(b), and because the district court cannot determine the amount of the credit at sentencing, the Attorney General has no choice but to make the determination as an administrative matter when imprisoning the defendant.”[18] Therefore, “a district court is without jurisdiction to award a sentence credit at sentencing.”[19]

         “In order to challenge the calculation of credit for time served, [a d]efendant must first exhaust all of his administrative remedies with the Bureau of Prisons before he seeks judicial review regarding the calculation of credit for time served.”[20] “Once [the defendant] has done so, if [un]satisfied with the Bureau of Prisons' resolution of [the] request for sentence credit, [the defendant] may raise the issue by filing a petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241.[21] And “such petition must be filed in the judicial district where [the d]efendant is held in custody at the time such a petition is filed.”[22]

         Because Mr. Bates seeks to modify his sentence to receive credit for time served, [23] and the district court lacks jurisdiction to grant such credit, [24] Mr. Bates's Motion is DENIED.

         Regardless, the issue of Mr. Bates's pretrial detention was already addressed at his sentencing hearing. There, counsel properly argued for a downward variance from the guideline sentencing range due to complications with Mr. Bates's state cases that created uncertainty as to whether he would receive credit for his pretrial detention.[25] While the district court lacks jurisdiction to grant credit for time served, it may factor a defendant's pretrial detention into its sentencing calculation. This occurred when Mr. Bates received a downward variance from his guideline sentencing range.[26] Effectively, Mr. Bates received credit for the time he served in pretrial detention when he received the downward variance.

         ORDER

         IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that ...


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