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Monroe L. Coleman v. Richard B. Ives

April 30, 2013



Monroe Coleman is an individual confined at the United States Penitentiary - McCreary in Pine Knot, Kentucky. Proceeding without counsel, Coleman has filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 challenging the Bureau of Prisons' (BOP) computation of his good time credits and his parole eligibility date. [R. 1]

The Court conducts an initial review of habeas corpus petitions. 28 U.S.C. § 2243; Alexander v. Northern Bureau of Prisons, 419 F. App'x 544, 545 (6th Cir. 2011). The Court must deny the petition "if it plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief." Rule 4 of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts (applicable to § 2241 petitions pursuant to Rule 1(b)). The Court evaluates Coleman's petition under a more lenient standard because he is not represented by an attorney. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); Burton v. Jones, 321 F.3d 569, 573 (6th Cir. 2003). At this stage, the Court accepts the petitioner's factual allegations as true, and his legal claims are liberally construed in his favor. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007). Because the Court requires more information in order to properly consider Coleman's claims, the respondent Warden will be directed to file a response to his habeas petition.


Coleman states that he was convicted in D.C. Superior Court of (1) Armed Robbery; (2) Assault with Intent to Commit Robbery While Armed; (3) First-Degree Murder; and (4) Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin. Coleman does not specify when he was convicted on these offenses, but he does state that they occurred during 1983 and 1984, suggesting that they may not have occurred on the same date and/or that he may have been convicted on these offenses on different dates.*fn1 Coleman states that he received a sentence of twelve years to life on the Armed Robbery and Assault with Intent to Commit Robbery While Armed charges, a mandatory sentence of twenty years to Life on the First-Degree Murder charge, and a sentence of twelve to thirty-six years on the Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin charge. [R. 1, pp. 1-2] Coleman does not specify whether these sentences were imposed on the same date or on different dates, and he does not specify whether they were concurrent or consecutive sentences.*fn2

In responding to Coleman's Administrative Remedy #675097, the Warden stated that: An investigation of your request reveals 2,880 days of statutory good time (SGT) have been applied to reduce your parole eligibility date (PED) to March 22, 2021. Prior to application of the SGT, your PED was February 8, 2029.

[R. 3-1, p. 7] In denying Coleman's appeal of his Administrative Remedy, the BOP has further advised Coleman that 352 days of jail credit have been deducted from his sentence that began on January 27, 1986, and the BOP reiterates that Coleman is eligible for 2,880 days of SGT, resulting in a PED of March 22, 2021. [R. 3-1, p. 8]

Coleman states that he has been incarcerated a few months short of 28 years.*fn3 He contends that he is entitled to more good time credits and/or additional types of good time credits (educational, meritorious, institutional (statutory), and industrial) on his sentence than the BOP has awarded him, resulting in a miscalculation of his parole eligibility date (PED). Coleman submits that the BOP has applied the wrong policy to him in determining the amount SGT and other good time credits to which he is entitled. When he receives all of the good time credits he has allegedly earned, his PED should be sooner than March 22, 2021.


Coleman was convicted in D.C. Superior Court, rather than a federal district court. Consequently, calculating Coleman's sentence, determining the amount and type of good time credits which he may earn, and arriving at his PED is an onerous task, made more so because Coleman is an "old law" D.C. Code offender, having committed his offense conduct prior to April 11, 1987. The BOP's calculation of sentences for D.C. prisoners is set out in its Program Statement ("PS") 5880.33, entitled District of Columbia Sentence Computation Manual, a 110-page manual, detailing the calculation of D.C. sentences and the award of good time credits. The calculation of a D.C. sentence and the award of good time credits varies depending on when an offense was committed or when a sentence was imposed. Chapter 11 of PS 5880.33, entitled "Calculation of Sentence for Offenses Committed Prior to April 11, 1987" appears to apply to Coleman.*fn4 More detailed information concerning "old law" prisoners, such as Coleman, is contained in the Sentence Computation Manual - Old Law, which is archived and is available to BOP staff in the Archived Policy area on Sallyport. See PS 5880.33, page 1.*fn5

As a result, calculating Coleman's PED is different and much more complicated than it would be for inmates who are not "old law" inmates and for those convicted of federal offenses. See, e.g., Wellington v. Hogsten, 2012 WL 1565260 (E.D. Ky. May 1, 2012). In Coleman's case, presently there is insufficient information to determine whether the BOP has awarded him all of the credit on his sentence to which he is entitled and has correctly determined his PED. For these reasons, the Warden will be directed to respond to Coleman's habeas petition.


Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that:

1. The Respondent in this action is Richard B. Ives, Warden at USP-McCreary. The Clerk is directed to terminate Charles E. Samuels as a named respondent.

2. The Warden is directed to file a response to Coleman's habeas petition filed pursuant ...

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