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Dixon v. Quintana

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington

June 6, 2017

DARREN DENARD DIXON, Petitioner,
v.
FRANCISCO QUINTANA, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

          KAREN K. CALDWELL, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF KENTUCKY

         Inmate Darren Denard Dixon is confined at the Federal Medical Center (“FMC”)-Lexington in Lexington, Kentucky. Proceeding without counsel, Dixon has filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, challenging the manner in which the Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) has calculated his federal sentence. [R. 1] Dixon is currently serving concurrent sentences imposed in separate cases by the District Court for the District of South Carolina, Florence Division in United States v. Darren Denard Dixon, No. 4:11-CR-264-RBH (D.S.C. 2011) and United States v. Darren Denard Dixon, No. 4:07-CR-360-TLW-3 (D.S.C. 2007). Although the materials submitted by Dixon reflect that the BOP's sentence computation for Dixon results in a release date of July 12, 2017 [R. 1-2], Dixon argues that it was the intent of the sentencing court in his 2011 case that Dixon's release date be June 7, 2017. Dixon has also filed a motion for expedited disposition of his petition. [R. 5][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). A petition will be denied “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 Dixon's petition under a more lenient standard because he is not represented by an attorney. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). At this stage of the proceedings, the Court accepts Dixon's factual allegations as true and construes all legal claims in his favor. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007). However, having reviewed the § 2241 petition, the Court must deny it because Dixon has not set forth grounds entitling him to the relief he seeks.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On September 29, 2008, pursuant to a plea agreement with the United States, Dixon pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute narcotics in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846 in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina Florence Division. United States v. Darren Denard Dixon, No. 4:07-CR-360-TLW-3 (D.S.C. 2007) [Plea Agreement, Entry No. 231; Minute Entry, Entry No. 232; Guilty Plea, Entry No. 233] (Dixon's “2007 drug case”). On March 31, 2009, Dixon was sentenced to a term of one hundred months of imprisonment, to be followed by five years of supervised release. [Id. at Minute Entry, Entry No. 271; Judgment, Entry No. 273]

         On May 8, 2010, Dixon escaped from custody while serving his sentence at Federal Correctional Institution (“FCI”)-Williamsburg in Salters, South Carolina [Id. at Order, Entry No. 310] Accordingly, in February 2011, Dixon was indicted in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, Florence Division, on one count of knowingly escaping from custody from FCI-Williamsburg, in violation of 21 U.S.C § 751(a). United States v. Darren Denard Dixon, No. 4:11-CR-264-RBH (D.S.C. 2011) [Indictment, Entry No. 2] (Dixon's “2011 escape case”). In June 2011, pursuant to a plea agreement with the United States, Dixon pled guilty to knowingly escaping from custody [Id. at Plea Agreement, Entry No. 52; Minute Entry, Entry No. 55], and on December 8, 2011, Dixon was sentenced to a term of seven months of imprisonment on the escape charge, to be followed by three years of supervised release [Id. at Judgment, Entry No. 119] The Judgment in Dixon's escape case also specified that his sentence for the escape charge was to run consecutive to Dixon's sentence for his drug charges imposed in 4:07-CR-360-TLW-3. [Id. at Judgment, Entry No. 119]

         On July 16, 2015, while on supervised release for both his 2007 drug conviction and his 2011 escape conviction, Dixon was arrested by the Coweta County (Georgia) Sheriff's Department for Fraud Using Financial Transaction Card, Fraud Identity and Obstruction of Officers. United States v. Dixon, No. 4:07-CR-360-TLW-3 [Motion, Entry No. 346]; United States v. Dixon, No. 4:11-CR-264-RBH [Petition/Motion, Entry No. 138] According to the incident report, Dixon and a co-defendant were allegedly using multiple fraudulent credit cards and fictitious identification to purchase hundreds of dollars' worth of gift cards and Home Depot and Academy Sports. [Id.] On September 13, 2016, Chief Judge for the District Court of South Carolina Terry L. Wooten held a final hearing regarding the revocation of Dixon's supervised release in Dixon's 2007 drug case, revoked Dixon's supervised release, and committed Dixon to the custody of the BOP for a total term of nine months imprisonment with no supervised release to follow. United States v. Dixon, No. 4:07-CR-360-TLW-3 [Minute Entry, Entry No. 365; Judgment for Revocation, Entry No. 369]

         On October 18, 2016, Judge R. Bryan Harwell, United States District Judge for the District of South Carolina, held a final hearing regarding the revocation of Dixon's supervised release in Dixon's 2011 escape case. United States v. Dixon, No. 4:11-CR-264-RBH [Minute Entry, Entry No. 157] On October 20, 2016, Judge Harwell entered a Judgment revoking Dixon's supervised release in that case and committing Dixon to the custody of the BOP to be imprisoned for a total term of nine months, with no supervised release to follow. [Id. at Judgment, Entry No. 159] The Judgment further stated that the date of imposition of Judgment was October 18, 2016 and that the sentence imposed pursuant to the Judgment shall run concurrent with the sentence imposed in Case No. 4:07-CR-360-TLW-3 (Dixon's 2007 drug case) [Id.]

         In his § 2241 petition, Dixon challenges the BOP's calculation of his current release date. [R. 1] Although the BOP has set his release for July 12, 2017, Dixon argues that his release date should be June 7, 2017. Dixon asserts that the BOP's calculation of his sentence fails to account for the fact that Judge Harwell ordered Dixon's October 18, 2016 sentence to run concurrent with the sentence imposed by Judge Wooten on September 21, 2016. In support of his claim, Dixon attaches a portion of the transcript from the hearing conducted by Judge Harwell on October 18, 2016, and argues that this transcript shows that there was an agreement between defense counsel, the prosecution, and the Court regarding Dixon's request for a sentence that would permit him to attend his daughter's high school graduation ceremony in June 2017. [R. 1, R. 1-1, Transcript] Although the primary relief sought by Dixon is release from prison on June 7, 2017, in the alternative, he requests the imposition of bond/bail or other temporary arrangements that would permit him to attend his daughter's high school graduation ceremony on terms of personal recognizance or U.S. Marshal Service custody, to be returned to FMC-Lexington at the conclusion of the ceremony to serve the remainder of his sentence.

         II. ANALYSIS

         As a point of clarification, Dixon appears to be confused about the relationship between his sentences in his two separate criminal cases. He seems to be under the impression that, after his criminal conduct he committed while on supervised release in July 2015, he should have only be sentenced one time, in one case, in front of one judge for one supervised release violation. In his motion for expedited disposition, Dixon states that “[f]or reasons unknown to Petitioner, the identical matters were assigned to different Judges of the Florence Division of the District of South Carolina, rather than both reverting to the Judge who was required by law to hear the case of the Violation of Terms of Supervised Release.” [R. 5, Motion at p. 2] However, Dixon overlooks that he was on supervised release in two separate criminal cases - his 2007 drug case and his 2011 escape case. Thus, his criminal conduct in July 2015 resulted in two separate supervised release violations, one in his 2007 drug case and one in his 2011 escape case. Accordingly, the imposition of two separate sentences for these two separate violations was appropriate.

         Calculation of a federal prisoner's sentence, including both its commencement date and any credits for custody before the sentence is imposed, is determined by federal statute:

(a) A sentence to a term of imprisonment commences on the date the defendant is received in custody awaiting transportation to, or arrives voluntarily to commence service of sentence at, the official detention facility at which the sentence is to be served.
(b) A defendant shall be given credit toward the service of a term of imprisonment for any time he has spent in official detention prior ...

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