United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Brunswick Division
ORDER and MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
STAN BAKER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
James Coury Holmes (“Holmes”), who is currently
housed at the Federal Correctional Institution in Estill,
South Carolina, filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 while housed at the Federal
Correctional Institution in Jesup, Georgia (“FCI
Jesup”). (Doc. 1.) Respondent filed a Response. (Doc.
12.) Holmes filed a Reply to Respondent's Response. (Doc.
17.) Respondent then filed a Reply Brief in Support of his
Response, (doc. 19), to which Holmes filed a Rebuttal, (doc.
21). For the reasons which follow, I RECOMMEND that the Court
DISMISS Holmes' Petition in part and DENY Holmes'
Petition in part, CLOSE this case, and DENY Holmes in forma
pauperis status on appeal.
was convicted in the District of South Carolina of bank
robbery and use of a firearm during and in relation to a
crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§
2113(a), (d), and 924(c)(1). (Doc. 12-1, pp. 8-9.) He was
sentenced to 1, 057 months' imprisonment. (Id.)
Holmes has a projected release date of September 3, 2076, via
good conduct release, to be followed by five years'
supervised release. (Id. at p. 2.)
addition to Holmes' term of imprisonment, the sentencing
court imposed a special assessment of $800.00 and ordered him
to pay $82, 423.00 in restitution. (Id. at p. 3.)
The court recommended that Holmes participate in the Inmate
Financial Responsibility Program (“IFRP”) to
satisfy his assessment and restitution obligations.
(Id. at p. 11.) On October 14, 2013, while housed at
FCI Jesup, Holmes signed an agreement pursuant to the IFRP
wherein he agreed to pay $25.00 per month beginning in
November 2013. (Id. at pp. 4, 22.) The Bureau of
Prisons (“BOP”) reassessed Holmes' financial
plan the following year and increased his monthly payments to
$35.00 per month, after determining that Holmes had deposited
$1, 050.00 into his inmate trust account during the preceding
six months. (Id. at p. 4.) Holmes refused to pay
this increased amount and was placed in IFRP refuse status,
which resulted in the loss of certain privileges.
person sentenced to pay a fine or other monetary penalty . .
. shall make such payment immediately, unless, in the
interest of justice, the court provides for payment on a date
certain or in installments.” 18 U.S.C. §
3572(d)(1). Accordingly, the BOP enacted the IFRP to
encourage “each sentenced inmate to meet his or her
legitimate financial obligations.” Williams v.
Pearson, 197 F. App'x 872, 876 (11th Cir 2006)
(citing 28 C.F.R. § 545.10). “The regulations
provide that, when an inmate has a financial obligation,
including the special assessment and restitution imposed at
sentencing, BOP staff ‘shall help that inmate develop a
financial plan and shall monitor the inmate's progress in
meeting that obligation.'” Id. at 876-77
(citing 28 C.F.R. § 545.11.) In doing so, BOP staff
conduct an independent assessment of an inmate's ability
to pay by reviewing the inmate's financial obligations
and all available documentation. 28 C.F.R. § 545.11(a).
The BOP may obtain payments from funds earned through prison
employment as well as from funds received from outside
sources, such as money sent by relatives. Id. at
§ 545.11(b). “The IFRP . . . is a voluntary
program[.]” Williams, 197 F. App'x at 877
(citing 28 C.F.R. § 545.11(d)). However, refusal by an
inmate to participate in the IFRP or to comply with the
provisions of his or her financial plan ordinarily results in
the limitation of certain privileges. See id. at 877
(citing 28 C.F.R. § 545.11(d)).
Petition, Holmes first contends the sentencing court
improperly delegated the duty to manage his restitution
payments to the BOP. (Doc. 1, pp. 8, 9.) Next, Plaintiff
argues BOP staff did not properly calculate exemptions before
determining his monthly restitution payment, as required by
BOP Program Statement 5380.08. (Id.) Alternatively,
Plaintiff argues that he is not required to pay restitution
payments until he is released from prison. (Id. at
p. 9.) Finally, Holmes argues prison staff violated his due
process rights by reducing his pay grade at his prison
detail, restricting his commissary purchases to $25.00 per
month, and placing him in a three-man cell, in response to
Holmes' refusal to make increased IFRP
contends the BOP followed policy in calculating Holmes'
increased monthly restitution payment and that the sentencing
court did not improperly delegate this duty to the BOP. (Doc.
12, pp. 1-2.) Respondent further contends that, to the extent
Holmes challenges the sentencing court's judgment as to
his restitution payment, that claim is not cognizable via 28
U.S.C. § 2241 and must be brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255. Finally, Respondent argues that Holmes'
withdrawal of privileges pursuant to his refusal to
participate in the IFRP does not violate his constitutional
rights. The Court addresses each of these contentions in
Whether the Sentencing Court Properly Delegated IFRP Duty to
to the [Mandatory Victims Restitution Act]”
(“MVRA”), “the district court must order
restitution to victims in the full amount of their
losses.” Young v. Augustine, No. 5:11cv396,
2012 WL 6955480, at *4 (N.D. Fla. Dec. 12, 2012) (citing 18
U.S.C. §§ 3663A(a)(1), 3664(f)(1)(A)). “Once
restitution is ordered, the district court must specify the
manner and schedule according to which restitution will be
paid.” Id. (citing 18 U.S.C. §
3664(f)(1)(B)(2)). “A district court may order that
restitution be paid in a single, lump sum payment, partial
payments at specified intervals, or a combination of payments
at specified intervals.” Id. (citing 18 U.S.C.
§ 3664(f)(1)(B)(3)). “When a restitution order
permits other than immediate payment, the district court must
set the payment schedule.” Id. (citing 18
U.S.C. § 3572(d)).
upon the statutory provisions laid out above, Holmes contends
that setting his payment schedule is a “core judicial
function, ” and that the BOP's assumption of that
duty is illegal. While Holmes attempts to characterize this
argument as one regarding the BOP's execution of his
sentence, his claim that the sentencing court improperly
delegated its duty to set his payment schedule to the BOP
challenges the validity of that sentence. Challenges to the
validity of a restitution order may not be brought pursuant
to Section 2241. See Austin v. United States, 368 F.
App'x 53, 54 (11th Cir. 2010) (petitioner's claim
that district court improperly delegated authority to BOP to
set restitution payment schedule may not be brought in
Section 2241 petition); Williams, 197 F. App'x
at 877 (same); see also Simmons v. United States,
232 F. App'x 952, 953 (11th Cir. 2007) (“While
[petitioner] characterizes his argument as an attack on the
execution of his sentence, a charge of improper delegation
challenges the validity of the sentence itself.”).
Accordingly, Holmes may not pursue this claim via his Section
2241 Petition. The Court should DISMISS
this portion of Holmes' Petition on this basis.
II. Whether the BOP Properly Calculated
Petitioner's IFRP Payments
to BOP Program Statement 5380.08, “[i]n developing an
inmate's financial plan, the Unit Team shall first”
note the balance of the inmate's prison trust fund
account. (Doc. 12-1, p. 86.) The Unit Team shall then
“subtract from the trust fund account [balance] the
inmate's minimum payment schedule, according to his
UNICOR pay grade or non-UNICOR work assignment. (Id. at
p. 87.) “The Unit Team shall then exclude from its
assessment $75.00 [per] month deposited into the inmate's
trust fund account. This $75.00 is excluded to ...