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Compean v. Johns

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Waycross Division

September 29, 2017

MIGUEL ANGEL COMPEAN, Petitioner,
v.
TRACY JOHNS, Warden, Respondent.

          ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          R. STAN BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Petitioner Miguel Angel Compean (“Compean”), who is currently housed at D. Ray James Correctional Facility in Folkston, Georgia, filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. (Doc. 2.) Respondent filed a Response, (doc. 9), and Compean filed a Reply, (doc. 12). In their briefs, the parties dispute whether the Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) properly calculated the service of Compean's sentence issued by the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas. As detailed below, Compean failed to exhaust his available administrative remedies prior to bringing this issue to this Court. Thus, I RECOMMEND that the Court DISMISS without prejudice Compean's Petition, DIRECT the Clerk of Court to CLOSE this case and enter the appropriate judgment of dismissal, and DENY Compean in forma pauperis status on appeal.

         However, as explained below, if the Court does not dismiss Compean's Petition for failure to exhaust, the Court will need to expand the record to address the merits of Compean's Petition. Respondent's substantive arguments and supporting documentation regarding Compean's sentencing calculation are incomplete and give rise to grave concerns regarding the BOP's calculation of Compean's sentence. Given these concerns, I ORDER Respondent's counsel to provide a copy of this Report and Recommendation to the Section Chief for Sentence Computations at BOP's Designation and Sentence Computation Center.

         BACKGROUND

         On December 7, 2012, an officer with the Greenville, Texas, Police Department arrested Compean for violating a promise to appear and the traffic violations of driving while license invalid and driving with a child under eight not secured by a safety belt. (Doc. 9-2, pp. 5-18, 40.) These misdemeanor offenses were charged in the Justice Court, Precinct 2, Collin County, Texas, in Case Numbers 01-TR-12-00382, 01-TR-11-05935, 01-TR-11-05936.[1] (Id.) Though the Court does not have complete records for these misdemeanor cases, it appears that Compean posted bond after his arrest, as the docket reports for all three cases include the notation “Posted Bond.” (Id. at pp. 9, 13, 17.) However, Compean remained in the Hunt County Jail. (Id.) Compean entered nolo contendere pleas in these three cases on December 8, 2012. (Id.) He received fines of: $155.00 in Case Number 01-TR-11-05935; $21.75 in Case Number 01-TR-11-05936; and $250.00 in Case Number 01-TR-12-00382. (Id.) It appears Compean paid these fines by some method, as the docket sheets list his fine amount balance as “$0.00.” (Id.) The Justice Court did not sentence Compean to any time in custody on these charges. Rather, the case dockets indicate that he was released from the Hunt County Jail on December 10, 2012, and the documents regarding these cases include notations of “Time Served.” (Id.)

         On December 6, 2012, the day before the Greenville, Texas, Police Department arrested Compean on the state traffic charges, United States Magistrate Judge David Counts of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas signed a criminal complaint charging Compean with the federal offense of providing false information to a federal firearms licensee. Compl., United States v. Compean, Case No. 7:12-mj-453 (W.D. Tex. Dec. 6, 2012), ECF No. 1. Judge Counts also issued a warrant for Compean's arrest. Warrant, United States v. Compean, et al., Case No. No. 7:12-cr-340 (W.D. Tex. Dec. 19, 2012), ECF No. 2. However, the United States also sought, and the Court issued, a writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum. Application, Order, & Writ, United States v. Compean, Case No. 7:12-mj-453 (W.D. Tex. Dec. 6, 2012), ECF Nos. 3, 4, 5. That writ directed the Greenville Police Department to deliver Compean to the United States Marshals and for Compean to remain in the Marshals' custody during the proceedings in Case Number 7:12-mj-453, the federal criminal complaint case then pending against Compean.[2] Id.

         On December 11, 2012, the United States Marshals Service took custody of Compean. (Doc. 9-2, p. 28.) The arrest warrant was returned unexecuted with a notation that it was “superceded By Writ Dated 12/6/12.” Unexecuted Arrest Warrant, United States v. Compean, et al., 7:12-cr-340 (W.D. Tex. Dec. 19, 2012), ECF No. 6. It does not appear that Compean had an initial appearance or any other hearings in Case Number 7:12-mj-453, and the case was terminated on December 19, 2012. Docket, United States v. Compean, 7:12-mj-453 (W.D. Tex. Dec. 6, 2012).

         Also on December 19, 2012, the grand jury for the Western District of Texas returned a ten-count indictment against Compean and two co-defendants. Indictment, United States v. Compean, et al., 7:12-cr-340 (W.D. Tex. Dec. 19, 2012), ECF No. 9. The grand jury charged Compean with committing: conspiracy to smuggle goods from the United States (Count One); giving a false statement in the acquisition of a firearm (Counts Four, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, and Ten); and aggravated identity theft (Counts Five and Seven). Id. On December 26, 2017, Judge Counts entered an Order of Temporary Detention ordering that Compean be held without bond until January 9, 2013. Order, United States v. Compean, et al., 7:12-cr-340 (W.D. Tex. Dec. 26, 2012), ECF No. 16. Judge Counts ordered “the attorney for the Government to notify the appropriate court, probation or parole official, or state or local law enforcement official, or the appropriate official of the Immigration and Naturalization Service so that the custody of the Defendant can be transferred[.]” Id. On January 9, 2013, after Compean waived his right to a detention hearing, Judge Counts granted the Government's motion for detention and ordered that Compean be detained. Order, United States v. Compean, et al., 7:12-cr-340 (W.D. Tex. Jan. 9, 2013), ECF No. 30.

         Pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement, on February 11, 2013, Compean pled guilty to Counts One, Four, and Five of the federal Indictment, and the Government dismissed Counts Six through Ten. On May 16, 2013, the Honorable Robert Junell, United States District Judge for the Western District of Texas, sentenced Compean to terms of imprisonment of sixty months on Count One and ninety-seven months on Count Four, to be served concurrently, as well as twenty-four months imprisonment on Count Five, to be served consecutively to Counts One and Four. (Doc. 9-2, pp. 32-38.) Thus, Compean received a sentence with an aggregate term of imprisonment of 121 months. Judge Junell ordered that Compean remain in custody pending service of his sentence. (Id.) Compean is currently serving this sentence at D. Ray James, and he has a projected release date of March 15, 2022.

         At the time of his December 7, 2012, arrest on and throughout his federal case, Compean also had additional state traffic citation warrants outstanding in Justice Court, Precinct 2, Collin County, Texas. These warrants were filed in Justice Court Case Numbers 02-TR-12-00497 (expired driver's license) and 02-TR-12-00796 (violation of promise for failure to appear). (Id. at pp. 20-27.) Though these misdemeanor warrants were issued on March 12, 2012, they were not executed when Compean was arrested on December 6, 2012. (Id.) Though the Court does not have complete records for these misdemeanor cases, it appears that Compean was never actually arrested on these warrants. (Id.) On June 3, 2013, approximately two weeks after Compean was sentenced in his federal case, he entered pleas of nolo contendere in Case Numbers 02-TR-12-00497 and 02-TR-12-00796. (Id. at pp. 21, 25.) Compean received a fine of $55.00 in Case Number 02-TR-12-00497 and $140.00 in Case Number 02-TR-12-00796. (Id.) It appears Compean paid these fines by some method, as the docket sheets list his fine amount balance as “$0.00.” (Id.) The Justice Court did not sentence Compean to any time in custody on these charges. However, the case dockets list his warrant status as “Time Served”, and his release is noted as “Time Served” on a document signed by Judge Terry L. Douglas, the Justice of the Peace for Precinct 2 of the Collin County Justice Court. (Id. at pp. 21, 25, 40.)

         DISCUSSION

         In his Section 2241 Petition, Compean generally argues that he should be awarded credit toward his federal sentence for the time he was in custody after his arrest on December 7, 2012.[3](Doc. 2.) He contends that he was able to obtain a bond on the state traffic charges, and he only remained in custody after his arrest so that he could be turned over to federal authorities. (Id. at pp. 3-4.) Further, in his Reply, Compean argues that any time he spent in custody could not have been credited toward any state sentences, because those sentences were for Class C misdemeanors, which are only punishable by a fine under Texas law. (Doc. 12, pp. 2-3.) Thus, Compean reasons, the Collin County Justice Court did not impose (and could not have imposed) a sentence of detention. (Id.)

         Respondent maintains that this Court should not reach the merits of Compean's arguments because he failed to exhaust his administrative remedies concerning his sentence calculation. (Doc. 9, pp. 5-8.) Respondent offers the Affidavit of Glenda Dykes, an Administrative Remedy Clerk with the BOP, in support of this argument. (Doc. 9-1.) Respondent also contends that Compean cannot receive the months of credit he seeks toward his federal sentence because he already received credit for that time toward state sentences. (Doc. 9, pp. 8-10.) For this argument, Respondent primarily relies upon the Affidavit of Forest Kelly, a Correctional Programs Specialist at the BOP's Designation and Sentence Computation Center. (Doc. 9-2.)

         I. Whether Compean Exhausted his Administrative Remedies

         A. Legal Requirements for Exhaustion

         The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has held that a Section 2241 petitioner's failure to exhaust administrative remedies is not a jurisdictional defect. Santiago-Lugo v. Warden, 785 F.3d 467, 474 (11th Cir. 2015); see also Fleming v. Warden of FCI Tallahassee, 631 F. App'x 840, 842 (11th Cir. 2015) (“[Section] 2241's exhaustion requirement was judicially imposed, not congressionally mandated, and . . . nothing in the statute itself support[s] the conclusion that the requirement [is] jurisdictional.”). Nevertheless, the Eleventh Circuit has noted “that the exhaustion requirement is still a requirement and that courts cannot ‘disregard a failure to exhaust . . . if the respondent properly asserts the defense.'” Id. (citing Santiago-Lugo, 785 F.3d at 475). Failure to exhaust administrative remedies is an affirmative defense and inmates are not required to specially plead or demonstrate exhaustion in their complaint. Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 216 (2007). However, the normal pleading rules still apply, and dismissal is appropriate when an affirmative defense appears on the face of a complaint-making it clear that a prisoner cannot state a claim for relief. Id. at 214-15. Thus, when a party admits in his complaint or petition that he has not exhausted the grievance process, dismissal is warranted. See Okpala v. Drew, 248 F. App'x 72 (11th Cir. 2007); Cole v. Ellis, No. 5:10-CV-00316-RS-GRJ, 2010 WL 5564632, at *3 (N.D. Fla. Dec. 28, 2010); Rashid v. Liberty Cty. Jail, CV410-092, 2010 WL 3239241, at *1 n.1 (S.D. Ga. May 3, 2010) (“Nothing in Jones . . . forbids the Court from dismissing a complaint pursuant to [42 U.S.C.] § 1997e(a) if it is clear from the face of the complaint that the prisoner has not exhausted all administrative remedies available to him.”).

         The requirement that the exhaustion of remedies occur “first in an agency setting allows ‘the agency [to] develop the necessary factual background upon which decisions should be based' and giv[es] ‘the agency a chance to discover and correct its own errors.'” Green v. Sec'y for Dep't of Corr., 212 F. App'x 869, 871 (11th Cir. 2006) (quoting Alexander v. Hawk, 159 F.3d 1321, 1327 (11th Cir. 1998) (first alteration in original)). Furthermore, requiring exhaustion in the prison setting “eliminate[s] unwarranted federal-court interference with the administration of prisons” and allows “corrections officials time and opportunity to address complaints internally before allowing the initiation of a federal case.” Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 93 (2006).[4]

         The United States Supreme Court has noted exhaustion must be “proper.” Id. at 92. “Proper exhaustion demands compliance with an agency's deadlines and other critical procedural rules because no adjudicative system can function effectively without imposing some orderly structure on the course of its proceedings.” Id. at 90-91. In other words, an institution's requirements define what is considered exhaustion. Jones, 549 U.S. at 218. It is not the role of the court to consider the adequacy or futility of the administrative remedies afforded to the inmate. Higginbottom v. Carter, 223 F.3d 1259, 1261 (11th Cir. 2000). The court's focus should be on what remedies are available and whether the inmate pursued these remedies prior to filing suit. Id.

         Thus, under the law, prisoners must do more than simply initiate grievances; they must also appeal any denial of relief through all levels of review that comprise the agency's administrative grievance process. Bryant v. Rich, 530 F.3d 1368, 1378 (11th Cir. 2008) (“To exhaust administrative remedies in accordance with the PLRA [Prison Litigation Reform Act], prisoners must ‘properly take each step within the administrative process.'”) (quoting Johnson v. Meadows, 418 F.3d 1152, 1157 (11th Cir. 2005)); Sewell v. Ramsey, No. CV406-159, 2007 WL 201269 (S.D. Ga. Jan. 27, 2007) ...


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