United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Statesboro Division
ORDER AND REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Christopher L. Ray United States Magistrate Judge
Spaulding moves under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to vacate, set
aside, or correct her federal sentence. Doc. 1. On
preliminary screening, the Court denied her motion based on
Spaulding's waiver of her direct and collateral appeal
rights. Doc. 3 at 4 (recommending denial based on
movant's sworn statement in her plea agreement); doc. 5
(adopting recommendation as judgment of the Court). Movant
appealed, and the Eleventh Circuit vacated and remanded for
further proceedings to “accord the parties fair notice
and an opportunity to present their positions” before
disposing of the case based on the plea waiver, which
Spaulding did not have the chance to address prior to
adoption of the recommendation. Doc. 18 (appeal opinion,
quoting Day v. McDonough, 547 U.S. 198, 210 (2006));
see doc. 6 (objection to the report and
recommendation timely signature-filed but received by the
Court after entry of the Order Adopting). The Court
therefore directed the Government to respond to
Spaulding's motion and permitted Spaulding to respond, to
specifically address the plea-waiver issue as well as address
her motion on the merits. Doc. 19. The Government moved to
dismiss Spaulding's motion, arguing, inter alia,
that she waived her collateral attack rights in her plea
agreement. Doc. 21. The Court ordered Spaulding to respond to
the Government's waiver argument, doc. 30, and in lieu of
responding, Spaulding requested that briefing in her §
2255 matter be stayed while she pursues relief pursuant to
the First Step Act, doc. 31.
briefing was stayed, Spaulding filed her motions to reduce
her sentence pursuant to the First Step Act, Pub. L. 115-391,
132 Stat. 5194 (2018). CR612-017, doc. 93; CR613-001, doc.
67. The Government responds that her motion, which seeks to
alter her sentence to apply programming and time credits
“toward time in prerelease custody or supervised
release, ” is premature, must be brought under 28
U.S.C. § 2241, and must be administratively exhausted
prior to seeking judicial relief. CR612-017, doc. 96 (citing
Reno v. Koray, 515 U.S. 50, 53 (1995)); CR613-001,
doc. 70 (same). The Government is correct.
Section 102(b)(1) of the First Step Act amended 18 U.S.C.
§ 3624(b) and therefore altered the availability of
good-time credit for federal inmates. Specifically, it
increased the maximum allowable good-time credit from 47 days
to 54 days per year, and directed the BOP to calculate
good-time credit from the beginning of the year rather than
the end. However, these provisions do not take effect until
the Attorney General completes the “risk and needs
assessment system, ” which must be completed within 210
days after December 21, 2018, as provided by sections 101(a)
and 102(b)(2) of the First Step Act. See Schmutzler v.
Quintana, 2019 WL 727794 at *2 (E.D. Ky. Feb. 20, 2019).
Thus, section 102(b)(1) “will not take effect until
approximately mid-July 2019.” Christopher v.
Wilson, 2019 WL 1745968 at *1 (N.D. Tex. Apr. 18, 2019).
Crittendon v. White, 2019 WL 1896501 at *1 (M.D. Pa.
Apr. 29, 2019), quoted in Austin v. Woods, 2019 WL
2417654 at *3 (M.D. Ala. May 17, 2019). Spaulding's
argument that she is entitled to immediate relief and her
request for recalculation of her good-time credit based upon
the First Step Act is premature. Further, once her claim
ripens, she must first take it to the Bureau of Prisons. Only
once she has fully exhausted her administrative remedies can
she seek judicial relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
Spaulding's motion for relief under the First Step Act
should be DENIED without prejudice as
premature. CR612-017, doc. 93 & CR613-001, doc. 67. Her
supplemental briefing in opposition to the Government's
motion to dismiss her 28 U.S.C. § 2255 motion shall be
filed within 30 days of service of this
Report and Recommendation.
Report and Recommendation (R&R) is submitted to the
district judge assigned to this action, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1)(B) and this Court's Local Rule 72.3.
Within 14 days of service, any party may file written
objections to this R&R with the Court and serve a copy on
all parties. The document should be captioned
“Objections to Magistrate Judge's Report and
Recommendations.” Any request for additional time to
file objections should be filed with the Clerk for
consideration by the assigned district judge.
the objections period has ended, the Clerk shall submit this
R&R together with any objections to the assigned district
judge. The district judge will review the magistrate
judge's findings and recommendations pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). The parties are advised that
failure to timely file objections will result in the waiver
of rights on appeal. 11th Cir. R. 3-1; see Symonett v.
V.A. Leasing Corp., 648 Fed.Appx. 787, 790 (11th Cir.
2016); Mitchell v. United States, 612 Fed.Appx. 542,
545 (11th Cir. 2015).
REPORTED AND RECOMMENDED.
 “Federal courts sometimes will
ignore the legal label that a pro se litigant attaches to a
motion and recharacterize the motion in order to place it
within a different legal category.” Retic v. United
States, 215 Fed. App'x 962, 964 (11th Cir. 2007)
(quoting Castro v. United States, 540 U.S. 375, 381,
124 S.Ct. 786, 791, 157 L.Ed.2d 778 (2003)). This Court may
“recharacterize a pro se litigant's motion to
create a better correspondence between the substance of the
motion and its underlying legal basis.” Rameses v.
U.S. Dist. Court, 523 Fed.Appx. 691, 694 (11th Cir.
Normally, such reconstrual requires a Castro
warning that if petitioner chooses to proceed with her
motion, she will lose her ability to file any successive
petition on this same matter without first seeking permission
to do so from the Eleventh Circuit. Given that any such
relief is premature, however, the Court's order here
could only be without prejudice and would not qualify as a
decision on the merits.
That is not to say such relief may not be granted at
some future date. This Court commends Spaulding's pursuit
of rehabilitation programs, college courses, and employment
while incarcerated. It can take no view, however, of the
merits of Spaulding's motion for good time credits. Even
had she fully exhausted her administrative remedies,
Spaulding must bring any such § 2241 action in the
Middle District of Florida - the district of her confinement.
See 28 U.S.C. § 89(b) (Coleman Federal Prison
Camp is located within unincorporated Sumter County, Florida,
which falls within the Middle District of Florida).
“Section 2241 petitions may be brought only in
the district court for the district in which the inmate is
incarcerated.” Fernandez v. United States, 941
F.2d 1488, (11th Cir. 1991) (emphasis added);
Kinsey, 393 Fed.Appx. at 664 (“Unlike §
2255 motions, motions made pursuant to § ...