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Harper v. Winn

United States District Court, D. Arizona

October 27, 2015

Robert Harper, Petitioner,
v.
Louis Winn, Warden, Respondent.

ORDER

Leslie A. Bowman United States Magistrate Judge

Pending before the court is a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to Title 28, United States Code, Section 2241, filed by Robert Harper, an inmate confined in the United States Penitentiary in Tucson, AZ. (Doc. 1) He argues the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) did not properly apply his good time credits to advance his parole eligibility date.

Magistrate Judge Bowman presides over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). (Doc. 23)

The petition will be dismissed as moot. Harper is already eligible for parole.

SUMMARY OF THE CASE

On November 30, 1976, Harper was convicted in the District of Columbia Superior Court of burglary, rape, and prison breach. (Doc. 15, p. 29) On December 3, 1986, Harper was convicted in the District of Columbia Superior Court of armed burglary, rape while armed, sodomy, armed robbery, and carrying a dangerous weapon. (Doc. 15, p. 30) On April, 3, 1987, Harper was convicted in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia of rioting, and assault on a correctional officer. (Doc. 15, pp. 30-31) His aggregate term of imprisonment is 35 years and 4 months to life. (Doc. 15, p. 31)

On February 12, 2015, Harper filed the pending petition arguing that the BOP failed to correctly calculate his “Good Time Credits, Meritorious Good Time Credits and Return of Good Time Credits forfeited and reinstated on appeal.” (Doc. 1, p. 4) He asks “[t]hat this court ORDER that the Good Time Credits in the amount of 1, 955 days be credited and Petitioner’s Parole Eligibility Date be adjusted accordingly.” (Doc. 1, p. 5) (emphasis in original)

Harper’s primary sentences were imposed by the District of Columbia. Nevertheless, he is being held in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) pursuant to the Revitalization Act of 1997. Harvell v. Winn, 2015 WL 1883982 *2 (D.Ariz. 2015). Pursuant to that Act, the BOP is responsible for computing the sentences of D.C.Code offenders and administering the D.C. parole system. Id. Under the District of Columbia’s indeterminate sentencing scheme, “an offender would be sentenced to a range (i.e., 15 years to life) and would be eligible for parole upon reaching the minimum sentence imposed by the judge minus good time credits.” Sellmon v. Reilly, 551 F.Supp.2d 66, 70 n.3 (D.D.C. 2008); see also Feaster v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, 2014 WL 4322402, 3 (D.Ariz. 2014).

In his answer, the respondent argues that the petition should be denied for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. In the alternative, the respondent asserts that the BOP has correctly credited Harper with all allowable good time. Harper is currently earning five days of “extra good time credit” per month pursuant to 28 C.F.R. § 523.10. (Doc. 15, ¶ 15); see also Program Statement 5880.33 (www.bop.gov/policy/progstat/5880033.pdf) As of July 28, 2015, he has been given credit for 1, 131 days. Id.

The court finds this case should be dismissed as moot.

Discussion

A party seeking to invoke the jurisdiction of the federal courts must, as a threshold matter, establish “standing” under Article III of the United States Constitution. Schmier v. U.S. Court of Appeals for Ninth Circuit, 279 F.3d 817, 820-21 (9th Cir. 2002). The “core” or “bedrock” elements of standing are “a (1) legally recognized injury, (2) caused by the named defendant that is (3) capable of legal or equitable redress.” Id.

Mootness is a related term sometimes defined as “the doctrine of standing set in a time frame.” U.S. Parole Commission v. Geraghty, 445 U.S. 388, 397 (1980). “A case becomes moot when interim relief or events have deprived the court of the ability to redress the party’s injuries.” American Cas. Co. of Reading, Pennsylvania v. Baker, 22 F.3d 880, 896 (9th Cir. 1994). When a case becomes moot, the court loses jurisdiction and the matter must be dismissed. Doe v. Madison School Dist. No. 321, 177 F.3d 789, 797-99 (9th Cir. 1999).

In his petition, Harper asks that an additional 1, 955 days be credited to his minimum sentence in order to hasten his parole eligibility date. Harper, however, is already eligible for parole. On October 26, 2010, the BOP applied Harper’s good time credits and adjusted his parole eligibility date to November of 2012. (Doc. 1-2, p. 17) He had a parole hearing on ...


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