DETLOFF v. ORTIZ
MEMORANDUM OPINION FILED. Signed by Judge Jerome B. Simandle on 7/27/17. (js)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
SCOTT R. DETLOFF,
HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE
No. 17-1716 (JBS)
SIMANDLE, U.S. District Judge:
Petitioner is proceeding pro se with a Petition for
Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 in which he
challenges the calculation of his federal sentence. (Docket
Entry 1). Petitioner was in custody of the Federal Bureau of
Prisons in this District at FCI Fort Dix when he filed this
Petition, and he has been transferred to FCI Milan, Michigan.
Petitioner was arrested by the State of Michigan on
October 11, 2009. Declaration of J.R. Johnson (“Johnson Dec.”) ¶
4. He was sentenced on December 22, 2009, and resentenced on the
same charges on August 16, 2011 to a term of 2 years, 6 months
to 15 years, with 602 days of credit. Johnson Dec. ¶¶ 5-6.
The United States District Court for the Eastern
District of Michigan (“Eastern District”) issued a writ of
habeas corpus ad prosequendum for Petitioner to appear on
unrelated federal charges on April 25, 2012.
The Michigan Department of Corrections (“MDOC”)
determined Petitioner would be eligible for parole as of June
21, 2012. Johnson Dec. Attachment 10. As the U.S. Marshals
Service (“Marshals”) had filed a detainer against Petitioner on
April 30, 2012, see Johnson Dec. Attachment 5 at 1, MDOC sent a
letter to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of
Michigan on May 7, 2012 indicating the “current decision of the
parole board” was that Petitioner “[h]as a parole for 6/21/12.”
Johnson Dec. Attachment 10.
The Marshals picked up Petitioner on May 21, 2012, one
month before he was scheduled to start his state parole.
Petitioner appeared in federal court on May 23, 2012
and signed an Interstate Agreement on Detainers waiver stating
he wanted to waive his “right to remain in federal custody” and
requested to “be promptly returned to state custody, prior to
the completion of the trial on [his] federal charges.”
Petitioner’s Exhibit 9. The Marshals did not return Petitioner
to state custody until August 27, 2014.
MDOC suspended Petitioner’s parole on May 22, 2013
because “[s]ubject has incurred pending charges from US Marshal
Service for stealing mail/check fraud. . . .” Petitioner’s
The Eastern District sentenced Petitioner on July 16,
2014 to a 60-month term of imprisonment to be served
concurrently with his undischarged state sentence. Johnson Dec.
Attachment 7. Petitioner was also sentenced to 24-months, to be
served consecutively to his other federal sentence, for
violating probation. Johnson Dec. Attachment 8. He was returned
to the state on August 27, 2014 and began his state parole on
November 26, 2014. Johnson Dec. ¶¶ 14-15; Johnson Dec.
Upon Petitioner’s return to the BOP, BOP calculated
Petitioner’s federal sentence as beginning on the date of
sentencing, July 16, 2014, in order to run his federal sentence
concurrently with his state sentence as ordered by the Eastern
District. Johnson Dec. Attachment 1 at 5. Petitioner received
jail credit for the period of time between October 11 and
December 21, 2009. Id. at 4. The BOP calculated Petitioner’s
release date to be July 27, 2019.
After exhausting his administrative remedies,
Petitioner filed this habeas petition arguing he is entitled to
credit on his federal sentence for time spent in custody between
June 21, 2012 and July 16, 2014. He argues the Marshals
mistakenly assumed he had been paroled by the State of Michigan
on June 21, 2012 and thus did not return him to the MDOC to
officially begin his term of parole. As a result, the two years
he spent in “primary state custody” was “needlessly” credited
towards his state sentence instead of his federal sentence.
Petitioner was incarcerated in FCI Fort Dix, New
Jersey at the time he filed this § 2241 petition. Therefore,
this Court had jurisdiction over the petition as the district in
which Petitioner was confined at the time of filing, and it
continues to retain jurisdiction even though Petitioner has
subsequently been transferred to FCI Milan, located in the
Eastern District of Michigan. See Rumsfeld v. Padilla, 542 U.S.
426, 441 (2004) (citing Ex parte Endo, 323 U.S. 283 (1944)); see
also Gorrell v. Yost, 509 F. App'x 114, 118 (3d Cir. 2013).
Although the Court continues to retain jurisdiction
over the petition, the parties shall be ordered to show cause
why this petition should not be transferred to the Eastern
District for resolution.
Section 1404(a) of Title 28 permits a court to
transfer venue for “the convenience of parties and witnesses . .
to any district or division to which all parties have
Petitioner raises factual questions that may require
an evidentiary hearing. 1 For instance, Petitioner alleges the
Marshals did not promptly return Petitioner to MDOC custody to
begin his state parole because the Marshals were operating under
the mistaken belief Petitioner had already been paroled.
The record provided by the parties could be reasonably
read to support Petitioner’s argument. According to the USM-129
Data sheet, the Marshals listed Petitioner as having been
paroled from MDOC as of June 21, 2012. See Johnson Dec.
Attachment 5 § II. An August 14, 2014 email from Petitioner’s
case manager at FCI Milan reads: “I am getting conflicting
information about inmate Detloff. The Marshals are telling me
that he is done with his state time. . . . When I look him up on
the MDOC website it still shows that he is on writ.” Johnson
Dec. Attachment 12 at 4. An unidentified Marshal wrote on August
19, 2014: “[Detloff] paroled to our custody.” Id. at 2-3. In
response, the MDOC wrote on August 20: “This is incorrect. His
parole was suspended. He needs to be returned to our custody for
us to process his Parole to Fed detainer. The attachment that
was sent was not an Order for Parole.” Id. at 2.
The Court makes no findings at this time whether an evidentiary
hearing is in fact warranted.
Given the factual dispute, in essence whether the
Marshals failed to return Petitioner to state custody due to a
misunderstanding in Petitioner’s parole status, it may be
necessary to hear testimony from the state and federal officials
with knowledge regarding Petitioner’s movements prior to his
federal sentencing. Petitioner’s state and federal sentences are
from Michigan, and persons with knowledge of the facts are
located in Michigan. Petitioner is also presently incarcerated
in the Eastern District. Therefore, the parties and witnesses
may be better served by transferring this action to the Eastern
District should a hearing be necessary.
As the parties must consent to transfer under §
1404(a), the parties are ordered to show cause why this Court
should not transfer this action to the Eastern District of
Michigan for resolution.
Any objection to transfer must be filed within 14 days
of the date of this Opinion and Order. The Court will presume
the parties consent to the transfer if no objection is received.
An appropriate order follows.
July 27, 2017
/s Jerome B. Simandle
JEROME B. SIMANDLE
U.S. District Judge
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