United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Eastern Division
MADELINE HUGHES HAIKALA UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241, Mr. Minter seeks recalculation of his federal
sentence based on time spent in federal presentence custody
on a writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum. Mr.
Minter was held in custody pursuant to the writ from May 26,
2015 through January 23, 2017. (Doc. 1). The magistrate judge
has recommended that the Court deny Mr. Minter's habeas
petition. (Doc. 9). Mr. Minter objects to the magistrate
judge's report and recommendation. (Doc. 12).
district court “may accept, reject, or modify, in whole
or part, the findings or recommendations made by the
magistrate judge.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). When
a party objects to a report and recommendation, the district
court must “make a de novo determination of those
portions of the report or specified proposed findings or
recommendations to which objection is made.”
Id. The Court reviews for plain error proposed
factual findings to which no objection is made, and the Court
reviews propositions of law de novo. Garvey v.
Vaughn, 993 F.2d 776, 779 n.9 (11th Cir. 1993); see
also United States v. Slay, 714 F.2d 1093, 1095 (11th
Cir. 1983) (per curiam), cert. denied, 464 U.S. 1050
(1984) (“The failure to object to the magistrate's
findings of fact prohibits an attack on appeal of the factual
findings adopted by the district court except on grounds of
plain error or manifest injustice.”) (internal citation
omitted); Macort v. Prem, Inc., 208 Fed.Appx. 781,
784 (11th Cir. 2006).
objections, Mr. Minter argues, as he did in his habeas
petition, that when he was borrowed from state custody in
Georgia pursuant to a writ of habeas corpus ad
prosequendum, he had a legitimate expectation of parole,
and, consequently, a protected liberty interest in parole
that should serve as the basis for federal credit for the
months he served in custody on the writ. Mr. Minter explains
that when he was taken into custody on the writ on May 26,
2015, he was housed at a transitional center, and he was able
to leave the center to spend weekends with his family. (Doc.
1, p. 17; Doc. 12, p. 9). Mr. Minter contends that as of May
2015, he had been living at the transitional center for
approximately four months, and his tentative date for state
parole was November 30, 2015. (Doc. 12, p. 9). He argues that
under Georgia's parole guidelines, his “Tentative
Parole Month” is “the month ‘during which
the offender may expect to be released.'” (Doc. 12,
p. 14) (citing Parole Decision Guidelines System P 8-27.01).
Thus, he contends he had a legitimate expectation of parole.
does not support Mr. Minter's argument. As the magistrate
judge explained, the Eleventh Circuit has held that a state
parole system may create a legitimate expectation of parole.
For purposes of a liberty interest analysis, a court's
evaluation of a parole system turns on the state statutes and
regulations that establish the scope of state officials'
discretion when making parole decisions. Sultenfuss v.
Snow, 35 F.3d 1494, 1499-1503 (11th Cir. 1994). An
individual's subjective expectation based on his
particular status is not part of the liberty interest
analysis. In Sultenfuss, the Eleventh Circuit held
that “Georgia's parole system in its
entirety” does not create a protected liberty interest.
35 F.3d at 1502. The Eleventh Circuit found that
Georgia's parole system includes a statutory presumption
against parole, and there is no meaningful statutory or
regulatory limit on state officials' discretion to make
parole decisions. 35 F.3d at 1501.
Minter contends that the Eleventh Circuit's reasoning in
Sultenfuss is flawed (Doc. 12, pp. 14-25), but this
Court is bound to apply Sultenfuss. Fox v.
Acadia State Bank, 937 F.2d 1566, 1570 (11th Cir. 1991)
(“[A] district court in this circuit is bound by this
court's decisions.”); Springer v. Wal-Mart
Assocs.' Group Health Plan, 908 F.2d 897, 900 n.1
(11th Cir. 1990) (“[T]he district court is bound by
controlling Eleventh Circuit precedent.”)
(emphasis in Springer). If Mr. Minter wishes to
challenge that decision, he must do so in the Court of
addition, as Mr. Minter recognizes, under Georgia's
parole guidelines, the “Tentative Parole Month”
is the month an offender may expect to be released,
“absent new information or other cause to cancel the
Board's tentative release decision.” (Doc. 12, p.
20). The caveat impacts the expectation. Here, there was
information that likely would have affected the Georgia
Parole Board's release decision, namely the new federal
charge. Thus, even if the liberty interest test were tied to
an individual offender's subjective expectation, Mr.
Minter could not have reasonably relied on the date in the
Parole Board's tentative release decision after he
learned of the federal charge against him. The Court does not
mean to minimize the expectation that Mr. Minter had prior to
the federal charge, and the Court recognizes that result in
this case appears harsh because Mr. Minter seemed to be
progressing well toward parole. See Curtis v.
Billingsley, No. 16-CV-2558 (PGG) (JLC), 2017 WL
1103005, at *6 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 24, 2017) (recognizing that
“the application of 18 U.S.C. § 3585(b) produce[d]
a seemingly harsh result” where, “[b]efore his
transfer to federal custody, ” the petitioner
“was not incarcerated in a state prison or jail, but
rather was participating in a residential drug-treatment
program” where he “had only one week remaining in
the program”). But the new federal charge made Mr.
Minter's expectation of a November 2015 parole date
Mr. Minter had no protected liberty interest in his tentative
parole date, his federal presentence custody did not
improperly prolong his state sentence in violation of the Due
Process Clause. Therefore, the Court accepts the magistrate
judge's recommendation and denies Mr. ...