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Karim v. Pearson

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division

August 1, 2017

SALAR OMAR KARIM, Petitioner,
v.
EDDIE L. PEARSON, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Roderick C. Young, United States Magistrate Judge.

         Salar Omar Karim, a Virginia state prisoner proceeding pro se, brings this petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 ("§ 2254 Petition, " ECF No. 1), challenging the manner in which the Virginia Department of Corrections ("VDOC") has calculated his sentence. Respondent moves to dismiss on the grounds that (1) Karim's claims are barred by the statute of limitations, (2) Claim One lacks merit, and (3) Claims Two through Four are procedurally defaulted. (ECF No. 11.) Karim has filed a response. (ECF No. 18.) For the reasons set forth below, Respondent's Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 11) will be GRANTED IN PART and DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE IN PART.

         I. PERTINENT PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On April 26, 1996, Karim was convicted in the Circuit Court of the County of Fairfax, Virginia ("Circuit Court") of attempted capital murder and malicious burning. (ECF No. 12-1, at 1.) On May 3, 1996, the Circuit Court entered judgment against Karim and sentenced him to twenty-five years of incarceration for attempted capital murder, and five years of incarceration for malicious burning, to run concurrently. (Id. at 2.)

         Karim was transferred to the custody of the VDOC on June 21, 1996. Motion to Dismiss Habeas Petition Ex. 1 ("Brown Aff."), Karim v. Pearson, No. 160207 (Va. filed Apr. 22, 2016). On August 16, 1996, the VDOC issued a Legal Update that showed: Karim had a total sentence of twenty-five years; Karim was entitled to 347 days of jail credit from the Fairfax County Jail between July 10, 1995, and June 21, 1996; Karim had an anticipated good time release date of April 9, 2018; and Karim was assigned to Level Two for purposes of receiving earned sentence credit ("ESC").[1] (Id. End E.)[2]

         On March 19, 1997, the VDOC issued another Legal Update that showed that Karim's anticipated good time release date was April 10, 2018. (Id.) This Legal Update also indicated that on January 8, 1997, Karim was placed in isolation and assigned to Level Four for purposes of ESC.[3] (Id.) On January 22, 1997, Karim was removed from isolation and reassigned to Level Two for ESC. (Id.)

         On April 7, 1997, the VDOC issued another Legal Update that showed that Karim's anticipated good time release date was April 15, 2018, and that Karim had lost thirty days of ESC as a result of his January 8, 1997 institutional conviction for threatening bodily harm. (Id.) A handwritten note on a June 24, 1998 Legal Update indicates that Karim's threatening bodily harm institutional conviction was expunged on October 20, 1998. (Id.) As of October 21, 1998, Karim's anticipated good time release date was March 16, 2018. (Id.)

         On December 10, 1998, the VDOC issued another Legal Update that showed that Karim's anticipated good time release date was March 17, 2018. (Id.) This Legal Update also showed that on October 13, 1998, Karim was placed in pre-detention and assigned to Level Four for purposes of ESC. (Id.) He was removed from detention on October 26, 1998 and was reassigned to Level Two. (Id.)

         On July 16, 1999, the VDOC issued another Legal Update that showed that Karim's anticipated good time release date was April 6, 2018. (Id.) This Legal Update also showed that on May 13, 1999, Karim had been convicted of the institutional offenses of assault upon any person and threatening bodily harm. (Id.) Karim lost 90 days of ESC for the assault and 30 days of ESC for threatening bodily harm. (Id.) Karim was reassigned to Level Four for purposes of ESC. (Id.) On May 27, 1999, Karim was reassigned to Level Two; however, he was reassigned to Level Four on June 3, 1999. (Id.) Karim remained in Level Four until 2004. (Id.)

         On March 13, 2002, the VDOC issued another Legal Update that showed that Karim's anticipated good time release date was March 5, 2020. (Id.) On November 19, 2001, Karim had been convicted of an attempt to commit a 100 series offense and lost 60 days of ESC. (Id.) On October 11, 2002, a new Legal Update showed Karim's anticipated good time release date to be March 4, 2020. (Id.)

         On July 16, 2004, the VDOC issued a new Legal Update that showed that on June 21, 2004, Karim had been reassigned to Level Two for purposes of ESC. (Id.) His anticipated good time release date was calculated to be September 27, 2018. (Id.)

         On August 15, 2005, the VDOC issued a new Legal Update that showed that on June 21, 2005, Karim had been assigned to Level Four for purposes of ESC. (Id.)[4] His anticipated good time release date was calculated to be January 28, 2020. (Id.)

         On October 20, 2006, a new Legal Update showed that on June 15, 2006, Karim was reassigned to Level Two for purposes of ESC. (Id.) His anticipated good time release date was changed to October 29, 2018. (Id.)

         On July 27, 2007, the VDOC issued a new Legal Update that showed that on June 21, 2007, Karim was assigned to Level One for purposes of ESC.[5] (Id.) His new anticipated good time release date was calculated to be April 30, 2018. (Id.)

         On July 10, 2015, the VDOC issued a new Legal Update that reflected an addition of 70 days of jail credit from when Karim was incarcerated in a jail in Maryland in 1995 that had not been previously factored into his sentence calculation. (Id.) Karim's new anticipated good time release date was calculated to be February 26, 2018. (Id.)

         On February 5, 2016, Karim filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the Supreme Court of Virginia, in which he raised the same claims he now raises in his § 2254 Petition. On August 31, 2016, the Supreme Court of Virginia dismissed Karim's petition. (ECF No. 12-2, at 1-3.)

         On November 22, 2016, Karim filed his § 2254 Petition in this Court.[6] (§ 2254 Pet. 15.)[7]Karim requests that the Court "grant him relief from violations of his . . . Fourteenth Amendment[8] rights under the United States Constitution." (Mem. Supp. § 2254 Pet. 1, ECF No. 2.) In his § 2254 Petition, Karim asserts the following claims for relief:

Claim One: "Jail credit[.] The petitioner is being denied credit for time he served in a Maryland jail in violation of state law and the Constitutions of the United States and Virginia." (§ 2254 Pet. 5.)
Claim Two: "Good-time credit[.] The petitioner is being denied good-time credit in violation of state law and the Constitutions of the United States and Virginia." (Id. at 7.)
Claim Three: "Good-time credit[.] The petitioner is being denied good-time credit for time served in violation of state law and the Constitutions of Virginia and the United States." (Id. at 8.)
Claim Four: "Good-time credit[.] The petitioner is being denied good-time credit for time served in general population in violation of state law and the Constitutions of Virginia and the United States." (Id. at 10.)

         As an initial matter, to the extent that Karim alleges violations of state law, his assertions of error under such provide no basis for federal habeas corpus relief. Estelle v. McGuire, 502 U.S. 62, 67-68 (1991) ("[I]t is not the province of a federal habeas court to reexamine state-court determinations on state-law questions."); Lewis v. Jeffers, 497 U.S. 764, 780 (1990) (citing cases for the proposition that "federal habeas corpus relief does not lie for errors of state law"). Accordingly, Karim's state law claims will be DISMISSED.

         II. ANALYSIS

         A. Statute ...


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