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Ceja-Vargas v. Breckon

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division

January 2, 2019

ALBERTO CEJA-VARGAS, Petitioner,
v.
M. BRECKON, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Elizabeth K. Dillon, United States District Judge.

         Alberto Ceja-Vargas, a federal inmate proceeding pro se, filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, arguing that the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) improperly calculated his sentence and that he is entitled to prior custody credit for time spent in custody from October 4, 2012, through April 10, 2015. Respondent filed a motion for summary judgment to which Ceja-Vargas responded, and this matter is ripe for disposition. Having reviewed the record, the court concludes that respondent's motion for summary judgment must be granted.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On October 4, 2012, Ceja-Vargas was arrested by border patrol agents in Texas. On October 30, 2012, an indictment was issued against him the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Criminal No. 7:12-cr-01773, charging him with being an alien found in the United States after previously having been denied admission, excluded, deported, and removed (the Immigration Case). On February 26, 2013, Ceja-Vargas was sentenced in the district court to 18 months of imprisonment. Johnson Decl. ¶¶ 5-7, Dkt. No. 13-1; Attach. A, Dkt. No. 13-2.

         A sentence computation was completed that commenced Ceja-Vargas's 18-month sentence on February 26, 2013, the date the sentence was imposed. Ceja-Vargas received prior custody credit from October 4, 2012, the date of his arrest by border patrol agents, until February 25, 2013, the day before his sentence was imposed, for a total of 145 days of prior custody credit. Ceja-Vargas's projected satisfaction date for his 18-month sentence was, therefore, January 22, 2014. Johnson Decl. ¶¶ 8-9, Dkt. No. 13-1; Attach. B, Dkt. No. 13-3.

         On July 10, 2013, a new indictment was issued in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Criminal No. 4:13-cr-00175, charging him with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of methamphetamine (the Drug Case). Johnson Decl. ¶ 10, Dkt. No. 13-1; Attach. C, Dkt. No. 13-4.

         On January 22, 2014, Ceja-Vargas completed his 18-month sentence imposed in the Immigration Case. He remained in the custody of the United States Marshals Service (USMS) pending resolution of the Drug Case. On April 10, 2015, Ceja-Vargas was sentenced to life imprisonment in the Drug Case. Johnson Decl. ¶¶ 12-13, Dkt. No. 13-1; Attach. D, E, Dkt. Nos. 13-5, 6.

         A sentence computation was completed that commenced Ceja-Vargas's life sentence on April 10, 2015, the date the sentence was imposed. Ceja-Vargas also received prior custody credit from January 23, 2014, the day after he completed his 18-month sentence imposed in the Immigration Case, until April 9, 2015, the day before his life sentence was imposed and commenced in the Drug Case. Ceja-Vargas's projected satisfaction date is reflected as “Life.” Johnson Decl. ¶ 14, Dkt. No. 13-1; Attach. F, Dkt. No. 13-7.

         II. DISCUSSION

         Ceja-Vargas seeks prior custody credit for the time he was detained by border patrol agents from October 4, 2012, until April 10, 2015. However, Ceja-Vargas is not entitled to any additional prior custody credit; therefore, the court will grant respondent's motion for summary judgment.

         Prior custody credit is governed by 18 U.S.C. § 3585(b) and states:

A defendant shall be given credit toward the service of a term of imprisonment for any time he has spent in official detention prior to the date the sentence commences (1) as a result of the offense for which the sentence was imposed or (2) as a result of any other charge for which the defendant was arrested after the commission of the offense for which the sentence was imposed; that has not been credited against another sentence.

18 U.S.C. § 3585 (emphasis added).

         Under 18 U.S.C. § 3585(b), “Congress made clear that a defendant could not receive double credit for his detention time.” United States v. Wilson, 503 U.S. 329, 337 (1992). Therefore, prior custody credit cannot be granted if the prisoner has received credit toward another sentence. See United States v. Goulden, 54 F.3d 774 (4th Cir. 1995) (explaining that ...


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