United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ORDER DENYING WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS PURSUANT TO 28
U.S.C. § 2241 AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL
R. SWEENEY II, JUDGE
Batista, an inmate at the United States Penitentiary-Terre
Haute (“USP-TH”), seeks a writ of habeas corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. For the reasons discussed
in this Order, his petition for writ of habeas corpus is
writ of habeas corpus may be granted where the defendant is
in custody in violation of the Constitution, laws, or
treaties of the United States. 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3).
Mr. Batista asserts that the Federal Bureau of Prisons
(“BOP”) has wrongfully extended the time afforded
to it by Congress to enact the good-time credit provisions of
the First Step Act of 2018, Pub. L. No. 115-391, 132 Stat.
5194 (Dec. 21, 2018).
response, the respondent argues that Mr. Batista is not
entitled to relief because he has failed to exhaust the
administrative remedies available to him and because the
good-time credit provisions of the First Step Act have not
yet taken effect.
Mr. Batista's Failure to Exhaust Administrative
Although “[t]he exhaustion requirement of the Prison
Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (PLRA), 42 U.S.C. §
1997e(a), does not apply to habeas actions, Walker v.
O'Brien, 216 F.3d 626, 633-37 (7th Cir. 2000),
exhaustion of administrative remedies is still required.
See Richmond v. Scibana, 387 F.3d 602, 604 (7th Cir.
2004) (“A common-law exhaustion rule applies to §
2241 actions even though § 1997e(a) does not.”).
The requirement of exhaustion is “judge-made for
federal [habeas corpus cases], ” Greene v.
Meese, 875 F.2d 639, 640 (7th Cir. 1989), not a
requirement of statute.
respondent contends that Mr. Batista has “never
submitted any administrative remedy requests related to the
length of his sentence, his good-time credit, or the First
Step Act.” Dkt. 5 at 3. Mr. Batista has not responded
to these allegations. Thus, because he failed to exhaust his
administrative remedies, his petition for a writ of habeas
corpus must be dismissed.
it appears to be in the interests of both justice and
judicial efficiency that the merits of Mr. Batista's
habeas claims be resolved. In Lambrix v. Singletary,
520 U.S. 518, 524 (1997), “the Supreme Court noted that
its cases have ‘suggest[ed] that the procedural-bar
issue should ordinarily be considered first.'
Nevertheless, added the Court, it did ‘not mean to
suggest that the procedural-bar issue must invariably be
resolved first; only that it ordinarily should
be.'” Brown v. Watters, 599 F.3d 602,
609-10 (7th Cir. 2010) (quoting Lambrix, 520 U.S. at
Application of the First Step Act
if Mr. Batista had properly exhausted his administrative
remedies, he would not be entitled to the relief he seeks
because the good-time credit provisions of the First Step Act
do not take effect until approximately July 2019.
First Step Act amended 18 U.S.C. § 3624(b)(1) to change
the manner in which good-time credits are calculated.
See Pub. L. No. 115-391, § 102(b), 132 Stat.
5194, 5210-13. Congress explicitly stated that these
amendments are to take effect “beginning on the date
that the Attorney General completes and releases the risk and
needs assessment system.” Id. at 5213. The
timeline Congress gave for developing and releasing the risk
and needs assessment system was “[n]ot later than 210
days after the date of enactment” of the First Step
Act. See Id. § 101(a), 132 Stat. at 5196.
“Therefore, the change in calculation of good-time
credit will not take effect until approximately July
2019.” United States v. Parrett, No.
01-CR-168-JPS, 2019 WL 1574815, *1 (E.D. Wis. Apr. 11, 2019).
district courts have rejected arguments similar to Mr.
Batista's that the First Step Act good-time credit
amendments should be effective immediately. See
e.g., id., Matthews v. Williams, No.
4:19CV518, 2019 WL 1639776, *1-2 (N.D. Ohio Apr. 16, 2019)
(collecting cases that denied habeas relief because the court
concluded either the petitioner failed to exhaust
administrative remedies, or the First Step Act is not yet
effective, or both reasons warranted the denial of relief);
United States v. Scouten, No. 13-CR-20S, 2019 WL
1596881, *1 (W.D.N.Y. Apr. 15, 2019); Sheppard v.
Quintana, No. 5:19-084-DCR, 2019 WL 1103391, *2 (E.D.
Ky. March 8, 2019).
good-time credit amendments are not effective until 210 days
after enactment of the First Step Act-not 21 days as Mr.
Batista asserts. Because these amendments are not ...