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Thompson v. Warden

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division

June 7, 2019

MARCUS DEWAYNE THOMPSON, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN, Respondent.

          ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 2241 AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT

          JAMES R. SWEENEY II, JUDGE

         Marcus Thompson, an inmate at the United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, seeks a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. For the reasons discussed in this Order, his petition is denied.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         On March 22, 2012, Mr. Thompson was arrested in Weakley County, Tennessee on a Texas state warrant for failure to register as a sex offender and violation of his parole. Dkt. 7-1, at ¶ 4. He was subsequently transported to Texas to answer these charges. Id., at ¶ 5. He pleaded guilty to the Texas state crime of failure to register as a sex offender, and the Texas court sentenced him to a 10-year term of imprisonment. Id., at ¶ 6. On August 20, 2012, the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee issued a warrant for Mr. Thompson's arrest for assault on a federal officer and failure to register as a sex offender. Id., at ¶ 7.

         On January 16, 2014, Mr. Thompson pleaded guilty to both federal charges, and the district court sentenced him to a 77-month term of imprisonment for each count, to be served concurrently with each other and with his Texas state sentence. Id., at ¶ 9. Mr. Thompson was then returned to Texas state custody, where he remained until March 23, 2018, when his ten-year Texas state sentence was discharged. Id. At that point, Mr. Thompson was transferred to federal custody to continue serving his federal sentences, which had begun to run on the date they were imposed: January 16, 2014. Id. at ¶¶ 10-11.

         On February 19, 2019, Mr. Thompson filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus arguing that his federal sentence should have begun to run “on the date in which he was apprehended”- March 22, 2012. Dkt. 1-2 at 2. He also asserts that he should receive “additional ‘Good Time' under the First Step Act of 2018” and concluded by requesting “immediate release[.]” Id. 3. The respondent responded to the petition and Mr. Thompson has not replied. The petition is now ripe for ruling.

         II. Discussion

         The 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). In support of his habeas petition, Mr. Thompson asserts that his sentence has been incorrectly calculated and that he is entitled to good time credit toward his sentence under the First Step Act of 2018. The respondent has responded, arguing that Mr. Thompson has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies on these claims, that his sentence has been properly calculated, and that Mr. Thompson has failed to raise a claim under the First Step Act.

         A. Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies

         The respondent first argues that Mr. Thompson's petition must be dismissed because he failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. 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. 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 respondent contends that Mr. Thompson has “never submitted any administrative remedy requests” related to his claims. Dkt. 7 at 1. By failing to file a reply in support of his habeas petition, Mr. Thompson has not rebutted this contention. Thus, because he is deemed to have failed to exhaust his administrative remedies, his petition for a writ of habeas corpus must be dismissed.

         However, it appears to be in the interests of both justice and judicial efficiency that the merits of Mr. Thompson'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 525).

         B. Calculation of Mr. Thompson's Sentence

         Mr. Thompson contends that his sentence should have started on the date he was ...


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