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Ward v. Terris

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

March 28, 2018

MARK JEFFREY WARD, Petitioner,
v.
J.A. TERRIS, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM AND DENYING PETITION UNDER 28 U.S.C. § 2241

          AVERN COHN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. Introduction

         This is a habeas case under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Petitioner Mark Jeffrey Ward, (Petitioner), a federal prisoner, filed a pro se petition seeking relief from the Bureau of Prisons' (BOP) determination that he is ineligible for a sentence reduction under 18 U.S.C. § 3621(e)(2)(B) after he successfully completed a drug treatment program. Respondent, through the United States Attorney's Office, filed a response, arguing that the petition is without merit. For the reasons that follow, the petition will be denied.

         II. Background

         On November 14, 2007, Petitioner pled guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine base - crack, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1) (Count One), and to possession of stolen firearms, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(j) and § 924(a)(2) (Count Five). United States v. Ward, No. 07-20292 (E.D. Mich.). The plea agreement called for a guideline range of 87-108 months, based in part on the application of the safety valve. The probation department, however, calculated the guideline range as 57-71 but also concluded that Petitioner was not eligible for the safety valve; therefore the guideline range was set at the 120 month mandatory minimum. See 21 U.S.C. § 841(b) and U.S.S.G. §5G1.1.

         On June 10, 2008, the Court sentenced Petitioner to 108 months imprisonment, the top of the guideline range. The Court found that the safety valve did apply and therefore accepted the sentencing range in the plea agreement. The sentence was later reduced to fifty seven (57) months. See Docs. 30, 31.

         Meanwhile, on January 7, 2009, Petitioner was sentenced to 240 months and 1 day by another judge in this district for possession with intent to distribute cocaine base, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 846 and 851. The sentence was ordered to run concurrent to the sentence in 07-cr-20292. See United States v. Ward, No. 08-cr-20327 (E.D. Mich.)(Doc. 16).

         On November 4, 2016, President Obama granted Petitioner executive clemency; his sentence is to expire on November 4, 2018. See Respondent's Exhibits 4, 5.

         Petitioner participated in the Bureau of Prisons' Residential Drug Abuse Treatment Program (RDAP) from February 5, 2016, through December 9, 2016. On December 9, 2016, the BOP denied Petitioner's request for early release after his successful completion of the RDAP. The BOP determined that Petitioner was ineligible for the early release benefit under 18 U.S.C. §3621(e) in part because he received a two-point sentencing enhancement for possession of a dangerous weapon in the case before the undersigned.

         After exhausting his administrative remedies, Petitioner filed the instant petition for writ of habeas corpus. Petitioner says that he was eligible for a one year sentence reduction under § 3621(e)(2)(B) because he was convicted only of non-violent offenses.

         III.

         Analysis

         A.

         Title 28 U.S.C. § 2241 grants federal district courts jurisdiction over writs of habeas corpus for state prisoners only where they allege they are “in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. 2241(c)(3). Title 28 U.S.C. § 2241 “is reserved for challenges to the execution of a sentence, such as the computation of parole or sentence credits.” Velasc ...


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