United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division
D. Whitney Chief United States District Judge
MATTER comes before the Court on Petitioner's
pro se “Motion for Compassionate
Release” that has been docketed in the instant case as
a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
pled guilty in the underlying criminal case to conspiracy to
commit wire and mail fraud, wire fraud and aiding and
abetting the same, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
(3:13-cr-163, Doc. No. 60). In the Judgment docketed on
August 25, 2015, she was sentenced to 130 months'
imprisonment for each count, concurrent, followed by two
years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay a total
of $642, 032.15 in restitution. (Id.).
28, 2018, Petitioner filed a “Brief in Answer to the
Assistance U.S. Attorney's Brief to Vacate Restitution
Order, ” that was docketed as a Motion to Vacate
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 and was opened in civil
case number 3:18-cv-453. See (Id., Doc. No.
63). That case is still pending.
filed the instant “Motion for Compassionate
Release” in the United States District Court for the
Northern District of Texas on January 17, 2019. (Doc. No. 1).
The Texas court docketed the matter as a § 2241 habeas
corpus petition and transferred it to this Court on February
22, 2019, where it was opened in this § 2241 civil case.
(Doc. Nos. 1, 6). Petitioner asks that the Court grant her
compassionate release or home confinement under the First
Step Act that went into effect on December 21, 2018 due to
declining health, diabetes, stage-3 kidney failure, and back
issues that require a walker. The 60-year-old Petitioner
claims that she has asked the Respondent, Warden of Carswell
Federal Medical Center, for relief that has not been answered
in 30 days or more. See (Doc. No. 1 at 3). She has
attached to her Motion/Petition the Application for
Compassionate Release that she filed with the Warden of her
current facility in which she seeks relief due to
extraordinary or compelling circumstances pursuant to §
28 U.S.C. § 571.61 under 18 U.S.C. §
4205(g) or § 3582(c)(1)(A).
the pro se filing liberally, it appears that
Petitioner is seeking relief under 18 U.S.C. § 3582
rather than § 2241. Section 3582(c)(1)(A) as amended by
the First Step Act provides that the court may, upon the
Bureau of Prisons' motion or the defendant's own
motion after the defendant fully exhausted all administrative
rights, reduce an inmate's term of imprisonment due to:
(i) “extraordinary and compelling reasons warrant such
a reduction;” or (ii) the defendant is at least 70
years of age, has served at least 30 years in prison,
pursuant to a sentence imposed under section 3559(c), for the
offense or offenses for which the defendant is currently
imprisoned, and the BOP Director has determined that the
defendant is not a danger to the safety of any other person
or the community, and the reduction is consistent with
applicable policy statements issued by the Sentencing
Commission. A motion for sentence reduction is addressed to
“the court, ” i.e., the defendant's
sentencing court. 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1); see,
e.g., United States v. Sisk, 2015 WL
13424464 (W.D. N.C. May 13, 2015) (“Section
3582(c)(1)(A) allows the sentencing court … to reduce
an inmate's term of imprisonment….”). The
Court will therefore instruct the Clerk of Court to docket
the “Motion for Compassionate Release” in
criminal case number 3:13-cr-163-FDW-1 as a motion for
sentence reduction pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c).
the instant Motion was construed as a habeas corpus petition
under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, no relief would be available.
Section 2241 petitions are civil proceedings that address
challenges to the execution of a federal sentence. See
generally United States v. Little, 392 F.3d 671, 679
(4th Cir. 2004). As such, Petitioner's request
for relief under the First Step Act could arguably be
construed as seeking relief under the First Step Act's
amendment to the Federal Prisoner Reentry Initiative, 34
U.S.C. § 60541(g) under § 2241. See,
e.g., Cavanaugh v. Johns, 459 Fed.Appx.
261, 261-62 (4th Cir. 2011) (addressing the
applicability of the predecessor statute of 34 U.S.C. §
60541 under to § 2241). The amended statute authorizes
the Attorney General to release some or all eligible elderly
offenders and terminally ill offenders from Bureau of Prisons
facilities to home detention under a pilot program.
“Eligible elderly offenders” means “an
offender in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons -- (i) who
is not less than 60 years of age; (ii) who is serving a term
of imprisonment that is not life imprisonment … and
has served the greater of 10 years or 2/3 of the term of
imprisonment to which the offender was
sentenced….” 34 U.S.C. § 60541(g)(5)(A).
Section 60541 only authorizes the Attorney General, and not
the courts, to modify the method of imprisonment from a BOP
facility to home confinement upon written request from either
the Bureau of Prisons or an eligible elderly offender.
See 34 U.S.C. § 60541(g)(1)(B). Therefore, even
if Petitioner qualifies as an “eligible elderly
offender, ” the Court lacks authority to provide relief
under § 60541 and Petitioner's request for relief
would be denied.
extent that Petitioner is attempting to seek review of the
Bureau of Prisons' failure to grant hers request for
compassionate release, such a decision is not reviewable
under § 2241. See Crowe v. United States, 430
Fed.Appx. 484 (6th Cir. 2011) (affirming the
denial of a § 2241 habeas petition because
“federal courts have no authority to review or
countermand the BOP's decision not to seek a
compassionate release for an inmate.”); United
States v. Dowdell, 669 Fed.Appx. 662 (4th
Cir. 2016) (affirming the denial of prisoner's motion to
compel the BOP to move for compassionate release pursuant to
§ 3582(c)(1)(A) (2012) because the court cannot compel
BOP to seek a discretionary sentence reduction);
see, e.g., Meyer v. U.S. Bureau of
Prisons, 2017 WL 3725613 (W.D. N.C. Aug. 29, 2017)
(BOP's discretionary decision regarding whether or not to
file a motion for compassionate release is judicially
unreviewable); United States v. Sisk, 2015 WL
13424464 (W.D. N.C. May 13, 2015) (the court cannot compel
BOP to make a request for release under §
foregoing reasons, the Court construes the “Motion for
Compassionate Release” as a motion for sentence
reduction under § 3582(c) that will be docketed in case
number 3:13-cr-163-FDW-1. To the extent Petitioner seeks
habeas corpus relief under § 2241, the “Motion for
Compassionate Release” is dismissed and denied for the
reasons set forth in this Order.
IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED that:
Petitioner's pro se “Motion for
Compassionate Release, ” (Doc. No. 1), is
DISMISSED and DENIED to the
extent is seeks habeas corpus relief under 28 U.S.C. §
Clerk of Court is instructed to docket the “Motion for
Compassionate Release” in criminal case number
3:13-cr-163-FDW-1 as a motion for sentence reduction pursuant
to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c).
Clerk of Court is ...