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Federal prisoner not entitled to additional sentence credit

October 7, 2015

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a lower court that an inmate in a federal Terre Haute prison should not receive credit for a three-year period as he argued in his habeas corpus petition.

Tom Allen Manuel was sentenced to federal prison on Oct. 27, 2010; he had been in federal custody since May 24, 2010. On Nov. 9, 2010, his Michigan parole was revoked and he returned to that state’s custody. He was released from Michigan’s custody on May 4, 2013, but was transferred back to federal prison to serve his 51-month prison term.

The Bureau of Prisons gave him a five-month credit toward his federal sentence, citing the time he spent in custody from May 24 to Oct. 27, 2010. But Manuel wanted to receive credit for May 24, 2010 to May 4, 2013.

Crediting the period of time that Manuel argues would reduce his federal sentence to a mere 15.5 months, Judge Richard Posner pointed out.

“To cut it so drastically after the state had credited 9.5 months against his state sentence (the period January 22, 2010, to November 9 of that year, leaving him to serve approximately 30 months for the parole violation) would chop his total incarceration in half, cutting it from 90.5 months (51 federal and 30 state). We can’t see what sense that would make – an observation that supplements the cases we’ve cited with a practical reason for interpreting ‘another sentence’ in 18 U.S.C. Section 3585(b) to include a state, as well as another federal, sentence.”

Posner also pointed out the BOP erred in giving Manuel five months of credit against his federal sentence because the state already had given him that credit against his state sentence.

“That’s an error the Bureau can and should correct itself,” Posner wrote in Tom Allen Manuel v. J.A. Terris, 15-1392.

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