416 F.3d 1271 (11th Cir. 2005), 04-14132, Brown v. McFadden

Docket Nº:04-14132.
Citation:416 F.3d 1271
Party Name:Jeffrey A. BROWN, Petitioner-Appellant, v. Robert E. McFADDEN, Warden, Respondent-Appellee.
Case Date:July 12, 2005
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

Page 1271

416 F.3d 1271 (11th Cir. 2005)

Jeffrey A. BROWN, Petitioner-Appellant,


Robert E. McFADDEN, Warden, Respondent-Appellee.

No. 04-14132.

United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit.

July 12, 2005

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia. D.C. Docket No.04-00009-CV-2.

Maegen E. Peek, Steven L. Brannock, Holland & Knight, LLP, Tampa, FL, Guy O. Farmer, II, Holland & Knight, LLP, Jacksonville, FL, for Brown.

Amy Lee Copeland, Savannah, GA, for McFadden.

Before ANDERSON, HULL and RONEY, Circuit Judges.

Page 1272


Federal prisoner Jeffrey A. Brown appeals the district court's denial of his 28 U.S.C. § 2241 petition for writ of habeas corpus on the ground that the district court erroneously interpreted 18 U.S.C. § 3624(b)(1), which states that each federal prisoner "receive credit toward the service of his sentence, beyond the time served, of fifty-four days at the end of each year of his term of imprisonment, beginning at the end of the first year of the term . . .." He argues that the statute's plain language requires that he earn 54 days credit for each year he is sentenced to imprisonment by the sentencing court and not, as the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has so interpreted, 54 days credit for each year he actually serves in prison. We hold that although the plain text of § 3624(b)(1) is ambiguous, the BOP's interpretation of this statute is reasonable, the rule of lenity does not apply, and we therefore affirm the denial of his petition.

In 1989, Brown was sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment based upon a federal drug conviction. His sentence commenced on June 27, 1989. The BOP projects that his release date will be December 22, 2006, if Brown earns all available good conduct time (GCT) until the date he is released. The BOP has derived this release date from using a mathematical calculation method set forth in its Sentence Computation Manual, Program Statement 5880.28. The Program Statement, which is a BOP internal operating guideline, instructs the BOP to award a prisoner .148 days (which is 54/365) for each day a prisoner serves in one of its facilities in excess of one year, subject to the BOP's determination that the prisoner has satisfactorily complied with institutional regulations during that previous year. After each "full year" of imprisonment in one of its institutions, the...

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