Taylor v. Sawyer

Decision Date28 March 2002
Docket NumberNo. 01-35103.,01-35103.
Citation284 F.3d 1143
PartiesMiguel Lawayne TAYLOR, Petitioner-Appellant, v. Kathleen Hawk SAWYER, Director, Bureau of Prisons; David Cook, Director, Oregon Department of Corrections; Frank Thompson, Superintendent, Oregon State Penitentiary, Respondents-Appellees.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Ninth Circuit

Steven T. Wax (argued), Assistant Federal Public Defender, Portland, OR, for the petitioner-appellant.

Michael Brown, Assistant United States Attorney, Portland, OR, for the respondent-appellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Oregon; Malcolm F. Marsh, District Judge, Presiding. D.C. No. CV-00-01263-MA.

Before HUG, JR., T.G. NELSON, and GOULD, Circuit Judges.


GOULD, Circuit Judge.

Miguel Lawayne Taylor appeals the district court's denial of his 28 U.S.C. § 2241 habeas corpus petition. Taylor's petition sought an order directing the Federal Bureau of Prisons to designate an Oregon Department of Corrections facility for service of his federal sentence nunc pro tunc1 to May 10, 1993, thereby giving effect to an allegedly concurrent state sentence. Taylor contends that the Bureau of Prisons' denial of the request for designation was based on an invalid policy statement that he argues is contrary to the governing statutory law. He contends alternatively that the denial violates principles of dual sovereignty, comity, federalism, and full faith and credit.

The district court denied Taylor's petition for writ of habeas corpus. Taylor appeals. We affirm.


On June 10, 1992, Miguel Taylor was indicted in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon for conspiring to distribute, and for distributing, crack cocaine. He was arraigned on August 3, 1992 and later released into the community. While on release, Taylor entered a guilty plea in the federal district court, admitting that he had distributed crack cocaine. The court continued Taylor's release on previously established conditions and ordered that he appear for sentencing on January 4, 1993. A few months later after the plea in federal court, on December 14, 1992, Taylor was arrested and held in custody by the State of Oregon on murder charges.

At Taylor's request, the federal sentencing was rescheduled to May 10, 1993, when, although in state custody, he appeared before the federal court on a writ ad prosequendum2 and was sentenced to serve a 70 month term of imprisonment. The judgment and commitment order included the notation that "[w]ith the imposition of this sentence, the defendant is now in federal custody."3

Notwithstanding, Taylor remained in state custody and was thereafter tried in state court, convicted of manslaughter, and sentenced to imprisonment for a term of 115 months. The state court judgment said that the state sentence would run "concurrently with federal time." Taylor was then sent to the Oregon State Penitentiary to commence service of his state sentence. After his arrival at the penitentiary, the Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") told Taylor that his federal sentence would not begin to run until he had been released by the state and taken into federal custody.

On March 22, 1995, the Oregon Court of Appeals reversed Taylor's manslaughter conviction. Taylor remained in custody of the State of Oregon, however, until the case was tried a second time. The retrial resulted in Taylor's conviction once again of manslaughter, and he was again sentenced to serve a 115 month term of imprisonment. The state judgment imposed after Taylor's retrial did not refer to the outstanding federal sentence, and did not include the "concurrently with federal time" phrase that had been part of the earlier state judgment voided by the state appellate court decision of March 22.4

Thereafter, while imprisoned by the state, Taylor filed petitions in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon, under 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241 and 2255. Taylor sought a transfer to federal custody and an order giving him credit against his federal sentence beginning on May 10, 1993. Alternatively, he wanted to vacate his federal conviction and/ or sentence. The district court denied Taylor's requests, clarifying:

[P]etitioner construes my statement that "[w]ith the imposition of this sentence, the defendant is now in federal custody" to be a pronouncement that petitioner's federal sentence commenced on May 10, 1993, despite his presence in state custody. However, in light of 18 U.S.C. § 3585 (providing that a federal sentence "commences on the date the defendant is received in custody awaiting transportation to, or arrives ... at, the official detention facility at which the sentence is to be served"), a statement that petitioner's federal sentence commenced upon its entry is mere surplusage.

Taylor appealed this ruling. In a published opinion, Taylor v. Reno, 164 F.3d 440 (9th Cir.1998), we affirmed the judgment of the federal district court, holding that the district court's statement when sentencing Taylor on May 10, 1993, that upon the imposition of the sentence Taylor would be "in federal custody," was of no legal consequence. We held that the district court was without power to commence the federal sentence, given that Taylor was then in the primary custody of the State of Oregon. Id. at 445-46.

Following our affirmance, Taylor again sought to convert his federal sentence into a concurrent term of imprisonment by asking the district court to recommend that the BOP commence his sentence nunc pro tunc to May 10, 1993. The district court declined, stating that concurrent service of the sentences "would depreciate the seriousness of both the state and federal offenses."

Next, in an effort to secure credit against his federal sentence, Taylor asked the Oregon Department of Corrections ("DOC") to request that the BOP designate a DOC facility for service of the federal sentence. The DOC requested, in letters to the BOP forwarded on October 15, 1999 and again on February 18, 2000, that it be designated as the "primary custodian for [Taylor's] federal term." The Regional Director of the BOP denied this request stating:

[T]he records provided to us by the United States District Court of Oregon did not indicate the Federal offense would run concurrently with the State offense. Therefore, the Federal offense runs consecutively. [Taylor] will not be taken into the BOP until he completes his State sentence or until other arrangements are made. Finally, Mr. Taylor will not receive credit for his Federal sentence at this time. Time served cannot be credited until he is in Federal custody.

By September 15, 2000, Taylor had completed his state sentence, was released to federal authorities, and commenced serving his federal sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution, Sheridan, Oregon.

Taylor then filed this habeas corpus petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. He alleged that the BOP violated his constitutional rights when it refused to give effect to the concurrent service of Taylor's state and federal sentences. The district court rejected Taylor's claims, holding that the BOP's refusal to treat the state and federal sentences as concurrent did not violate the concepts of comity and full faith and credit. And the district court held that the BOP's decision was neither arbitrary nor capricious, in light of the repeated refusals of both the state and federal courts to take any of the actions requested by Taylor that would have effectively produced concurrent sentences. The court concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to compel the requested nunc pro tunc designation.

Taylor appeals. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1291 and 2253, we have jurisdiction over Taylor's appeal.


We review de novo the denial of a petition filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Bowen v. Hood, 202 F.3d 1211, 1218 (9th Cir. 2000).

Taylor argues that the actions of the BOP in refusing to commence the running of Taylor's federal sentence or to accept the State of Oregon's request for a nunc pro tunc designation are based on a misunderstanding of the federal court order that sentenced him and of the authority that the federal sentencing judge possessed when he imposed the sentence.

The statute that governs the manner in which multiple sentences of imprisonment may be imposed is 18 U.S.C. § 3584, which states in subsection (a):

Imposition of concurrent or consecutive terms: If multiple terms of imprisonment are imposed on a defendant at the same time, or if a term of imprisonment is imposed on a defendant who is already subject to an undischarged term of imprisonment, the terms may run concurrently or consecutively, except that the terms may not run consecutively for an attempt and for another offense that was the sole objective of the attempt. Multiple terms of imprisonment imposed at the same time run concurrently unless the court orders or the statute mandates that the terms are to run consecutively. Multiple terms of imprisonment imposed at different times run consecutively unless the court orders that the terms are to run concurrently.

18 U.S.C. § 3584(a) (emphasis added).

Based on the plain language of the statute, we have held on several occasions that the district courts cannot order a sentence to run either concurrently or consecutively to a non-existent term. United States v. Neely, 38 F.3d 458, 461 (9th Cir.1994); United States v. Clayton, 927 F.2d 491, 492 (9th Cir.1991). At the time of the federal sentencing, the state had not yet imposed a sentence, and thus the district court did not have the discretion to characterize the sentence it imposed as either consecutive or concurrent. 18 U.S.C. § 3584.

Taylor argues that BOP Policy Statement § 5160.04, which provides that the BOP may make a nunc pro tunc designation of a state facility for service of a federal sentence, is invalid because it is contrary to the...

To continue reading

Request your trial
117 cases
  • McRae v. Rios
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of California
    • April 24, 2013
    ...Circuit rejected this contention, noting that it had previously approved the BOP's interpretation of § 3621(b) in Taylor v. Sawyer, 284 F.3d 1143, 1148-1149 (9th Cir. 2002). Id. In Reynolds, the majority of the Ninth Circuit panel again reaffirmed that position. Id. That holding alone would......
  • United States v. Eccleston
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of New Mexico
    • June 10, 2021
    ...over the federal sentence. United States v. Yepez, 704 F.3d 1087, 1091 (9th Cir. 2012) (en banc)(per curiam); Taylor v. Sawyer, 284 F.3d 1143, 1151-52 (9th Cir. 2002), abrogated on other grounds by Setser, 132 S. Ct. at 1473.S. Eccleston v. United States, 648 F. App'x 606, 607 (9th Cir. 201......
  • United States v. Yepez
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Ninth Circuit
    • December 20, 2012
    ...U.S. ––––, 132 S.Ct. 1463, 1471, 182 L.Ed.2d 455 (2012) (internal quotation marks and alterations omitted); see also Taylor v. Sawyer, 284 F.3d 1143, 1151 (9th Cir.2002). State courts cannot be given the authority to change a defendant's federal sentence by issuing a ruling that alters hist......
  • Hawthorne Savings v. Reliance Ins. Co.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Ninth Circuit
    • August 24, 2005
    ...be used to control litigation in other courts absent both parties having been before the court in both litigations." Taylor v. Sawyer, 284 F.3d 1143, 1153 (9th Cir.2002) (citing Baker, 522 U.S. at 239, 118 S.Ct. 657).16 Hawthorne was never a party to the Pennsylvania proceedings, nor does R......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT