United States District Court, D. Colorado
ORDER OF DISMISSAL
LEWIS T. BABCOCK SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Petitioner, Earnest Seadin, a former federal prisoner now incarcerated at the Limon Correctional Facility in Limon, Colorado, has filed an application for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Petitioner contends that that he is in custody in violation of federal and state law because the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) have calculated his sentences incorrectly. For the reasons set forth below, the Application will be denied.
A. Relevant Factual and Procedural History
The record evidence reflects the following facts. Seadin was convicted of crimes of robbery and other offenses in two cases brought in Denver, Colorado, for which he received a 25 year sentence and a concurrent 4 year sentence in Denver District Court in Case No. 85CR1577 and Case No. 88CR1290 (ECF No. 34-2, p 1-2). Mr. Seadin was an inmate at the Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility (AVCF) when he escaped from custody on April 13, 1989. While an escapee from the CDOC, Seadin committed other bank robberies in Colorado and in Utah. On October 12, 1989, Applicant was sentenced in the United States District Court for the District of Utah, to 25 years for armed bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113 (A) & (D). On July 23, 1990, Applicant was sentenced in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, to 262 months for armed bank robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113 (A) & (D); and to 60 months for carrying and using a firearm during a crime of violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924 (C). His aggregated federal sentence of 30 years had a projected release date of July 11, 2015. Id.
In addition to the federal charges that Seadin incurred while an escapee from the CDOC, Seadin was charged with a new Colorado crime in Crowley County, Colorado - the offense of Escape - as a result of his escape from the CDOC in Case No. 89CR25, Crowley District Court, Colorado.
Mr. Seadin entered into plea bargains in both the federal cases and in the new Colorado case in Crowley County arising out of the Escape, such that the sentence for the Colorado Escape conviction was to run concurrent to Seadin’s federal sentences, though not to his existing 25 year sentence in Colorado for robbery. Thus, the 5 year sentence for the Colorado Escape conviction was to run consecutive to Seadin’s existing 25 year sentence for robbery in Colorado in Case No. 88CR1290 but concurrent to his new federal sentences.
Mr. Seadin contends that he was not aware that the CDOC was going to run his sentences in Denver District Court Case No. 85CR1577 and Case No. 88CR1290 consecutively to his federal sentences until approximately April of 2012. He then filed a motion to correct a clerical error in the Denver District Court to address the matter on or about January 1, 2013. The Denver District Court denied that motion on March 26, 2013. Mr. Seadin then filed a document he entitled “Writ of Habeas Corpus” in the Denver District Court on September 12, 2013, which the Denver District Court also denied, for the same reasons identified in its order dated March 26, 2013. On December 4, 2013, he filed an appeal to the Colorado Court of Appeals. On February 26, 2015, the Colorado Court of Appeals issued a lengthy opinion addressing the merits of Mr. Seadin’s appeal and denying his claims (ECF No. 25-1).
In this action, Mr. Seadin asserts that he previously believed that his Colorado sentence was running concurrently to his federal sentences, particularly due to the plea bargain he alleges he entered into with the district attorney in the Colorado Escape case. Specifically, Mr. Seadin argues that the federal sentences were also supposed to run concurrently to his pre-existing Colorado sentences for robbery and other crimes and not just as to the Colorado sentence for Escape. He asks that the Court order his release from the CDOC because his state sentences ended on January 23, 2014.
B. Federal Sentencing Claims
Applicant petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 claiming that he was in custody in violation of federal law because the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) calculated his sentences incorrectly. Specifically, he claimed that the BOP abused its discretion by failing to allow him to serve his federal and state sentences concurrently. A challenge to the BOP's calculation of a prison sentence is properly brought under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. See Walker v. United States, 680 F.3d 1205, 1205 (10th Cir. 2012). Notwithstanding, Applicant completed his federal sentence and was released from BOP custody on July 10, 2105.
Because Applicant has completed serving his sentence and was released from the custody of the BOP on July 10, 2015, his 2241 application regarding his federal sentence now is moot. Mootness occurs when an “actual injury that can be redressed by a favorable judicial decision” no longer exists. Iron Arrow Honor Soc'y v. Heckler, 464 U.S. 67, 70 (1983). This court can no longer issue a judgment that has a more than a speculative chance of affecting Applicant’s rights vis a vis his federal sentence. In other words, the Court cannot modify his federal sentence now that it has been completed. And the Court is not allowed to shorten his supervised release term. See Rhodes v. Judiscak, 676 F.3d 931, 935 (10th Cir. 2012) (dismissing as moot an appeal from the denial of a § 2241 habeas petition challenging only the petitioner's sentence computation because the petitioner had been released from custody). Thus, Appellant's 2241 application regarding his federal sentence will be denied as moot.
C. State Sentencing Issues
A state prisoner may bring a habeas action under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 or § 2254. See 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3), (d); Jones v. Cunningham, 371 U.S. 236, 236, 241 (1963) (holding that state prisoner on parole was “in custody” and district court had jurisdiction over his habeas action under § 2241). Cooper v. McKinna, Civil No. 99-1437, 2000 WL 123753, at *1 (10th Cir. Feb. 2, 2000) (holding that petitioner challenging his transfer to a private out-of-state prison “properly filed his petition pursuant to § 2241”).
Nevertheless, it is difficult to tell whether the instant action is properly brought under § 2254 as a challenge to the validity of Seadin’s conviction vis-a-vis his plea agreements or pursuant to § 2241 as an attack on the execution of his sentence. Analytically, the Application seems to be a hybrid. Seadin attacks the execution of his sentence as it affects the fact or duration of his confinement in Colorado.
A challenge to the execution of a state sentence is considered under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. See Montez v. McKinna, 208 F.3d 862, 865 (10th Cir. 2000). Under § 2241, a writ of habeas corpus may extend to a prisoner only if he or she is "in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3). Moreover, a habeas petitioner is generally required to exhaust state remedies under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. See Montez v. McKinna, 208 F.3d 862, 865 (10th Cir. 2000); Williams v. O'Brien, 792 F.2d 986, 987 (10th Cir. 1986) (concerning a § 2241 petition). In a case brought under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, the federal district court applies de novo review over a state court's decision. Bougue v. Vaughn, 439 F.App. 700, 703 (10th Cir. 2011); Walck v. Edmondson, 472 F.3d 1227, 1235 (10th Cir. 2007).
D. Applicant’s Claim
In essence, Mr. Seadin’s claim is that his Colorado sentences should have been running concurrently with his federal sentences such that they were completed in 2014. In its review of his claims, the Colorado Court of Appeals held as follows.
1. Constructive Custody
Seadin argues that he was in CDOC's constructive custody because of a detainer CDOC filed and is, therefore, entitled to credit against his Colorado sentences for ...