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Bataldo-Castillo v. Bragg

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division

May 13, 2016

Argeni Bataldo-Castillo, Petitioner,
Warden Travis M. Bragg, Respondent.


          Richard Mark Gergel United States District Court Judge.

         This matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge, recommending summary judgment for Respondent. For the reasons set forth below, the Court adopts the Report and Recommendation as the Order of the Court, grants Respondent's motion for summary judgment, and dismisses the petition for habeas relief.

         I. Background

         Petitioner is a federal prisoner at FCI Bennettsville, South Carolina. On March 27, 2009, Petitioner was arrested in Puerto Rico for illegal re-entry after deportation. He was sentenced on June 15, 2009, to an eight-month term of imprisonment upon revocation of his supervised release term. With prior custody credit, his projected release date was November 25, 2009, and, on November 25, 2009, he was released to the Department of Homeland Security on an immigration detainer. Petitioner was deported to his home country, the Dominican Republic, on December 16, 2009.

         However, Petitioner's release was an error. On September 16, 2009, Petitioner had been sentenced to a 3 3-month term of imprisonment for reentry after deportation subsequent to the commission of an aggravated felony-specifically, smuggling marijuana. Plea Agreement, United States v. Argents Bataldo-Castillo, Crim. No. 3:09-162-GAG (D.P.R. May 5, 2009) (hereinafter "Case No. 09-162"), That sentence was to be served consecutively to the eight-month sentence for supervised release revocation. Because the judgment in Case No. 09-162 was not properly reported to the Bureau of Prisons ("BOP"), it was not used when BOP computed Petitioner's sentence. When released and deported, Petitioner did not inform the Government that he had another sentence to serve.

         On July 6, 2010, Petitioner was again arrested in Puerto Rico. He was apprehended offshore while smuggling cocaine from the Dominican Republic into the United States. Plea Agreement, United States v. Argenis Bataldo-Castillo, Crim. No, 3;10-253-GAG (D.P.I. Sept. 26, 2011) (hereinafter "Case No. 10-253"). On January 17, 2012, he was sentenced to a 96-month term of imprisonment for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. The BOP computed that sentence together with the 33-month sentence in Case No. 09-162 for an aggregate 129-month term of imprisonment commencing on July 6, 2010.

         On September 15, 2015, Petitioner filed the instant Petition for habeas relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C, § 2241. Petitioner claims that his sentence computation is erroneous on two grounds. First, he claims that he should receive credit for the time spent at liberty due to his mistaken release from custody on November 25, 2009 (he also claims that his time in immigration detention, November 25, 2009 to December 16, 2009, is "official detention" which should count toward his sentence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3585). Second, he claims that he should receive credit for time served from his July 6, 2010 arrest to his January 17, 2012 sentencing.

         II. Legal Standard

         A. Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge

         The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court. The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the responsibility to make a final determination remains with the Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261 (1976). The Court is charged with making a de novo determination of those portions of the Report and Recommendation to which specific objection is made. The Court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

         When a proper objection is made to a particular issue, "a district court is required to consider all arguments directed to that issue, regardless of whether they were raised before the magistrate." United States v. George, 971 F.2d 1113, 1118 (4th Cir. 1992). However, "[t]he district court's decision whether to consider additional evidence is committed to its discretion, and any refusal will be reviewed for abuse." Doe v. Chao, 306 F.3d 170, 183 & n.9 (4th Cir. 2002). "[A]ttempts to introduce new evidence after the magistrate judge has acted are disfavored, " though the district court may allow it "when a party offers sufficient reasons for so doing." Caldwell v. Jackson, 831 F.Supp.2d 911, 914 (M.D. N.C. 2010) (listing cases).

         B. Summary Judgment

         Summary judgment is appropriate if a party "shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact" and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In other words, summary judgment should be granted "only when it is clear that there is no dispute concerning either the facts of the controversy or the inferences to be drawn from those facts." Pulliam Inv. Co. v. Cameo Props., 810 F.2d 1282, 1286 (4th Cir. 1987). "In determining whether a genuine issue has been raised, the court must construe all inferences and ambiguities in favor of the nonmoving party." HealthSouth Rehab. Hosp. v. Am. Nat'l Red Cross, 101 F.3d 1005, 1008 (4th Cir. 1996). The party seeking summary judgment shoulders the initial burden of demonstrating to the court that there is no genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323(1986).

         Once the moving party has made this threshold demonstration, the non-moving party, to survive the motion for summary judgment, may not rest on the allegations averred in his pleadings. Id. at 324. Rather, the non-moving party must demonstrate that specific, material facts exist that give rise to a genuine issue. Id. Under this standard, "[c]onclusory or speculative allegations do not suffice, nor does a 'mere scintilla of evidence'" in support of the non-moving party's case. Thompson v.Poto ...

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