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Moore v. Epps

United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Aberdeen Division

July 29, 2014

RICHARD MOORE, Petitioner,
CHRISTOPHER EPPS, et al., Respondents.


SHARION AYCOCK, District Judge.

Petitioner, Richard Moore, proceeding pro se, was an inmate in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections ("MDOC") at the time he filed this petition for federal habeas relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Respondents have filed an answer to the instant petition, and the time has expired for Moore to submit a reply. Having considered the parties' filings and the applicable law, the Court finds that Moore's petition should be dismissed.

Background and Procedural History

By order filed June 22, 2006, Moore was sentenced to three years in MDOC custody after he was convicted of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in the Circuit Court of Monroe County in Cause No. CR04-239. (Answer, Ex. A).[1] His sentence was ordered to run consecutively with the seventy-month federal sentence imposed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi in Cause No. 1:05CR18 following Moore's conviction for possession of child pornography transported in interstate commerce. (Answer, Exs. A and C).

In this petition, Moore does not challenge the merits of his convictions and sentences from the Monroe County Circuit Court, but rather, argues that MDOC held him beyond his tentative discharge date and contrary to the sentencing order. Specifically, he maintains that MDOC incorrectly computed his time for his state sentence in relation to his federal sentences in Cause Nos. 1:05CR18 and 1:06CR95.[2]

Moore filed a complaint with the Administrative Remedy Program ("ARP") challenging MDOC's computation of his time on or about September 13, 2012. (Answer, Ex. E). Therein, Moore argued that he entered MDOC custody on September 14, 2006, and therefore, the maximum discharge date on his three-year sentence should have been June 1, 2009, despite the fact that he was released to federal custody on the same day he originally entered MDOC custody. ( Id. ). Moore argued that his return to MDOC custody on May 30, 2012, should have been simply to process him out of custody and release him. ( Id. ).

The "First Step Response" to Moore's complaint, signed November 16, 2012, stated:

You were being held in the Lafayette County Jail for U.S. Marshals when you were picked up by Monroe County on 6-21-2006. You were sentenced on 6-22-2006 to serve 3 years in MDOC custody on cause CR04-239 to run consecutively with the Federal. You were returned to U.S. Marshal custody on same day of sentence. Since your sentence is to run consecutive with Federal, it will not start until you have returned to MDOC custody which was 5-30-2012.

(Answer, Ex. F). Moore proceeded to the second step of the ARP process, stating that he wished to appeal because "MDOC did not and has not followed the COURT ORDER of CR04-239, which is very clear that the state sentence run CONSECUTIVE to the Federal Sentence USDC Cause No. 1:05CR18, which ended in May 2011." (Answer, Ex. G). He also argued that MDOC erred by failing to credit him for the time period he was in federal custody after he had completed serving his time on Cause No. 1:05CR18. ( Id. ).

The "Second Step Response" issued on January 30, 2013, and explained Moore's time sheet as follows:

You were picked up from Lafayette County Jail by Monroe County for sentencing on 6-21-2006. On June 22, 2006 you were sentenced to 3 years in Monroe County and this sentence is to run CS with the Federal. Since the sentence is running CS, your sentence with MDOC won't start until you are released back into their custody which is 5-30-2012. And additional 9 days credit has been applied from 5-21-2012 to 5-30-2012.

(Answer, Ex. H). Moore signed the second step response, acknowledging that he had completed the requirements of ARP and was eligible to seek judicial review within thirty days. ( Id. ). See also Miss. Code Ann. § 47-5-807 (allowing an inmate to seek judicial review of the ARP process).

While his ARP was pending, Moore filed a "Petition for Court to Enforce Terms of Sentence with the Mississippi Department of Corrections" in the Monroe County Circuit Court, wherein he argued that MDOC erred in starting his sentence when he was returned to custody in May 2012. (Answer, Ex. I; see also Ex. J). Moore argued that, pursuant to the state court judgment, his state sentence was ordered to run consecutively to the federal sentence imposed in Cause No. 1:05CR18, which ended on May 9, 2011. (Answer, Ex. I). He complained that, because his state sentence was to run consecutive to that federal cause number, he should receive credit against his state sentence for the additional twelve months he served in federal custody on the unrelated charge in Cause No. 1:06CR95. ( Id. ).

On March 13, 2013, the trial court continued the matter for ninety days, noting that Moore failed to make a showing that he had exhausted his administrative remedies. (Answer, Ex. K). Moore supplied the appropriate proof, and on July 29, 2013, the trial court entered an order denying Moore's motion to correct sentence. (Answer, Ex. L). In denying the motion, the trial judge stated that he had reviewed Moore's "time sheet and the Administrative Remedy Program Response Form" and found that Moore's sentence "will not expire until on or about May 20, 2015." ( Id. ). Moore filed a "Motion for Reconsideration" from that ...

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