United States District Court, M.D. Florida, For Myers Division
POLSTER CHAPPELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is Defendant Kathleen Smith's pro
se Motion for Recommendation Regarding Length of RRC
Placement. (Doc. 492). For the following reasons, the Court
declines to recommend RRC placement to the BOP.
2015, the Court sentenced Smith to forty months imprisonment
for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute one or
more kilograms of heroin. (Doc. 410). Smith declined to make
a statement at her sentencing hearing (Doc. 401), but the
Court heard her attorney's argument on how and why Smith
became involved in the drug conspiracy and her role in the
scheme. The Court considered these arguments in sentencing
Smith to a below the Guidelines sentence. It also recommended
that she be incarcerated in a facility close to home. (Doc.
410 at 2).
now moves for a judicial recommendation to the Bureau of
Prisons (“BOP”) that she be placed in a
residential reentry center (“RRC”) for six to
nine months. (Doc. 492). To support her request,
Smith says that she gave birth to her third daughter last
month in prison and that her children are living with her
mother in Florida. (Doc. 492-1). Smith says that
placement in a halfway house will get her “better
established” in Florida to care for her children after
prison. (Doc. 492-1 at 1). She indicates that she and her
mother may struggle to care for her children.
federal law, once a court imposes a sentence, the BOP assumes
legal authority over the prisoner. Only the BOP can designate
the place of a prisoner's imprisonment. See 18
U.S.C. § 3621(b); United States v. Sonny
Austin Ramedo, 705 Fed.Appx. 839, 840-41 (11th Cir.
2017) (stating “the BOP is afforded wide discretion in
classifying and housing prisoners” (citations
omitted)). The agency decides a place of imprisonment based
on certain factors including the sentencing court's
recommendation on “a type of penal or correctional
facility.” 18 U.S.C. § 3621(b)(4)(B). “Any
order, recommendation, or request by a sentencing court that
a convicted person serve a term of imprisonment in a
community corrections facility shall have no binding effect
on the authority of the Bureau under this section to
determine or change the place of imprisonment of that
person.” Id. § 3621(b).
18 U.S.C. § 3624(c) provides that a federal inmate may
be granted prerelease custody, in which she may serve a part
of her federal sentence in, among other things a community
correctional facility. “The BOP considers all five
factors listed in § 3621(b), as well as the guidelines
under § 3624(c)(1), and makes an individual
determination on each inmate's placement into an
RRC.” United States v. Horton, No.
2:12-cr-7-BO-1, 2017 WL 3204479, at *1 (W.D. N.C. July 27,
2017) (citations omitted). One factor considered is the
sentencing court's recommendation on a “type of
penal or correctional facility” for the defendant.
the Court recommended a prison placement for Smith in its
judgment, i.e., she be housed close to home. (Doc.
410 at 2). Because it did not recommend RRC or halfway house
placement, the Court construes Smith's motion to request
a supplemental recommendation on RRC or halfway house
placement. At sentencing, the Court carefully
considered multiple facts bearing on Smith's
incarceration - many that Smith reiterates in this motion.
The Court did not find at sentencing - nor does it find now -
that a recommendation to the BOP on RRC placement to be
warranted. See, e.g., Ramedo, 705 Fed.Appx.
at 840 (rejecting defendant's argument that the district
court was required to recommend to the BOP that his
“public safety factor” designation be removed).
Not to mention, the Court imposed a sentence that was two
years less than the low-end of her calculated Sentencing
said, the Court commends Smith for her achievements while in
custody and her clear conduct record. It also understands her
demands and responsibilities as a mother. But the BOP will
have the opportunity to consider her accomplishments,
behavior record, and family needs when deciding her
eligibility, if any, for RRC placement. The Court declines to
interfere in that decision.
Kathleen Smith's pro se Motion for
Recommendation Regarding Length of RRC Placement (Doc.
492) is DENIED.