United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville Division
TIMOTHY J. CORRIGAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
case is before the Court on Defendant Robert Mills’s
Renewed Motion for Compassionate Release. (Doc. 461). The
Government responded in opposition. (Doc. 463). In its
response, the Government incorporated its prior response,
(Doc. 452), which argues that Mills’s situation does
not satisfy the requirements for compassionate release.
However, it also raised a new jurisdictional issue. Given
this argument, the Court allowed Mills to file a reply to
address the jurisdictional argument. (Doc. 464). Mills filed
a reply, (Doc. 466-2), two supplements, (Docs. 467 &
468), an addendum, (Doc. 470), a Motion to Transfer his
Probation to the District of New Jersey, (Doc. 469), and a
Motion for Clarification, (Doc. 471). Before reaching the merits
of Mills’s request for compassionate release, the Court
must determine if it has jurisdiction to do so.
2003, this Court sentenced Mills to 240 months of
imprisonment for conspiracy and attempting to possess with
intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine-the
mandatory sentence at the time. (Docs. 149; 225; 447). At the
time he committed those offenses, Mills was on supervised
release for a prior conviction out of the District of New
Jersey. United States v. Robert Mills, Case No.
2:94-cr-280-JWB-1 (D.N.J.). After beginning his sentence
imposed by this Court, the district judge in New Jersey
revoked Mills’s supervised release, and sentenced him
to thirty months imprisonment-fifteen months to run
concurrently with this Court’s 240-month sentence and
15 months to run consecutively. (Doc. 445-1 at 4).
March 2018, Mills attempted to file for compassionate release
pursuant to BOP Program Statement 5050.49, which allowed
prisoners who are 65 or older and have served the greater of
10 years or 75% of their sentences to petition BOP to file a
motion for compassionate release on their behalf. Mills was
informed that he was ineligible because he had only served
19.1% of his District of New Jersey sentence. (Doc. 445 at
2). Although BOP has unreviewable discretion in refusing to
file a motion on behalf of a prisoner, see Orlansky v.
FCI Miami Warden, 754 F. App’x 862, 865–66
(11th Cir. 2018), Mills filed a motion requesting
clarification of his sentence, and the Court entered an order
stating that 18 U.S.C. § 3584(c) requires BOP to
aggregate sentences for administrative purposes, see
United States v. Llewlyn, 879 F.3d 1291, 1295 (11th Cir.
2018); (Docs. 445, 446). Mills again petitioned for
compassionate release, and BOP, despite this Court’s
order explaining that the law required it to aggregate
Mills’s sentences, (Doc. 446), denied Mills’s
request for the same reasons, (Doc. 448-1 at 2–3).
December 18, 2018-three days before the passage of the First
Step Act-Mills filed a motion for compassionate release with
this Court. (Doc. 447). Prior to enactment of the First Step
Act, the only way a federal prisoner could receive
compassionate release was if the Director of BOP filed a
motion on the prisoner’s behalf. See 18 U.S.C.
§ 3582(c)(1)(a) (2012). But the First Step Act, signed
into law on December 21, 2018, gave Mills a second chance; it
allows prisoners to file a motion for compassionate release
directly with the court after exhausting the BOP’s
administrative remedies process. First Step Act of 2018, Pub.
L. No. 115-05, 132 Stat. 015 (2018); 18 U.S.C.A. §
3582(c)(1)(a) (2019). However, Mills had not exhausted his
administrative remedies, so on January 23, 2019, the court
directed that he do so before it could rule on his motion.
January 24, 2019, Mills filed a new petition for
compassionate release with the Warden of his institution.
(Doc. 461-1 at 2). On February 4, 2019, the Warden denied
Mills’s request, again incorrectly citing that Mills
had only served a small percentage of his District of New
Jersey sentence. Id. at 7–8. Mills then filed
two requests for the Warden to verify that his decision was a
final determination by the institution. The Warden responded
to both requests, stating that the prior denial was a final
institution determination. Id. at 9–12. On
March 14, 2019, Mills appealed to the regional office,
Id. at 13, which was denied on April 17, 2019, (Doc.
465 at 2). In denying the request, the Regional Office noted
that Mills had only served twenty-three percent of his
District of New Jersey sentence, and stated that he had a
projected release date from this Court’s sentence of
October 12, 2019 (taking into account good conduct time).
(Doc. 465 at 2). Mills then took the final step to exhaust
the administrative remedy process: appealing to the general
counsel. (Doc. 461-1 at 14).
final appeal is dated April 27, 2019, and has a faded
“Received” stamp dated May 6, 2019. Id.
The general counsel denied Mills’s appeal on July 8,
2019-the last possible day it could do so. See 28
C.F.R. § 542.18 (2019); (Doc. 461-1 at 16). Importantly,
the denial states that Mills “satisfied [his] 240-month
term of imprisonment on June 8, 2019. However, [Mills] only
served one year, one month, and twenty days . . . of [his]
30-month term of imprisonment . . . .” (Doc. 461-1 at
15). Further, the denial states: “In accordance with
the First Step Act of 2018, you have an updated projected
good conduct time release date of July 1, 2020.”
the course of Mills’s administrative appeal, BOP
implemented the First Step Act’s changes to the
computation of good conduct time-thus, Mills’s release
date for this Court’s sentence changed from a
projection of October 12, 2019 to being completed on June 8,
2019. See First Step Act of 2018, Pub. L. No.
115-05, § 102(b)(1) (2018). BOP, again, erred in
determining Mills’s eligibility under its own policies;
this time in computing his good conduct time credit. The
First Step Act changed how BOP was to compute good conduct
time credit- changing the credit a prisoner could receive
from 47 to 54 days a year. Id. However, the First
Step Act states: “The amendments made by this
subsection shall take effect beginning on the date that the
Attorney General completes and releases the risk and needs
assessment system . . . as added by section 101(a) of this
Act.” Id. § 102(b)(2). The risk and needs
assessment system was not released until July 19, 2019-more
than ten days after BOP changed Mills’s release date
and then denied his petition for compassionate release.
See Dept. of Justice, Office of the Att’y
Gen., The First Step Act of 2018: Risk and Needs Assessment
System (July 19, 2019).
9, 2019, Mills notified the Court that he had exhausted his
administrative remedies, (Doc. 460), and at the Court’s
direction, Mills filed a renewed motion for compassionate
release on July 25, 2019, (Doc. 461). The Government argues that
because Mills has completed the sentence imposed by this
Court and is serving his partially consecutive, partially
concurrent sentence out of the District of New Jersey, that
this Court lacks the authority to rule on Mills’s
motion. (Doc. 463). Mills makes two arguments in rebuttal:
(1) that the Court should consider its jurisdiction at the
time Mills filed his first motion-December 18, 2018, (Doc.
468 at 2); and (2) because § 603 of the First Step Act
amended both 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c) and 34 U.S.C. §
60541, the definition for “term of imprisonment”
in 34 U.S.C. § 60541(g)-which was not modified by the
First Step Act-should apply to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c),
(Docs. 466-2 at 2; 467).
arguendo, the Court has jurisdiction to even
consider the motion, the Court cannot grant compassionate
release. There is no doubt that this Court’s sentence
has now expired and Mills is serving his District of New
Jersey sentence. Thus, only the New Jersey court could order
compassionate release at this time.
it is hereby
Defendant Robert Mills’s Motion for Compassionate
Release (Docs. 460, 461) is DENIED.
Court is informed that United States Probation has approved
Mills’s mother’s house in New Jersey as his
residence for his period of supervised release. Thus,
Mills’s motion to Transfer Probation to the District of
New Jersey (Doc. 469) is DENIED. After his
release, Mills can request through his probation officer that
his supervised release be formally transferred to New ...