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United States v. Phelps

United States District Court, D. Nevada

May 29, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiffs,
v.
DERRICK PHELPS, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

         Presently before the court is defendant Derrick Phelps' (“defendant”) motion “for judicial recommendation concerning length of RRC/direct home confinement placement.” (ECF No. 296). The United States of America (“the government”) filed a response. (ECF No. 297). Defendant has not filed a reply, and the time to do so has passed.

         I. Facts

         On December 2, 2014, defendant was sentenced to a total of 70 months' imprisonment pursuant to his conviction for various counts of fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud. (ECF No. 168).

         On January 28, 2019, defendant filed the instant motion requesting that the court recommend to the Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) that he be released on home confinement for the last nine (9) to twelve (12) months of his sentence, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3621. (ECF No. 296). The court now considers defendant's motion.

         II. Legal Standard

         A federal defendant who has been convicted and sentenced to a term of imprisonment is committed to the custody of the BOP. 18 U.S.C. § 3621(a). The BOP “shall designate the place of the prisoner's imprisonment.” 18 U.S.C. § 3621(b); see United States v. Ceballos, 671 F.3d 852, 855 (9th Cir. 2011) (recognizing that the BOP “has the statutory authority to choose the locations where prisoners serve their sentence”).

         Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§ 3621(b) and 3624(c), the BOP has discretion to place an inmate in a residential reentry center (“RRC”) and/or home confinement. See Sacora v. Thomas, 628 F.3d 1059, 1061-62 (9th Cir. 2010) (recognizing that these two “statutory provisions govern the BOP's authority to place inmates in its custody in RRCs”). Section 3621(b) authorizes the BOP to “designate the place of the prisoner's imprisonment” generally upon consideration of, among other factors:

(4) any statement by the court that imposed the sentence-
(A) concerning the purposes for which the sentence to imprisonment was determined to be warranted; or
(B) recommending a type of penal or correctional facility as appropriate.

Id.

         Section 3624(c)(1), as amended by the Second Chance Act (“SCA”), directs the BOP “to the extent practicable, ensure that a prisoner” spends a portion of the last 12 months of that term of imprisonment in an appropriate setting to “prepare for the reentry of that prisoner into the community.” 18 U.S.C. § 3624(c)(1). An appropriate placement may include an RRC or “home confinement.” 18 U.S.C. § 3624(c)(2). The SCA also requires the BOP to issue regulations designed to ensure that RRC placements are (1) “conducted in a manner consistent with section 3621(b), ” (2) “determined on an individual basis, ” and (3) “of sufficient duration to provide the greatest likelihood of successful reintegration into the community.” 18 U.S.C. § 3624(c)(6).

         III. Discussion

         In his motion, defendant acknowledges that the SCA grants the BOP the authority to place a prisoner on home confinement for the final months of his or her sentence. See (ECF No. 296). Accordingly, defendant requests that the court make a recommendation to the BOP that defendant be placed on home confinement for the last 12 months of his sentence. Id. Defendant asserts that he is an ideal candidate for this form of relief, as he does not pose a threat to ...


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