United States District Court, D. Maine
ORDER ON MOTION FOR RECOMMENDATION REGARDING LENGTH
OF RRC PLACEMENT
A. WOODCOCK, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Court dismisses without prejudice an inmate's motion for
recommendation to a residential reentry center because the
defendant repeatedly lied before federal juries and at her
sentencing hearing, she received an obstruction of justice
enhancement for lying. Therefore the Court does not credit
her uncorroborated statements and will require corroboration
before acting on any similar motion she may wish to file in
February 24, 2015, the Court sentenced Darlene Ford to a term
of incarceration of 78 months for her part in a conspiracy to
manufacture 100 or more marijuana plants, a violation of 21
U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), maintaining a drug involved place, a
violation of 21 U.S.C. 856(a), and aiding and abetting a
felon's possession of a firearm, a violation of 18 U.SC.
922(g)(1), all to be served concurrently. J. (ECF
No. 423). On September 15, 2016, the Court dismissed the
firearm count after Ms. Ford's successful appeal on that
issue, but the Court imposed the same term of imprisonment,
78 months, on the two remaining counts, to be served
concurrently. Am. J. (ECF No. 477); Op. of the
United States Ct. of Appeals (ECF No. 460); J. of
the United States Ct. of Appeals (ECF No. 461).
Darlene Ford's Motion
24, 2018, Ms. Ford moved this Court to recommend to the
United States Bureau of Prisons (BOP) that she receive eight
months of Residential Reentry Center placement. Mot. for
Recommendation Regarding Length of RRC Placement (ECF
No. 493) (Def.'s Mot.). Ms. Ford's motion is
largely a hand written copy of a
Ford states that she has a current release date of October 3,
2019 and she therefore requests that she be recommended for
the reentry center in a timely manner. Id. at 2-3.
She says that during her incarceration, she has maintained a
clean record, completed a number of training programs, and
mentored her peers. Id. at 3. Conceding that the BOP
has the ultimate authority to designate her to an RRC, she
also observes that the BOP is required to consider any
judicial recommendation. Id. at 2-4. She notes that
she graduated from the Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP)
on November 9, 2017. Id. at 3. Ms. Ford requests
that the Court recommend to the BOP that she spend eight
months in an RRC. Id. at 5.
The Government's Response
11, 2018, the Government filed a pro forma response, taking
no position on the motion. Gov't Resp. to Def.'s
Mot. for Recommendation Regarding Placement at
1 (ECF No. 494) (Gov't's Resp.). The
Government referred the Court to its recent response to a
similar motion in another case. Id. at 1-2 (citing
United States v. Tiffany Sutherland,
1:15-CR-00041-JAW-2, Government's Second Response to
Motion for Recommendation Regarding Length of RRC
Placement (ECF No. 202) (Gov't's Sutherland
Government concurs with Ms. Ford that the BOP, not this
Court, has the authority to determine her place of
imprisonment. Gov't's Sutherland Resp. at
2-3. The Government observes that the pre-release designation
statute, 18 U.S.C. § 3624(c), provides that the BOP may
exercise its discretion in assigning an inmate to pre-release
custody and that any recommendation from this Court must be
subject to the BOP's statutory discretion. Id.
at 3. The Government points to other court decisions which
have granted post-judgment motions similar to Ms. Ford's.
Id. at 3-4 (citing caselaw). In the end, the
Government leaves the decision as to whether to make a
recommendation to the sound discretion of the Court.
Id. at 4.
United States Supreme Court has written that Congress has
given the BOP “plenary control, subject to statutory
constraints, over ‘the place of the prisoner's
imprisonment.'” Tapia v. United States,
141 S.Ct. 2382, 2390 (2011) (quoting 18 U.S.C. §
3621(b)). Federal law permits a court to make a
recommendation to the BOP, “[b]ut decisionmaking
authority rests with the BOP.” Id. at 2390-91.
The applicable statutory provision is 18 U.S.C. §
[The BOP] shall, to the extent practicable, ensure that a
prisoner serving a term of imprisonment spends a portion of
the final months of that term (not to exceed 12 months),
under conditions that will afford that prisoner a reasonable
opportunity to adjust to and prepare for the reentry of that
prisoner into the community. Such conditions may include a
community correctional facility.
law also provides that a sentencing court may make a
recommendation that a prisoner serve a term of imprisonment
in a residential reentry center. 18 U.S.C. § ...