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Williams v. Guyer

United States District Court, D. Montana, Great Falls Division

June 6, 2019

LYNN GUYER, TIM FOX, Respondents.



         On February 22, 2019, Petitioner Alan Wayne Williams, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.[1]

         Williams alleges that he is currently serving an illegal sentence because the State of Montana has unlawfully taken away credit for his street time which has, in turn, extended the sentence(s) he is serving beyond the maximum time allowed. See, (Doc. 1 at 4, ¶13(A)). Williams asserts the purportedly unlawful taking of his street time contradicts federal law because his valid discharge date has been set aside and extended following his revocation. Id. at 5, ¶13(B).

         Williams asks this Court to discharge his sentence in accordance with Montana law because his discharge date is past due. Id. at 7, ¶16.

         I. Background

         The Montana Supreme Court recently summarized Williams' state procedural history in its denial of his state habeas corpus petition as follows:

In March 1999, the Tenth Judicial District Court, Fergus County, sentenced Williams for felony forgery to a twenty-year term with ten years suspended. The District Court also credited Williams with forty-six days of time served prior to sentencing. Williams served time at Montana State Prison (MSP) from March 23, 1999 to June 4, 2003. Our previous Order detailed the calculation of his discharge Dated:
He filed postconviction claims that were ultimately settled by way of a stipulation between Williams and the State that provided that Williams would be resentenced on his forgery conviction in exchange for a waiver of his postconviction claims. Pursuant thereto, Williams was resentenced on May 27, 2003[, ] to 20 years, with all time suspended. The District Court ran this sentence from the date of the original imposition, or March 23, 1999. Again, Williams was credited for the 46 days he served prior to his original sentencing, but the order did not mention the time Williams had actually served in MSP.
Multiple revocation proceedings followed that engendered various detention times for Williams. On March 24, 2014, Williams' suspended sentence (which was the resentence imposed on May 27, 2003) was revoked and he was committed to the [DOC] “to serve the remaining time” of his sentence. Referring to prior revocation orders, the District Court denied credit for “street time” from April 15, 2012 to May 1, 2013, but granted credit for the original 46 days and for the times Williams was detained on prior revocation petitions (119 108 = 227 days). Then, in an amended judgment dated April 14, 2014, the District Court clarified that Williams would receive credit for the time he served in MSP from March 23, 1999 to June 4, 2003, or 1580 days. All of Williams' credit totaled 1853 days, a total Williams concurs in, or approximately 5.07 years of credit.
While the Department calculates Williams' discharge date to be February 27, 2020, Williams argues that it should be January 27, 2015, a little over 5 years earlier. However, Williams is double-counting his total credit for time served, which can easily be seen by viewing his sentence in overview. Williams is serving a 20-year sentence that began in March 23, 1999. Giving him credit for the entirety of the time within the 20-year period following his sentence would put his discharge date at March 23, 2019 (Williams dos not qualify for the former benefit of “good time”). However, Williams was denied credit for “street time” between April 15, 2012 and May 1, 2013, a period of about one year and 16 days. Thus, that period must be added to the time, pushing the date out to April 2020. Then, the 46 days of credit Williams received prior to his original sentencing is subtracted from his sentence, bringing his discharge date back to February 2020, as the Department so states.
Williams v. Berkebile, No. OP 15-0135, Order, at 1-2 (Mont. Apr. 29, 2015) (emphasis in original). Williams now contends his sentence has improperly been “extended to 21 years and 25 days” by way of the DOC's calculation of his discharge date to be February 27, 2020. Citing to § 46-18-203(7)(a)(iii), MCA, in regard to elapsed or “street” time, Williams argues his sentence is illegal because he is serving more time than originally sentenced. He also notes he was granted parole in December 2016, and that his parole was revoked in December 2018. He is currently incarcerated at MSP. He asserts a “constitutional liberty interest” in his personal calculation of his discharge date of January 31, 2019, which he argues should be honored.

Williams v. Guyer, OP 19-0059, 2019 WL 579636, at *1-2 (Mont. Feb. 12, 2019).

         The Court determined the district court properly denied Williams credit for street time pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. §46-18-203(7)(b)(2103).[2] The Court noted the district court's sentencing order expressly denied such credit and found Williams “was in violation of the terms of the underlying judgment. Id. at * 3. The Court determined that Williams calculation of his discharge date did not factor in this denial of street time and, accordingly, his fixed discharge date was properly set at February 27, 2020. Id. Williams was not entitled to habeas relief.

         II. ...

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