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Fourth Circuit: BOP Must Consider State Court’s Designation to Serve Concurrent Federal Sentence

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held on December 12, 2018 that the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) had violated the Court’s earlier mandate when considering a prisoner’s request for nunc pro tunc designation of an Oklahoma state prison as the place to serve his federal sentence.

Anthony W. Mangum was in custody in Oklahoma when federal authorities took him into custody to prosecute him in a North Carolina federal court on a count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine base. He ultimately pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 262 months in prison plus five years of supervised release.
Mangum was then returned to Oklahoma to face prosecution on unrelated state felony and misdemeanor charges. He also pleaded guilty to those charges. The state court sentenced him to concurrent terms of 10 years, seven years and one year each on two counts; it also ordered the sentences to be served concurrently with his federal sentence.

Mangum remained in Oklahoma custody while serving his state sentences and was paroled to a federal detainer on January 13, 2011, which was the date the BOP considered to be the start date for his federal sentence.

Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3621(b)(4), Mangum asked the BOP to consider whether to designate nunc pro tunc the Oklahoma prison where he served his sentence as the place for his federal sentence. 

The BOP denied his request. Despite not receiving a response from the federal sentencing court as to whether it intended its sentence to be served concurrently or consecutively with the state sentence, the BOP presumed it was to be served consecutively. Mangum filed a petition arguing the BOP had abused its discretion under the statute; the district court denied his petition, and Mangum appealed. 

The Fourth Circuit reversed. It found that under its existing precedent at the time of Mangum’s sentencing, “a federal district judge in this circuit was powerless to impose a federal sentence to be served consecutively to a state sentence that had not yet been imposed.” It ordered that on remand, as the state court had intended the state sentence to run concurrently with the federal sentence, that court’s views must “weigh heavily” while the federal court’s view was of no legal weight. See: Mangum v. Hallenbeck, 824 F.3d 98 (4th Cir. 2016).

The BOP then conducted a new review and again denied Mangum’s request. The district court denied his motion to compel compliance with the appellate court’s mandate, and Mangum again appealed to the Fourth Circuit. 

The Court of Appeals found that rather than complying with its earlier directive, “the BOP considered each court’s position on sentencing and determined that the federal court’s views were entitled to more weight than the state court’s statement.” However, it was a matter of law under the Court’s 2016 mandate that the state court’s statement receive more weight than the federal court’s views.

The case was remanded for the BOP to reconsider Mangum’s request in accordance with the Fourth Circuit’s order. The appellate court pointed out that under Setser v. United States, 566 U.S. 231 (2012), a federal court’s views on whether a sentence is served concurrently or consecutively to a future state sentence not yet imposed is “highly relevant.” The extent of this ruling is limited to cases in the Fourth Circuit where sentencing occurred before Setser was decided. See: Mangum v. Hallembaek, 910 F.3d 770 (4th Cir. 2018). 

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Related legal case

Mangum v. Hallembaek