Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Monday, June 11, 2012

Diaz: Inmate in Federal Prison not "in custody"

In Diaz v. State of Florida Fourth Judicial Circuit, No. 10-15202 (June 11, 2012), the Court affirmed the denial of habeas relief to a defendant who had completely served the sentence imposed by the state court and therefore was no longer "in custody."
Diaz was subject to two sentences, one imposed in federal court to run concurrently to any sentence imposed in state court, and one imposed in state court, to run consecutively and prior to the federal sentence. When Diaz finished serving his state sentence in state custody he was transferred to federal custody to finish serving his federal sentence. When in federal custody, Diaz filed a habeas petition challenging the constitutionality of his state convictions.
The Court held that because Diaz had fully served the state sentence he was no longer "in custody" for habeas purposes. The Court distinguished other cases in which an inmate was allowed to challenge a prior conviction when he serving the latter of two consecutive sentences imposed by the same sovereign. In those cases, an error in the first sentence would delay the start of the latter sentence. But here, Diaz was serving his federal sentence, and the federal government is "generally not required to credit any portion of a prisoner’s time served in state custody."