Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Andrews: Upholding Denial of 2241 Challenging BOP Interpretation of Commutation

In Andrews v. Warden, No. 19-2443 (May 5, 2020) (William Pryor, Jill Pryor, Luck), the Court affirmed the denial of a federal prisoner’s 2241 habeas petition.

The defendant challenged the BOP’s re-calculation of his release date after President Obama commuted the “total sentence of imprisonment” that he was “now serving.”  The defendant argued that this commutation also extended to an earlier term of imprisonment that he had completed, not just the term of imprisonment he was currently serving (which included a sentence for violating supervised release of the earlier sentence).  The Eleventh Circuit disagreed.  After a lengthy discussion on the President’s pardon power and other related matters, the Court found that the plain language of the commutation foreclosed the defendant’s argument, and that the BOP’s interpretation of it was entitled to deference.

Judge Jill Pryor concurred only in the result.