United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
REGINALD J. RODGERS, Petitioner,
TERI LAWSON,  Respondent.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
C. COLLINS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Petitioner's Petition under
28 U.S.C. § 2254 for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person
in State Custody (Doc. 1). The parties have consented to the
jurisdiction of the undersigned United States Magistrate
Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) (Doc. 7). After
reviewing the case, the Court has determined that Petitioner
is not entitled to relief. As a result, the Court will
DENY the Petition and
DISMISS the case.
11, 2003, Petitioner was sentenced in Federal Court to a term
of imprisonment with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. See
United States v. Reginald J. Rodgers, 4:02-CR-00588-RWS
(E.D. Mo. July 11, 2003). Under the Interstate Agreement on
Detainers Act, Petitioner was transferred on October 29, 2003
to the St. Louis County Justice Center to await disposition
of several pending Missouri state charges (Doc. 10-5 at
22-23). On April 30, 2004, 184 days after his transfer to the
St. Louis County Justice Center, the Circuit Court sentenced
Petitioner to a term of imprisonment in the custody of the
Missouri Department of Corrections (Doc. 10-8 at 2).
Petitioner pursued post-conviction relief in state and
federal court. Petitioner's first Petition under 28
U.S.C. § 2254 for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in
State Custody was denied on August 25, 2011. Reginald J.
Rodgers, Sr. v. Don Roper, No. 4:08CV00950-AGF, 2011 WL
3794253 (E.D. Mo. Aug. 25, 2011).
Missouri Department of Corrections (“MDOC”)
originally credited Petitioner with 184 days' credit
toward his Missouri sentences for his time spent at the St.
Louis County Justice Center (Doc. 10-18). However, on July 7,
2014, MDOC determined Petitioner was not entitled to that
credit under Missouri law and revised Petitioner's
sentence calculation accordingly (Doc. 10-5 at 26). On July
15, 2015, Petitioner filed a petition for declaratory
judgment in Pike County Circuit Court challenging the revised
calculation of his jail-time credit. The Circuit Court
dismissed the action on the State's Motion to Dismiss and
Petitioner appealed. See Rodgers v. Fife, No.
15PI-CC00040 (45th Judicial Circuit, Pike County
Court). On April 19, 2016, the Missouri Court of Appeals,
Eastern District, affirmed the trial court's dismissal of
Petitioner's declaratory judgment action (Doc. 10-8).
See Rodgers v. Fife, No. 15PI-CC00040
(45th Judicial Circuit, Pike County Court). On
December 19, 2016, Petitioner filed a Petition under 28
U.S.C. § 2254 for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in
State Custody (Doc. 1). In his current Petition, Petitioner
argues that he is entitled to the 184 days' credit for
the time he spent in custody at the St. Louis County Justice
Center awaiting disposition of his state charges (Doc. 1).
Petitioner further asserts that MDOC's recalculation of
his jail-time credit violates the terms of his plea agreement
habeas setting, a federal court is bound by the
Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
(AEDPA) to exercise only limited and deferential review of
underlying state court decisions. Lomholt v. Iowa,
327 F.3d 748, 751 (8th Cir. 2003). Under this standard, a
federal court may not grant relief to a state prisoner unless
the state court's adjudication of a claim “resulted
in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an
unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law,
as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States,
” or “was based on an unreasonable determination
of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State
court proceeding.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d).
“[F]ederal habeas corpus relief does not lie for errors
of state law” and “it is not province of a
federal habeas court to reexamine state-court determinations
on state-law questions.” Estelle v. McGuire,
502 U.S. 62, 67-68 (1991). Petitioner has not alleged that
his custody violates the Constitution or the laws of the
United States. Instead, Petitioner alleges that he has not
received the proper amount of credit toward his sentence
under Missouri law. However, “the interpretation of
state crediting statutes is a matter of state concern and not
a proper function of a federal court under its habeas
jurisdiction.” Travis v. Lockhart, 925 F.2d
1095, 1097 (8th Cir. 1991). See also Murphy v.
Thompson, No. 4:05CV1062-DJS, 2008 WL 2859144, at *7
(E.D. Mo. July 23, 2008) (“The current prevailing view
in this Circuit and District, however, appears to be that a
claim based on the alleged misapplication of a state
crediting statute, whether discretionary or mandatory, is not
cognizable by a federal habeas court.”) (collecting
cases). The application of sentence-crediting statutes is
“‘legislative grace and not a constitutional
guarantee.'” Travis, 925 F.2d at 1097
(quoting Patino v. South Dakota, 851 F.2d 1118, 1120
(8th Cir.1988) (per curiam)). Therefore, the claim is not
cognizable in a federal habeas petition. Regardless, even if
the Court were to consider Petitioner's claim on the
merits, MDOC properly modified Petitioner's sentence
because he was not in custody related to his state charges
but was already in custody as a result of his federal
sentence. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 558.031. See also Farish
v. Missouri Dep't of Corr., 416 S.W.3d 793, 797-98
(Mo. 2013) (jail-time credit not allowed by statute where
offender would have been in custody regardless of the state
charges). Furthermore, Petitioner fails to support his
assertion that MDOC's recalculation of his jail-time
credit materially impacted his decision to plead guilty
because the jail-time credit statute at the time of
sentencing was the same as it was at the time of the
recalculation. Thus, the Court will deny the Petition.
reasons stated above, the Court finds that Petitioner is not
entitled to federal habeas relief. Furthermore, Petitioner
has failed to make a substantial showing of the denial of a
constitutional right, which requires a demonstration
“that jurists of reason would find it debatable whether
the petition states a valid claim of the denial of a
constitutional right.” Khaimov v. Crist, 297
F.3d 783, 785 (8th Cir. 2002) (quotation omitted). Thus, the
Court will not issue a certificate of appealability. 28
U.S.C. § 2253(c).
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Petitioner's
Petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254 (Doc. 1) is DENIED and this case
IS FURTHER ORDERED that a certificate of
appealability will not be issued. 28 U.S.C. § 2253.
separate Judgment shall be entered in accordance with this
Memorandum and Order.