Zavala v. Ives

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Sentencing
  • Date Filed: 05-18-2015
  • Case #: 13-56615
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Reinhardt for the Court; Circuit Judges Wardlaw and Callahan; Partial Concurrence and Partial Dissent by Callahan
  • Full Text Opinion

An alien defendant, who is awaiting potential prosecution rather than deportation, will receive sentencing credit for their time spent in detention.

Pursuant to a plea agreement, on March 28, 2011, Daniel Zavala was convicted and sentenced for illegal reentry under 8 U.S.C. § 1326(a). In determining Zavala’s sentence, the Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) did not give Zavala credit for the time he spent detained while awaiting his indictment, and for a period of time post-indictment. Zavala was detained pre-indictment from September 20, 2010, until October 5, 2010, and post-indictment from December 11, 2010, until December 21, 2010. Filing a petition for writ of habeas corpus, Zavala claimed improper denial of sentencing credit, asserting that he had been in federal custody since September 20, 2010, and should receive credit for his detention. The Ninth Circuit reviewed the district court’s denial of Zavala’s habeas petition. Under 18 U.S.C. § 3585, term of imprisonment begins “on the date the defendant is received in custody awaiting transportation to . . . the official detention facility at which the sentence is to be served.” The statute also provides that the defendant is entitled to “sentencing credit” for time spent in “official detention” prior to the commencement of the term of imprisonment. The panel interpreted “official detention” to mean the time period when the defendant is “pending potential prosecution,” since the statute did not provide a definition. Thus, the panel held that Zavala’s detention by immigration officials constituted “official detention” since Zavala was awaiting prosecution. The panel concluded that the time spent in detention pre-indictment should be credited to Zavala’s criminal sentence. REVERSED and REMANDED.

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