In 2001, Brandon Creighton Sample, now a federal prisoner (# 33939-037), pleaded guilty to money laundering and other offenses and was sentenced to a total of 168 months in prison. He allegedly has been in custody since May 28, 2000. Sample filed the instant 28 U.S.C. § 2241 habeas petition asserting that the Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") is calculating his good time credit in a manner contrary to 18 U.S.C. § 3624(b). He argued that the statute requires that a prisoner be awarded "54 days" of credit for each year of his prison term, as imposed by the court, whereas the BOP is computing such credit based on each year served, which will allegedly result in his receiving 98 fewer days of good time credit over the course of his prison term. The district court denied Sample relief, concluding that the BOP's regulatory construction of any ambiguity in 18 U.S.C. § 3624(b) was permissible under the standard of Chevron U.S.A. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837, 104 S.Ct. 2778, 81 L.Ed.2d 694 (1984). See 28 C.F.R. § 523.20.
Whether Sample's sentence is computed on the basis of the BOP's interpretation
Given the temporally distant and speculative nature of Sample's claim, his allegations do not establish that "he `will sustain immediate injury' and `that such injury would be redressed by the relief requested.'" See Cinel, 15 F.3d at 1341 (citation omitted). Accordingly, we conclude that Sample's 28 U.S.C. § 2241 petition is not ripe for review, and we DISMISS the instant appeal for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.
Even if we were to assume arguendo that we have subject-matter jurisdiction, we would conclude that the district court did not err in denying Sample's 28 U.S.C. § 2241 petition. Issues of statutory interpretation are reviewed de novo. See United States v. Santos-Riviera, 183 F.3d 367, 369 (5th Cir.1999). The appropriate starting point when interpreting any statute is its plain meaning. See United States v. Ron Pair Enters., Inc., 489 U.S. 235, 242, 109 S.Ct. 1026, 103 L.Ed.2d 290 (1989). "In ascertaining the plain meaning of the statute, the court must look to the particular statutory language at issue, as well as the language and design of the statute as a whole." K Mart Corp. v. Cartier, Inc., 486 U.S. 281, 291, 108 S.Ct. 1811, 100 L.Ed.2d 313 (1988).
Section 3624(b)(1), 18 U.S.C., reads in its entirety as follows:
We disagree with Sample's contention that the "plain language" of 18 U.S.C. § 3624(b)(1) requires that his good time credit be computed in a manner that would award him "54 days" for each year of his "term of imprisonment" based on the "sentence actually imposed by the sentencing judge." It is plain from the statute that an inmate must earn good time credit; the statute grants the BOP itself the power to determine whether or not, during a given year, the inmate has complied with institutional disciplinary rules. Good time credit thus is not awarded in advance, and any entitlement to such credit for future years is speculative at best. The statute also plainly states that a prisoner cannot earn any good time credit until he has served at least one year of his prison term. At that time, and thereafter "at the end of each year" of the inmate's prison term, he "may" be awarded "up to 54 days" of good time credit. The plain effect of such annual awards is to reduce an inmate's prison term incrementally while he is serving it. For instance, if Sample were to receive annual awards of 54 days of credit until 2012, his sentence by that time would be several hundred days shorter than the 168-month term imposed by the court. The statute, however, contains no language that would permit him to receive additional good time credit based on the original prison term "as imposed" by the court, and it provides no method for computing such credit.
If this statutory language does not "plainly" support the BOP's computation method, then it is at worst ambiguous. If the statute is ambiguous, deference to the BOP's interpretation thereof is required by Chevron. At least two sister circuits have so held, and they have concluded that the BOP's interpretation was permissible. See White v. Scibana, 390 F.3d 997, 1002-03 (7th Cir.2004); Pacheco-Camacho v. Hood, 272 F.3d 1266, 1270-71 (9th Cir. 2003). We agree with the reasoning of White and Pacheco-Camacho. Accordingly, even if were to conclude that the case is ripe for review, we would affirm the judgment of the district court.
Sample's pro se motion for appointment of counsel is DENIED as moot because he is now represented by pro bono counsel.
DISMISSED FOR LACK OF SUBJECT-MATTER JURISDICTION; MOTION DENIED.