United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
September 14, 2005.
RAYMOND E. DODD, Petitioner
JOSEPH V. SMITH, Respondent.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: EDWIN KOSIK, Senior District Judge
Raymond E. Dodd, an inmate currently confined at the
United States Penitentiary at Lewisburg (USP-Lewisburg), Pennsylvania,
filed this action labeled as a petition for writ of habeas corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 on September 6, 2005. Named as
respondent is Joseph V. Smith, warden at U.S.P. Lewisburg. Along
with his petition, he has also filed a motion seeking leave to
proceed in forma pauperis in this matter. (Doc. 2.) For the
reasons that follow, the motion to proceed in forma
pauperis will be granted for the sole purpose of filing this
action, but the petition will be dismissed without prejudice to
any right Dodd may have to reassert his claims in a properly
filed civil rights complaint.
In the instant petition Dodd challenges neither the legality of
his underlying criminal conviction nor the resulting sentence he
received. Rather, he seeks federal habeas corpus relief with respect to a USP-Lewisburg disciplinary proceeding.
He states that he received an incident report (#1306063) on an
unspecified date charging him with stealing (Offense Code 219)
and being out of bounds (Offense Code 316). Following a
disciplinary hearing he was sentenced on February 1, 2005, to 30
days disciplinary segregation, 90 days loss of commissary
privileges and a recommended transfer on the Code 219 violation,
and 15 consecutive days of disciplinary segregation, 90 days loss
of telephone and 90 days loss of visiting privileges on the Code
316 violation.*fn1 In addition to the above sanction, Dodd
was also to be placed on one year administrative segregation to
participate in an administrative program following the
disciplinary segregation. Dodd states that he thereafter fully
exhausted his appeals with regard to the finding of guilt and
resulting sanctions but was unsuccessful.
In the instant petition, Dodd raises several claims. He
contends that his placement in administrative segregation for one
year was done in retaliation by Warden Smith. He also claims that
the disciplinary sanction he received subjected him to double
jeopardy. He further challenges the conditions of his confinement
in the administrative segregation where he was placed following
the disciplinary segregation, and contends he is being subjected
to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the
Eighth Amendment. He further claims that his placement in administrative
segregation violated due process because it occurred without a
hearing.*fn2 III. Discussion
Habeas corpus petitions are subject to summary dismissal
pursuant to Rule 4 ("Preliminary Consideration by th Judge") of
the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States
District Courts, 28 U.S.C. foll. § 2254 (1977). See, e.g.,
Patton v. Fenton, 491 F. Supp. 156, 158-59 (M.D. Pa. 1979).
Rule 4 provides in pertinent part: "If it plainly appears from
the face of the petition and any exhibits annexed to it that the
petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court, the
judge shall make an order for its summary dismissal and cause the
petitioner to be notified." A petition may be dismissed without
review of an answer "when the petition is frivolous, or obviously
lacking in merit, or where . . . the necessary facts can be
determined frm the petition itself. . . ." Allen v. Perini,
424 F.2d 134, 141 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 400 U.S. 906
(1970). Accord Love v. Butler, 952 F.2d 10, 15 (1st Cir.
1991). The Allen court also stated that "the District Court has
a duty to screen out a habeas corpus petition which should be
dismissed for lack of merit on its face." 424 F.2d at 141.
It is well-settled that a habeas corpus petition may be brought
by a prisoner who seeks to challenge either the fact or duration
of his confinement in prison. Preiser v. Rodriguez,
411 U.S. 475 (1973), Telford v. Hepting, 980 F.2d 745, 748 (3d Cir.),
cert. denied, 510 U.S. 920 (1993). Federal habeas corpus
review is available only "where the deprivation of rights is such
that it necessarily impacts the fact or length of detention."
Leamer v. Fauver, 288 F.3d 532, 540 (3d Cir. 2002). From a careful review of the petition, it is clear that Dodd
does not seek speedier or immediate release from custody nor does
he challenge the legality of his present incarceration. Rather,
based on the grounds asserted in the petition, he challenges the
conditions of his confinement as well as the sanctions imposed in
the disciplinary proceeding sanctions which did not result in
the forfeiture of good time credits and which did not extend the
length of Dodd's incarceration. As such, his present claims are
not properly before the court in a habeas corpus petition.
Dodd's claims relate to the disciplinary hearing which was
conducted. In Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 563-73 (1974),
where the inmates were deprived of good time credits as a severe
sanction for serious misconduct, the Supreme Court recognized
that such inmates have various procedural due process in
protections in prison disciplinary hearings. Thereafter, in
Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 480-84 (1995), the Supreme
Court clarified that the Wolff due process protections must be
provided only if the challenged disciplinary proceeding resulted
in a loss of good time credits. There is no indication in the
instant case that Dodd's disciplinary hearing resulted in the
loss of good time credits or otherwise extended the length of his
confinement. As such, the petition fails to assert that the
finding of guilt adversely affected the fact or duration of his
incarceration. See Hall v. Dodrill, Civil No. 4:CV-03-1021,
slip op. (M.D. Pa. July 10, 2003) (Conaboy, J.) and Wapnick
v. True, Civil No. 4:CV-97-1829, slip op. (M.D. Pa. Dec. 17,
997) (McClure, J.) (Alleged improper placement in administrative
confinement is not a basis for relief under § 2241). To the extent Dodd seeks to raise a double jeopardy claim, his
claim is also without merit. He appears to contend that the
institutional sanctions he received as a result of his prison
misconduct charges subjected him to double jeopardy in violation
of the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment.*fn3
The Clause serves the function of preventing both "successive
punishments and successive prosecutions." United States v.
Usery, 111 S.Ct. 2135, 2139 (1996). It "prohibits the government
from punishing twice or attempting a second time to punish
criminally for the same offense." Id. at 2139-40; see also,
United States v. Rice, 109 F.3d 151, 153 (3d Cir. 1997).
Clearly, the sanctions imposed as a result of the disciplinary
proceedings are not a second punishment for the underlying
criminal activity for which Dodd presently is confined. Further,
prison disciplinary proceedings are not criminal prosecutions.
See Wolff, 418 U.S. at 556. Rather, Dodd was subjected to a
prison misconduct hearing for the incident report he received,
and the sanctions imposed were a result of this sole disciplinary
hearing. Clearly, Dodd does not state a viable double jeopardy
claim. To the extent he attempts to argue that the administrative
segregation which was ordered to follow the disciplinary
segregation is double jeopardy, his claims is also without merit.
The subsequent participation in the administrative program was
part of the sanction imposed as a result of the finding of guilt
on the two charges. Also important is the fact that none of the
sanctions imposed lengthened the sentence Dodd presently serves. Consequently, the petition will be denied without prejudice to
any right Dodd may have to reassert his present claims
challenging his conditions of confinement in administrative
detention and retaliation in a properly filed civil rights
An appropriate Order is attached. ORDER
NOW, THIS 14th DAY OF SEPTEMBER, 2005, in accordance with
the foregoing Memorandum, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED AS FOLLOWS:
1. The motion to proceed in forma pauperis
(Doc. 2) is granted for the sole purpose of filing
2. The petition for writ of habeas corpus is
dismissed without prejudice.
3. Petitioner, if he so chooses, may reassert his
present claims in a properly filed civil rights
4. The Clerk of Court is directed to forward to
petitioner two (2) copies of this court's form civil
rights complaint as well as in forma pauperis and
5. The Clerk of Court is directed to close this case.
© 1992-2005 VersusLaw Inc.