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Porte v. Warden

January 9, 2006


The opinion of the court was delivered by: (Judge Jones)



Jorge Porte ("Porte" or "Petitioner"), an inmate confined at the Allenwood Federal Correctional Institution, in White Deer, Pennsylvania ("FCI-Allenwood"), filed this pro se Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Service of the Petition was previously ordered. In addition, the Warden of FCIAllenwood was substituted for Disciplinary Hearing Officer ("DHO") S. Biafore as the sole Respondent in this matter.

Petitioner states that during September, 2003, he was issued a disciplinary report while confined at the Federal Correctional Institution, Elkton, Ohio ("FCIElkton"). The disciplinary report accused him of assaulting inmate Richard Javens on June 22, 2002. Specifically, an investigation by the prison's Special Investigative Service ("SIS") concluded that Porte stabbed Javens multiple times with a ten to twelve inch weapon. Petitioner was subsequently found guilty of the charge by DHO Biafore and sanctioned to a forty-one (41) day loss of good time credit, ordered to make monetary restitution, and was recommended for a disciplinary transfer.

Porte's present action asserts that he was denied due process during his disciplinary proceedings. Petitioner initially states that he was never interviewed by the SIS and that his placement in segregated housing during the prolonged delay between the June 2002 incident and the September 2003 initiation of the disciplinary charges, greatly impaired his ability to gather evidence and confer with potential witnesses. Petitioner also notes that the original disciplinary charge was dismissed and subsequently rewritten and served on November 3, 2003. The Petition next contends that the written misconduct charge was not supported by any evidence and the DHO found Porte guilty "without giving appellant a hearing, and without my statement of defense." (Rec. Doc. 1 at 6).

Furthermore, after going on a hunger strike while in segregated confinement, Petitioner claims that he was physically forced to undergo a medical examination which included the taking of blood and urine samples. His Petition additionally maintains that he was subjected to unconstitutional treatment while in segregation, including denial of counseling, religious services, correspondence, telephone and law library privileges because he is of his Hispanic descent. As relief, Porte seeks expungement of the misconduct charge and reversal of all resulting sanctions including restoration of his forfeited good time credit.

Respondent seeks dismissal of the Petition on the grounds that Porte failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. Alternatively, Respondent maintains that Petitioner was afforded due process during the course of his disciplinary proceedings. It is additionally argued that any claims which do not regard the legality or duration of Porte's ongoing confinement are not properly asserted in a § 2241 action.


A. Conditions of Confinement

As noted above, Porte's action includes claims that he subjected to unconstitutional conditions while housed in segregated confinement. Petitioner also contends that prison officials provided him with disparate treatment because he is Hispanic and that he was physically forced to give blood and urine samples.

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 Porte's above listed claims regarding his treatment while in segregated confinement do not challenge the legality of either his underlying criminal conviction or resulting sentence. Such claims also do not assert that his sentence has been improperly calculated or otherwise attack the length of his present incarceration. The purportedly unconstitutional actions did not include a loss of good time credits or otherwise extend the length of his confinement.

Thus, such alleged unconstitutional acts did not adversely affect the fact or duration of Petitioner's incarceration. See Wapnick v. True, Civil No. 4:CV-97-1829, slip op. (M.D. Pa. Dec. 17, 1997) (McClure, J.) (alleged improper placement in administrative confinement is not a basis for relief under § 2241). Accordingly, "habeas corpus is not an appropriate or available federal remedy." Linnen v. Armainis, 991 F.2d 1102, 1109 (3d Cir. 1993).

Consequently, Petitioner's claims regarding his treatment while in segregated confinement will be denied as meritless without prejudice to any right Porte may have to reassert said ...

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