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Jackson v. Sneizek

August 28, 2008


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Conner


Presently before the court is a petition for writ of habeas corpus (Doc. 1) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 filed by pro se petitioner, Michael Jackson ("Jackson"), an inmate confined at the Federal Correctional Institution at Schuylkill ("FCI-Schuylkill") in Minersville, Pennsylvania. Jackson alleges that his constitutional rights were violated in the context of a disciplinary proceeding. For the reasons that follow, the petition will be denied.

I. Statement of Facts

On April 12, 2005, at approximately 7:25 p.m., Senior Officer J. O'Boyle approached Jackson in his cell in the Special Housing Unit ("SHU") and ordered him to provide a urine sample. (Doc. 6-4 at 3.) Jackson refused to provide the sample at that time. (Id.) Officer O'Boyle then provided Jackson with over eight ounces of water to assist him in providing the sample and returned two hours later to collect the sample.*fn1 (Id.) At no time did Jackson inform Officer O'Boyle or any other staff member that he suffered from any psychological or medical condition that would prevent him from providing the urine sample. (Id.) Upon Officer O'Boyle's return, Jackson again refused to provide the sample. (Id.)

On April 13, 2005, an incident report was delivered to Jackson charging him with "refusing to provide a urine sample or take part in other drug abuse testing" in violation of Section 110 of the BOP's disciplinary code. (Id.) An investigation was conducted on the same day. (Id.) On April 18, 2005, the Unit Disciplinary Committee ("UDC") held a hearing to review the incident report. (Id.) At that time, Jackson stated that he had a problem urinating in front of other people due to an incident which had occurred while he was in state custody in 1974. (Id. at 30.) After reviewing the matter, the UDC referred it to the disciplinary hearing officer ("DHO") for a further hearing. (Id.)

A hearing was held on May 2, 2005, at which time, Jackson indicated that he understood his rights. (Id. at 35-39.) He requested staff representation but chose not to present witness testimony. (Id. at 35-36.) No procedural irregularities occurred, and Jackson presented no documentary evidence. However, his staff representative, chief psychologist Dr. G. Londis, provided the following statement, as noted by the DHO: "[Dr. Londis] met with inmate Jackson in advance of the hearing to discuss the case. Additionally, Dr. Londis indicated there is no documentation in Jackson's medical (psychology) record to indicate he was treated or diagnosed with having a 'shy bladder' which would prohibit him from urinating in front of another person." (Id. at 35.) Jackson also provided the following statement, as noted by the DHO:

Back when I was in the state (reformatory), I had an incident when I was taking a piss and someone had clocked me from behind . . . . Since then, I've had trouble urinating in front of people . . . . The DHO asked Jackson if he cells with any other inmate which may indicate he has a problem urinating in front of people. Jackson stated, "I cell with someone and do not have a problem urinating in front of them." Jackson stated, "I really do have a problem." (Id.)

The DHO issued a decision after the hearing, in which he found credible "the information provided by the staff members involved in this case, as they derived no known benefit by providing false information. Jackson's past history of refusing to provide a urine sample indicates he has a propensity to repeat this type of misconduct. There was no medical documentation which illustrates Jackson of receiving treatment for a shy bladder syndrome or any other medical condition which would preclude him from urinating in front of other people." (Id. at 36.) The DHO concluded that the "greater weight of the evidence/some facts" indicated that Jackson refused to provide a urine sample in violation of Code 110. (Id.) Jackson was sanctioned with disciplinary segregation, disallowance of fifty-four (54) days of good conduct time, forfeiture of three hundred and fifty-two (352) days of non- vested good conduct time, and loss of phone and visiting privileges for a period of one year. (Id. at 37.)

Jackson's initial timely appeal of that decision was denied by the BOP's Northeast Regional Office on June 30, 2005. (Id. at 25.) The Regional Office also advised Jackson to contact either psychology services or health services staff for an evaluation if he was suffering from a serious medical condition. (Id. at 44.)

On July 12, 2005, Jackson filed two grievances at the institutional level. In his first grievance, Jackson alleged that a psychologist had provided incorrect information at his DHO hearing. (Id. at 26.) This grievance was rejected on August 8, 2005. (Id.) Jackson did not file an appeal. In his second grievance, Jackson again appealed the DHO's May 2, 2005, decision. (Id.) This appeal was rejected on August 8, 2005, because Jackson had submitted it to the wrong level. (Id.) He was advised that he could resubmit the grievance within ten (10) days of the rejection notice to the proper office.

Consequently, on August 23, 2005, Jackson filed a request for administrative remedy with the Northeast Regional Office appealing the DHO's May 2, 2005, decision. (Id. at 27.) In his appeal, Jackson stated that since he initially appealed the DHO's decision, he had been evaluated by Dr. Walters, a clinical psychologist, who determined that there was evidence in his records to support his allegations of a shy bladder. (Id. at 47-48.) Jackson attached a memorandum from Dr. Walters setting forth his findings. (Id. at 57.) Based on the new evidence which had not previously been considered by the DHO, the Northeast Regional Office granted in part Jackson's appeal and remanded the matter to the DHO for a rehearing. (Id. at 50.)

The rehearing was held on September 26, 2005. (Id. at 52-55.) Jackson again chose not to present witness testimony, but did have staff representation. Further, he provided the following additional statement: "At the end of the two hours, I asked the officer to give me more time and he gave me six more minutes. . . . I have a problem pissing in front of another person and they take the sample up here in SHU. . . . I pulled the curtain to give me privacy and the officer was present, but I just couldn't go." (Id. at 53.) The DHO also considered Dr. Walter's memorandum, which stated in part,

I have reviewed his central file and found some support for his assertions [of a shy bladder]. Based on my interview and file review, I believe that Jackson does have genuine concerns about urinating in front of others that can be traced back to a specific traumatic incident. I am therefore recommending that some degree of flexibility be exercised when attempting to get a urine [sample] from this inmate although by no means does this memo exempt him from participating in the urine surveillance program. (Id.)

After consideration of the evidence presented at both the initial hearing and the rehearing, the DHO concluded that Jackson committed a Code 110 violation. (Id. at 54.) In so finding, he again relied on Officer O'Boyle's statement in the incident report that Jackson was provided at least two hours to provide a urine sample and was given over eight ounces of water to aid him. He also considered Officer's O'Boyle's supplemental statement: "Jackson was housed in SHU when this violation occurred. I was observing him through his cell window. Since the incident occurred, I have collected one urine sample from Jackson with no problems noted." (Id. at 54.) The DHO also considered Jackson's past history of refusing to provide a urine sample and his failure to advise Officer O'Boyle of the reasons for his inability to provide a urine sample at the time of the request. (Id.) Finally, the DHO considered Dr. Walters' memorandum indicating Jackson's medical condition and ...

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