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Woodruff v. Williamson

March 12, 2009


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Caputo


I. Introduction

Kevin Paul Woodruff, a pro se petitioner, has filed a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 and has paid the $5.00 filing fee.*fn1 Woodruff, a federal prisoner challenges the loss of Good Conduct Time ("GCT") as a result of two separate disciplinary at two different facilities, USP-Victorville, Adelanto, California, and USP-Lewisburg, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Woodruff also claims he was transferred to USP-Lewisburg's Special Management Unit ("SMU") in retaliation for filing administrative remedies and for racially motivated reasons. While housed in the SMU, Woodruff states he was denied appropriate medical care for his asthma and complaints of chest pain. Finally, Woodruff asserts the Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") has miscalculated his sentence by denying him prior custody credit and disallowing vested GCT. Woodruff contends the correction of his sentence would result in his immediate release and seeks monetary damages for the remaining charges. (Doc. 1, Petition.)

For the reasons discussed below, certain claims will be dismissed without prejudice to Woodruff's right to pursue them in a properly filed civil rights complaint. The claims properly brought in this habeas petition will be denied.

II. Factual Background

A. Disciplinary Proceedings at USP-Victorville

On September 13, 2005, Woodruff received an incident report charging him with offense code violations 104, Possession of a Weapon, and 307, Refusing an Order. (Doc. 15-6, Exhibits in Support of Respondent's Response to the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus at R. 21.)*fn2 The report, authored by Officer Jarvis, contains the following information:

On September 12, 2005, at approximately 7:05 p.m., I observed inmate Woodruff, Kevin, Reg. No. 56195-07, holding in his hand a homemade weapon that looked like an ice-pick style metal rod approximately 6 inches long. The inmate was ordered to get on the ground, he did not comply until Tower #7 fired two blast dispersion rounds. At this time Woodruff handed the weapon to inmate Fields, Dwayne, Reg. No. 86688-011, who walked over to a trash can and tried to hide the weapon under it. The weapon was recovered an placed in evidence.

(Id.) Photographs of three 6 inch weapons found that day are supplied by Respondent. Two of the weapons were found by CO Jarvis. (See Id. at RR. 23 -25.) On September 15, 2003, Woodruff attended a hearing conducted by the Unit Disciplinary Committee ("UDC"). (Id. at RR. 21 - 22.) The UDC referred the matter to a disciplinary hearing officer ("DHO") for further hearing. (Id.) Woodruff requested that the DHO review the video tapes of the yard that day claiming they would exonerate him of all charges. (Id.)The UDC advised Woodruff of his rights before the DHO and he was issued a written copy of the same. (Id. at R. 26.) Woodruff waived his right to have a staff representative present and his right to call witnesses before the DHO. (Id. at R. 27.)

The disciplinary hearing was held on September 21, 2005. Woodruff again waived his right to a staff representative and after being advised of his rights, indicating that he understood them, and denied the charges. The DHO recorded his statement as follows:

Inmate Woodruff ... stated he saw some other inmates outside, so he ran up there to break it up. Inmate Woodruff stated the tower fired a gun shot, and he got down. Inmate Woodruff stated he was told to go around the corner, and he did this when staff handcuffed him.

When questioned by the DHO what his actions were when he arrived at the group of other inmates, inmate Woodruff stated "Nothing really, I just stood there." (Id. at R. 17.) In reaching his decision in this matter, the DHO relied upon the Incident Report and Investigation, a Memorandum authored by CO Jarvis, and photographs of the weapons found. (Id.) The DHO informed Woodruff that the videotape of the events in the yard that day "does not focus on" him. (Id.)

Relying on the greater weight of the evidence, the DHO found Woodruff committed the prohibited act of possession of a weapon and expunged the refusing to obey and order charge. (Id.)

Specifically, the DHO relies upon the reporting officer's eyewitness observation that the inmate was observed with an ice-pick type weapon, 6 inches in length, in his hand, and handed it over to another inmate. The DHO compared this observation to the photograph of the weapons which were recovered. The DHO determined the weapons recovered at the scene of the physical altercation compared to the weapon described by the reporting officer. The DHO found no reason to question the validity of the reporting officer, since his observatins were made strictly in the performance of his duties, without any reason to submit a falser report.

The DHO relies upon the photograph of the weapon which depicts an instrument capable of inflicting serious life-threatening injuries.

The DHO relies upon the inmate's statement at his DHO hearing in which he admitted he voluntarily ran over to a physical altercation which was taking place between other inmates. The DHO determined the inmate had no business in that area, and did not believe the inmate's version he went to break it up. (Id. at RR. 18 - 19.) As a result, Woodruff was sanctioned as follows: 40 days loss of GCT; 40 days disciplinary segregation; 20 days disciplinary segregation -suspended pending 6 months clear conduct; 60 days loss of commissary privileges; and 60 days loss of telephone privileges.*fn3 (Id.)

B. Disciplinary Proceedings at USP-Lewisburg

On May 23, 2006, Woodruff received an incident report for refusing to provide a urine sample the previous day. (Id. at R. 11.) On May 22, 2006, at approximately 5:30 p.m., CO Shade "gave inmate Woodruff #56195-097 an order to provide a urine sample for testing. Inmate Woodruff refused to provide a sample, stating that he already provided a sample this month." (Id.) Woodruff appeared before the UDC on May 26, 2006, acknowledged that he was advised of his rights before the DHO and understood them, and stated that he "never refused, I'm in disruptive group I piss once a month." (Id.) Woodruff requested a staff representative and one inmate witness at his DHO hearing. (Id. at R. 14.) At the conclusion of the hearing, the UDC referred the matter to the DHO. (Id. at R. 11.)

On June 5, 2005, the DHO held a hearing at which both Woodruff and his staff representative appeared. (Id. at R. 7.) The DHO advised Woodruff of his rights and he indicated he understood them. Woodruff's staff representative indicated that Woodruff wanted to know how many times he could be tested in a month. (Id.) Woodruff testified that the disciplinary report was false and stated:

I asked the officer what type of sample I was giving and he said Disruptive Group. I told the officer that there was a discrepancy because I had already given a DG urine sample for the month. I wanted to talk to the Lieutenant.

I told him I wasn't refusing. He left my cell and the next morning I got the incident report. He never gave me the two hour window. (Id.) Woodruff's inmate witness testified that in response to the officer's request of Woodruff responded "there is a problem because I already gave a DG piss test ... why don't you call the LT for me because I only get one a month." ( R. 8.) The witness also stated that the officer responded that "the LT wasn't coming down," and that the officer didn't come back until later ...

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