The opinion of the court was delivered by: A. Richard Caputo United States District Judge
Petitioner, David Michael Beckford, an inmate presently confined at the Allenwood Low Security Correctional Facility (LSCI-Allenwood), in White Deer, Pennsylvania, initiated the above action pro se by filing a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Mr. Beckford asserts a due process violation in connection with an October 11, 2007, disciplinary hearing that took place while he was an inmate at the Satellite Prison Camp at the Federal Correctional Institution in Schuylkill County (SPC-Schuylkill), Pennsylvania, that resulted in the loss Good Conduct Time (GCT). For the reasons that follow, the petition will be denied.
A. Disciplinary Proceedings at SPC-Schuylkill
The morning of September 22, 2007, Senior Office Specialist (SOS) C. Patrick found a note on the floor of the prison camp indicating that Mr. Beckford had a cell phone hidden in his mattress. (See Doc. 11-2 at R. 19, Memorandum of SOS Patrick.)*fn1 SOS Patrick searched Mr. Beckford's assigned bunk and discovered a cellphone charger under his mattress. (Id.) David Beckford stated that he did not have a cell phone and that he believed someone "planted the charger." (Id.) A search of the housing area led to the discovery of a Pantech brand Cingular cell phone under another inmate's locker. (Id.) Mr. Beckford was transferred to administrative detention pending an investigation of the incident. (Id. at R. 21, Inmate History Quarters.) At approximately 7 p.m. the next day, David Beckford was issued Incident Report No. 1647368 charging him with Possession, Manufacture, or Introduction of a Hazardous Tool. (Id. at R. 23, Incident Report.)
On September 28, 2007, David Beckford appeared before the Unit Disciplinary Committee (UDC). (Id.) Mr. Beckford disavowed ownership of the charger and reported the charger belonged to another inmate. (Id.) The UDC referred the matter to the Disciplinary Hearing Officer (DHO) for resolution. (Id.) At the conclusion of the UDC hearing, Petitioner was advised of his rights in front of the DHO Case Manager Christina Brill. (Id. at R. 25, Inmate Rights at Disciplinary Hearing.) Mr. Beckford acknowledged that he was advised of his right to have a full-time staff member represent him at the hearing, to call witnesses and to present documentary evidence on his behalf. (Id.) Mr. Beckford elected to waive his right to staff representation and his right to call witnesses. (Id. at R. 27, Notice of Discipline Hearing Before the DHO.)
The disciplinary hearing was held on October 9, 2007. (Id. at RR. 29 - 32, DHO Report.) At the onset of the DHO hearing, Mr. Beckford was again advised of his rights and indicated he understood them. Petitioner again waived his right to staff representation and witness testimony. (Id.) At the hearing Beckford stated that "[t]he cell phone charge is KIMLEY's. We used to work in UNICOR and we got into an argument and now he looks at me funny." (Id.) The DHO found that Mr. Beckford committed the prohibited act of possession of a Hazardous Tool, the cell phone charger. (Id. at R. 30.) The DHO Explained his finding as follows:
Beckford's involvement in the incident as noted in Section 11 of Incident Report 1647368, as provided by SOS C. Patrick, was viewed as inculpatory in this case. Paraphrased, Officer Patrick writes: On the above date at 10:30 AM this writer was conducting a routine shakedown in Camp 1 E01-004L which is assigned to inmate Beckford. While shaking down inmate Beckford's assigned bunk, I found one black cell phone charger underneath his mattress.
Inculpatory evidence in the form of a memorandum from SOS C. Patrick, dated September 22, 2007, which states he found a note stating BECKFORD keeps a phone in his mattress, and a copy of an anonymous note which states, "Beckford keeps phone in mattress B-4," corroborated the evidence cited in the incident report in this case.
The DHO believed the information provided by the staff members involved in this case, as they derived no known benefit by providing false information. The DHO finds [Beckford] committed the prohibited act of Possession of a Hazardous Tool (Cellular Telephone), Code 108, while incarcerated at the Schulkill (sic) Federal Prison Camp, Minersville, Pennsylvania, when a cellular telephone charger was found concealed inside your mattress. Inculpatory evidence in the form of a memorandum from Warden Holt, dated October 28, 2005, corroborated the evidence cited in the incident report in this case. Warden Holt indicated, "I have determined that inmate possession of a cellular telephone at this institution poses a serious impact on institution security. Effective immediately, any inmate found in possession of a cellular telephone will be charged with a violation of code 108, Possession, Manufacture or Introduction of a Hazardous tool and will be sanctioned accordingly. Also, please note that BOP Program Statement 5270.07 state's (sic) it is an inmate's responsibility to keep his area free of contraband. Therefore, you will be charged with a violation of code 108 if a cellular telephone is found in your personal area. ...
In deciding this issue, I find no credible or convincing evidence that the cellular telephone charger was placed there by another individual. You are responsible to maintain your assigned living area free and clear of contraband (P.S. 5270.07, Chapter 3, Page 1, Responsibility #4) and your unsupported theory that the charger was placed under your locker to set you up, does not absolve you from that responsibility. I have given greater weight to the officer's written report. Therefore, I find it prudent to hold you accountable for violating the prohibited act(s) of Possession, Manufacture, or Introduction of a Hazardous Tool, specifically a cellular telephone charger, Code 108, on September 22, 2007, in Camp 1, E02-004L, at the Schuhylkill (sic) Federal Prison Camp, Minersville, Pennsylvania. (Id. at RR. 30 - 31.) As a result, Mr. Beckford was sanctioned as follows: 41 days disallowance of GCT; 90 days disallowance of non-vested GCT; 60 days of Disciplinary Segregation; 12 months loss of phone privileges; 6 months loss of visits; and 6 months loss of commissary privileges. (Id.) The ...