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Cruz v. Allenwood

August 10, 2010

MANUEL CRUZ, PETITIONER
v.
WARDEN, LSCI ALLENWOOD, RESPONDENT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge McClure

MEMORANDUM

I. Introduction

Petitioner Manuel Cruz ("Petitioner" or "Cruz"), an inmate presently confined in the Moshannon Valley Correctional Institution in Philipsburg, Pennsylvania, initiated the above action pro se by filing a petition for writ of habeas corpus ("petition") under the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 2241. (Rec. Doc. No. 1.) At the time of filing, Cruz was confined at the Allenwood Low Security Correctional Institution ("LSCI Allenwood") in White Deer, Pennsylvania.

Cruz alleges that the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by sanctioning him with the loss of visiting and telephone privileges for thirteen (13) years. (See Rec. Doc. No. 1 at 1-3.)

He also alleges that there are no time restraints on civil rights violations, and therefore the BOP improperly rejected his administrative remedies raising Equal Protection claims as untimely. (See id. at 2.)

Although he does not specifically identify the disciplinary proceedings that resulted in the sanctions he challenges in the instant petition, Cruz attached two Discipline Hearing Officer ("DHO") Reports to the petition from hearings that occurred while Cruz was an inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution at Fort Dix, New Jersey ("FCI Fort Dix"). These DHO Reports reflect that, on January 14, 2005, Cruz was found guilty of the charges set forth in Incident Report Number 1282861, and on October 2, 2007, he was found guilty of the charges set forth in Incident Report Number 1635135. (Rec. Doc. No. 1 at 12-18.) As relief in the instant petition, Cruz requests that this Court find that the sanctions of loss of visiting and telephone privileges imposed after those guilty findings violate the Equal Protection Clause. (See id. at 3.) He requests that we either direct the BOP to reconsider the sanctions or vacate the sanctions.

By Order dated February 17, 2010, we directed Respondent to show cause within twenty-one (21) days why the petition should not be granted. (Rec. Doc. No. 3.) A response to the petition was filed on March 10, 2010. (Rec. Doc. No. 4.) Although we notified Petitioner in our show cause order of his opportunity to file a reply brief within fourteen (14) days of receipt of Respondent's filing (see Rec. Doc. No. 3 ¶ 5), Petitioner did not file a reply brief. Accordingly, the petition is ripe for disposition. For the reasons set forth below, the petition will be dismissed.

II. Factual Background

A. Petitioner's Conviction and Sentence

On November 24, 1999, Cruz was sentenced in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to a 240 month term of imprisonment, to be followed by a five (5) year term of supervised release. (Rec. Doc. No. 4-2 at 3, D. Weber Decl., ¶ 2.)*fn1 The sentencing followed Cruz's conviction of conspiracy to distribute heroin. (Id.) His current projected release date via good conduct time release is May 20, 2017. (Id.)

B. Incident Report No. 1282861

On November 16, 2004, at approximately 5:00 p.m., an investigation conducted by the BOP's Special Investigative Services ("SIS") concluded that Cruz had attempted to introduce narcotics into FCI Fort Dix. (Id. ¶ 3; Rec. Doc. No. 4-2 at 9-10, 11/16/04 Incident Report.) At 7:05 p.m. on that same date, Intelligence Officer N. Thornton issued an Incident Report against Cruz setting forth the following charges:

(1) Attempted Introduction of Narcotics (Code 111-A); (2) Use of Telephone to Further Criminal Activity (Code 197); and (3) Unauthorized Use of Mail (Code 410). (Rec. Doc. No 4-2 at 9 §§ 9, 12, 13.) A copy of the Incident Report was delivered to Cruz on November 17, 2004 at approximately 7:11 a.m. by Lieutenant J. Anderson. (Id. §§ 14-16.)

The Incident Report contains a description of the incident, which was alleged to have begun on August 16, 2004 at approximately 10:43 a.m. when Cruz spoke to a male on the telephone that he referred to as "Narci." (Id. § 11.) During his telephone conversation with "Narci," Cruz stated as follows:

. . . Remember that thing I told you? . . . Well look, prepare it because he's going to bring it to me . . . . You prepare it in a balloon . . And you put the three in there. You clean it good . . . put the three, clean them real good and put the three in there real tight. Close it and tie it again because you know that's going inside . . . (Id.) The Incident Report further describes a telephone call that Cruz placed on September 6, ...


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