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Patrick R. Bennett v. Warden Robert Werlinger

May 26, 2011

PATRICK R. BENNETT, PETITIONER,
v.
WARDEN ROBERT WERLINGER, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Magistrate Judge Lisa Pupo Lenihan

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

On May 6, 2010, Petitioner, Patrick R. Bennett, a federal prisoner, filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, in which he alleged that his request for a transfer to the United States Penitentiary (USP) Canaan, Pennsylvania was denied pursuant to an unlawful and/or invalid Program Statement. On January 10, 2011, Petitioner filed a Petition for Writ of Mandamus (ECF No. 13), which the Court construed as seeking an order compelling the BOP to transfer him to another prison. On March 3, 2011, this Court issued a Memorandum and Order dismissing the habeas corpus petition for lack of subject mater jurisdiction and denying the Petition for Mandamus (ECF No. 18).

On March 14, 2011, Petitioner filed a Motion to Alter or Amend the Court's March 3, 2011 Opinion and Order (ECF No. 19). In his motion, Petitioner asserts that the Court misconstrued the relief he requested in his Petition for Mandamus. Specifically, he denies that he requested a transfer from the satellite prison camp at FCI Loretto to the satellite prison camp at the United States Penitentiary USP Canaan, Pennsylvania. Instead, he states that he filed a Petition for Writ of Mandamus requesting a court order directing the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to resubmit his institutional classification which recommended his transfer to the satellite prison camp at USP Canaan, and for the BOP's Designation and Sentence Computation Center (DSCC) to consider the resubmitted transfer recommendation in good faith.

Plaintiff is seeking relief pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 599(e). The purpose of a motion to alter or amend a judgment under Rule 59 is to correct manifest errors of law or to present newly discovered evidence. Harsco Corp. v. Zlotnicki, 779 F.2d 906, 909 (3d Cir. 1985). Generally, a motion for reconsideration will only be granted on one of the following three grounds: 1) there has been an intervening change in controlling law; 2) new evidence, which was not previously available, has become available; or 3) it is necessary to correct a clear error of law or to prevent manifest injustice. Blue Mountain Mushroom Co., Inc. v. Monterey Mushroom, Inc. 246 F.Supp.2d 394, 398 (E.D. Pa. 2002). For the reasons set forth, Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate that he is entitled to relief.

A. Undisputed Relevant Factual and Procedural History The record evidence reflects the following facts. On June 23, 2000, Petitioner was sentenced in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York to a 22 year term of imprisonment followed by a three year term of supervised release. The sentencing court recommended that Petitioner be incarcerated at a facility in the New York or Connecticut area. On July 25, 2000, Petitioner was designated to FCI Otisville, New York.

On June 21, 2004, Petitioner was granted a Code 308 transfer from FCI Otisville to FCI Loretto.*fn1 On July 29, 2004, he was transferred to FCI Loretto. On September 24, 2009, he was approved for a lesser security transfer from FCI Loretto to the satellite prison camp at FCI Loretto.

On September 25, 2009, he was designated to the satellite prison camp at FCI Loretto.

On January 5, 2010, Petitioner's request for a nearer-release transfer (Code 313)*fn2 was denied. On or after April 12, 2010, Petitioner submitted an Informal Resolution form to his Unit Team in which he challenged the denial of his request for a transfer to the satellite prison camp at the USP Canaan, Pennsylvania. He complained that the decision was arbitrary and capricious and an abuse of discretion. In a handwritten response dated April 30, 2010, Petitioner's Unit Team advised him that his request was denied pursuant to Program Statement 5100.08, Chapter 7, page 4, because he was incarcerated at an institution within 500 miles of his release residence.

On May 4, 2010, Petitioner filed a Request for Administrative Remedy No. 588441-F1 with the Warden at FCI Loretto, in which he requested a nearer release transfer. On May 18, 2010, Petitioner withdrew his Request for Administrative Remedy Request stating that the issue raised had been resolved. According to Petitioner's Unit Team at FCI Loretto, he agreed to withdraw his Request for Administrative Remedy in exchange for his Unit Team's agreement to re-submit his transfer request to the DSCC. On June 22, 2010, the DSCC denied Petitioner's request for a nearer release transfer noting that he currently was incarcerated at an institution that was less than 500 miles from his release residence.

Petitioner sought administrative review of this decision complaining that his initial transfer from FCI-Loretto to FPC-Loretto [Camp] was based on a flagrant and willful abuse of discretion in violation of controlling law and BOP policy Statements (ECF No. 20-1, p. 6). On August 18, 2010, he received the following response from the Warden.

A review of the documentation in this case indicates that you have been previously submitted for transfer to FPC Canaan in order to be nearer your family. Program Statement 5100.08 "Inmate Security Designation and Custody Classification" dated September 12, 2006, states that "Once the inmate has been transferred within 500 miles of his or her release residence, no further referrals will be made for nearer release transfer consideration." A review of Sentry indicates that you are currently 236 miles from your release residence, which negated any further consideration for transfer.

Accordingly, you Request for Administrative Remedy is denied.

ECF No. 20-1, p. 7.

Petitioner filed an appeal wherein he requested a nunc pro tunc review by the DSCC of his Code 308 security level reduction where his unit team allegedly approved a transfer to FPC Canaan. Petitioner claimed that a BOP staff member at Loretto intercepted the unit team transfer approval, internally denied it without submitting it to the DSCC, and told Petitioner's case manager to resubmit the paperwork for transfer across the street to FCP Loretto, all without the ...


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