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Quinton Tabron v. Warden Ronnie Holt

June 21, 2012

QUINTON TABRON,
PETITIONER
v.
WARDEN RONNIE HOLT, :: RESPONDENT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: (Judge Rambo)

MEMORANDUM

Presently before the court is a petition for writ of habeas corpus (Doc. 1) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, filed by Petitioner Quinton Tabron ("Tabron"), an inmate confined at the United States Penitentiary at Allenwood ("USP-Allenwood") in White Deer, Pennsylvania. Tabron 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. Facts

On February 2, 2010, at approximately 8:20 a.m., Acting Assistant Health Services Administrator ("AHSA") J. Simonson was exiting the Health Services Department when he noticed multiple inmates in the corridor in front of Health Services. (Doc. 18-1 at 20.) He asked the inmates sitting on the ground to stand up and/or move into the waiting area. (Id.) Tabron, who had been standing in the hallway, became confrontational with AHSA Simonson, and stated, "who are you," and then instructed another inmate to sit back down. (Id.) AHSA Simonson attempted to diffuse the situation by telling Tabron that he was not one of the inmates in question. (Id.) In response, Tabron began making comments to the approximate fifteen (15) inmates in Health Services such as, "I'm a DC inmate you think I care who you are. You don't know what your [sic] doing," and "he can do whatever he wants." (Id.) AHSA Simonson then gave a direct order to Tabron to come over to the grill where he was standing in order to get Tabron's name. (Id.) Tabron's response was, "I'm a fucking DC inmate you think I give a shit who you are, I can do whatever I want." (Id.) In addition, as Tabron started to walk away from the grill, he began encouraging the rest of the inmates coming into the corridor to do the same. (Id.) AHSA Simonson gave Tabron another direct order to walk with him to the Lieutenant's office, to which Tabron complied. (Id.) However, as they were walking down the corridor Tabron made additional comments such as, "What the hell are you looking at, you act like you ain't never had to answer to a black man before." (Id.) Even after AHSA Simonson directed him to stop, Tabron continued to make similar comments. (Id.)

As a result of this incident, Tabron was issued an incident report charging him with Engaging in or Encouraging a Group Demonstration, in violation of Section 212 of the Bureau of Prisons' ("BOP") disciplinary code; Refusing to Obey an Order of Any Staff Member, in violation of Section 307; and, Insolence Towards a Staff Member, in violation of Section 312. (Id.) The incident report was delivered to Tabron at approximately 6:00 p.m. on February 2, 2010. (Id.)

An investigation was conducted on February 3, 2010, commencing at 8:00 a.m. (Id. at 21.) The investigating officer, Lieutenant T. Slodysko, advised Tabron of his rights relative to the disciplinary process. (Id.) Tabron stated that he understood his rights. (Id.) In addition, he expressed a fair attitude during the course of the investigation. (Id.) He stated of the incident that AHSA Simonson was telling one of the inmates that he could not sit on the floor outside Health Services, and that he was speaking to him in an aggressive tone. (Id.) Tabron said that the inmate was sitting on the floor because he had a bad back and could not stand for long. (Id.) He added that he was probably mouthing off to AHSA Simonson to a certain extent, but that he was in no way trying to entice anyone to do anything. (Id.) Further, he asserted that he did not refuse an order from AHSA Simonson and instead walked with him to the Lieutenant's office. (Id.)

After completing his investigation, Lieutenant Slodysko concluded that the incident report supported the charge of Insolence Towards Staff and minimally supported the charge of Refusing an Order of Staff. (Id.) Lieutenant Slodysko did not believe that the incident report supported the charge of Engaging in or Encouraging a Group Demonstration, however, the matter was transferred in its entirety. (Id.) As a result, Tabron was placed in administration detention pending action by the Unit Disciplinary Committee ("UDC") and/or Disciplinary Hearing Officer ("DHO"). (Id.) Lieutenant Slodysko then referred the matter to the UDC. (Id.)

The UDC held a hearing on February 4, 2010 at 1:30 p.m. (Id. at 20.) At the hearing, Tabron was advised of his rights and stated that he understood them. (Id.) Further, Tabron stated, "I want the video reviewed." (Id.)

After reviewing the matter, the UDC recommended a sanction of fifteen (15) days of disciplinary segregation based on the severity of the charge, and referred the matter to the DHO for further hearing. (Id.) Also, at that time Tabron was provided with a copy of the "Inmate Rights at Discipline Hearing" form, which informed him that since he was charged with a violation of BOP rules or regulations, the matter was being referred to the DHO for disposition. (Id. at 23.) Tabron refused to sign this form, as noted by witness Correctional Counselor J. Grill. (Id.)

On this same date, Tabron was also provided with a copy of the "Notice of Discipline Hearing Before the DHO" form. (Id. at 25.) Tabron declined the services of a staff representative, but requested a witness, inmate James Tolan. (Id.) Again, Tabron refused to sign the form, as noted by witness Correctional Counselor J. Grill. (Id.)

The DHO held a hearing on March 2, 2010. (See id. at 27-29.) At the hearing, Tabron first acknowledged that he understood his rights before the DHO. (Id. at 27.) He waived staff representation and witness testimony, and made the following statement: "They called me over for a TB shot. There was an old man with chronic back pain. The only way I can prove this[ ] is with the video. I didn't say all that." (Id.) He presented no documentary evidence for the DHO to consider. (Id.)

The DHO relied on the incident report and investigation, as well as Tabron's statement, to conclude that, by a greater weight of the evidence, Tabron had committed the Code 212 violation, Engaging in or Encouraging a Group Demonstration. (Id. at 5.) Specifically, the DHO concluded the following:

The DHO believed for Tabron to interject himself into the circumstances of another inmate to be supportive of the encouraging a group demonstration infraction. When Mr. Simonson told inmates sitting in the Health Services waiting area to stand, Tabron specifically told another inmate that he could remain sitting. When Simonson attempted to explain to Tabron this was not appropriate, Tabron became argumentative and took a self-proclaimed leadership in front of the other inmates in the area. With this, the DHO upheld the Code 212 infraction. The refusing an order and insolence infranctions were expunged as any of these behaviors were believed encompassed within Tabron attempting to control the confrontation with Simonson. The DHO recognized Tabron's request to the UDC that video surveillance be reviewed. This, in conjunction with his testimony at this hearing, showed that he was looking for some form of audio assistance in regard to his ...


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