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Mark Wallace v. Federal Detention Center

December 18, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Eduardo C. Robreno, J.


Mark Wallace, a.k.a. Mark Green (Petitioner), is a federal prisoner incarcerated at Federal Correctional Institution Otisville in Otisville, NY.*fn1 Petitioner filed a § 2241 Habeas Corpus Petition (§ 2241 Petition, ECF No. 1) based on six claims that Federal Detention Center (FDC) Philadelphia deprived him of a liberty interest without due process of law by revoking some of his good-time credits without following Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) procedures. He seeks to have his good-time credits restored. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will deny and dismiss with prejudice the § 2241 Petition.


On February 5, 2011, Petitioner was involved in a fight with several of his fellow inmates at FDC Philadelphia involving the use of broken, sharpened broomsticks as weapons. BOP officials investigated the circumstances surrounding the fight and determined Petitioner was an active participant. He was issued two incident reports, one stemming from the fight itself and one from the aftermath. Together, the charges included possession of a weapon, fighting, attempting to assault any person, and refusing an order of a staff member.

According to the findings of the Discipline Hearing Officer (DHO), video surveillance recorded Petitioner engage in a verbal argument with another prisoner, which escalated into a physical altercation. Resp't's Resp. Ex. A, at 2, ECF No. 10. The two repeatedly struck each other with the broken broomsticks; Petitioner stabbed the other prisoner in the eye with a pen or pencil and received multiple lacerations himself. Id. An intervening officer observed Petitioner disregard an order to disengage and instead enter another prisoner's cell, where Petitioner twice attempted to stab the prisoner with his broomstick. Id. Ex. B, at 1. Petitioner was ordered to drop his weapon and lie down on the floor, but he refused this order. Id. Petitioner admits that he was involved in the fight but claims he only acted in self-defense. Pet'r's Resp. ¶ 3, ECF No. 11; Resp't's Resp. Ex. A, at 1; Id. Ex. B, at 4-5.

The BOP conducted an investigation that was completed on April 6, 2011, about two months after the incident. Resp't's Resp. Ex. A, at 1; Id. Ex. B, at 1, 4. During the length of the investigation, Petitioner was placed in solitary confinement within the prison's Special Housing Unit (SHU). Pet'r's Resp. ¶ 9. The BOP issued the two incident reports and provided Petitioner with copies of the report the day the investigation ended. Resp't's Resp. Ex. A, at 1; Id. Ex. B, at 1, 4. After two hearings one week later, on April 13, 2011, the DHO determined that Petitioner had committed the acts as charged and disallowed 107 days' worth of good-time credits. Id. Ex. A, at 3; Id. Ex. B, at 5.


After the DHO hearing and determination on April 13, 2011, Petitioner timely appealed to each of the FDC Philadelphia warden, the Regional Director, and the Office of General Council in Washington, D.C. Petitioner's appeal was denied at each level. § 2241 Pet. 4. Having properly exhausted his administrative claims, he filed the instant § 2241 Petition on March 8, 2012. § 2241 Pet. 3. The Court ordered the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to file a response, and it did, on June 29, 2012. Petitioner filed a reply brief shortly thereafter.*fn2 The Court has reviewed the § 2241 Petition, the Government' Response, and the Petitioner's supplemental briefing. The matter is now ripe for disposition.


Two federal statutes, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241 and 2255, confer federal jurisdiction over habeas petitions filed by federal inmates. Section 2255 only confers jurisdiction over "challenges [to] the validity of the petitioner's sentence." Cardona v. Bledsoe, 681 F.3d 533, 535 (3d Cir. 2012). Section 2241 "confers habeas jurisdiction to hear the petition of a federal prisoner who is challenging not the validity but the execution of his sentence." Id. (emphasis added) (quoting Woodall v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 432 F.3d 235, 241 (3d Cir. 2005). The execution of a federal prisoner's sentence includes "such matters as the administration of parole, computation of a prisoner's sentence by prison officials, prison disciplinary actions, prison transfers, type of detention and prison conditions." Woodall, 432 F.3d at 241 (quoting Jiminian v. Nash, 245 F.3d 144, 147 (2d Cir. 2001)). A claim challenging the deprivation of good-time credits is also properly brought under § 2241. Campbell v. Holt, 432 F. App'x 49, 50 (3d Cir. 2011) (per curiam); Barner v. Williamson, 233 F. App'x 197 (3d Cir. 2007) (per curiam).


Petitioner brings six due process arguments.*fn3 He first makes three claims that BOP officials violated their own regulations. He also claims they retaliated against him for filing a complaint against an officer by falsifying the incident reports and unjustly holding him in solitary confinement. Finally, he challenges the sufficiency of the evidence relied upon at the hearings. Based on the Petitioner's § 2241 Petition and the evidence of record, the Court finds that Petitioner is not entitled to relief.

Federal prisoners have a liberty interest in statutory good-time credits and are entitled to an impartial hearing that includes the opportunity to present evidence. Campbell, 432 F. App'x at 51 (citing Vega v. United States, 493 F.3d 310, 317 n.4 (3d Cir. 2007)). The Supreme Court has set forth three factors, known as the Wolff factors, that BOP officials must satisfy in order to comply with procedural due process when holding disciplinary hearings:

"Where a prison disciplinary hearing may result in the loss of good time credits, . . . an inmate must receive: (1) [at least 24 hours'] advance written notice of the disciplinary charges; (2) an opportunity . . . to call witnesses and present documentary evidence in his defense; and (3) a written statement by the ...

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