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Shawn Henderson v. Associate Warden Young

March 19, 2013


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Martin C. Carlson United States Magistrate Judge

(Judge Jones) (Magistrate Judge Carlson)


I. Statement of Facts and of the Case

A. Introduction

The petitioner, Shawn Henderson, is a federal prisoner with a penchant for breaking the rules. Indeed, since he entered the federal prison system in 2007 Henderson has incurred no less than 73 incident reports for prison rules infractions. As a consequence of this recidivism, and persistent failure to abide by institutional rules, Henderson has not been favorably considered for early release to a residential re-entry center (RRC).

These multiple disciplinary infractions, and their impact upon Henderson's early release to a residential re-entry center, now are the subject of Henderson's current habeas corpus petition. Ignoring his own misconduct, Henderson has filed this petition urging the court to both vacate his disciplinary citations, and direct prison officials to give him early favorable consideration for release to a residential re-entry center. Yet, while Henderson seeks this relief he has, once again, neglected to obey the rules. Specifically, Henderson has failed to follow the prison rule which requires inmates to fully exhaust their administrative remedies before seeking habeas corpus relief in federal court.

There are consequences which flow from failure to abide by the rules. In this case, for the reasons set forth below, we find that one of these consequences is that Henderson's petition should be dismissed for failure to exhaust his administrative remedies.

B. Factual Background

The pertinent facts can be simply stated:

Shawn Henderson is currently serving a 60 month sentence imposed upon the petitioner following his conviction in 2007 for possession of firearms by a convicted felon in further of drug trafficking. (Doc. 7, Ex. A, ¶3.) In federal prison Henderson was convicted in 2009 of possession of contraband, and was sentenced to an additional 18 months imprisonment. (Id., ¶4.) While in custody Henderson has amassed 73 separate incident reports, a record of prison misconduct which has led prison officials to decline to recommend Henderson for early release from prison to a residential re-entry center. In the instant federal habeas corpus petition, Henderson challenges both these multiple disciplinary citations, and the refusal of prison officials to award him favorable residential re-entry center consideration. Yet while Henderson challenges these prison decisions it is evident that he has not followed prison rules by properly exhausting his administrative remedies with respect to these disciplinary and residential re-entry center placement issues.

This is a significant failure on Henderson's part since the Bureau of Prisons has an administrative remedy process which must be exhausted before an inmate can bring an action in federal court. 28 C.F.R. §§ 542, et seq. This administrative remedy process is a method by which an inmate may seek formal review of a complaint related to any aspect of his imprisonment. 28 C.F.R. § 542.10(a).

Under this process in order to exhaust appeals an inmate must first raise his complaint with his unit team through an informal resolution attempt. If the concern is not informally resolved, the inmate may file an appeal to the Warden of the institution where he is confined. 28 C.F.R. § 542.13. However, appeals of a Disciplinary Hearing Officer (DHO) decision must be submitted initially "to the Regional Director for the region where the inmate is currently located." 28 C.F.R. § 542.14(d)(2). An inmate has twenty calendar days to file an appeal of a DHO's decision with the Regional Director. 28 C.F.R. § 542.15(a). The inmate may further appeal an adverse decision to the Central Office of the Bureau of Prisons within 30 calendar days of the Regional Director's decision. Id. No administrative remedy appeal is considered to have been fully exhausted until it has been filed at the Bureau of Prisons's Central Office. 28 C.F.R. § 542, et seq. "If the inmate does not receive a response within the time allotted for reply, including extension, the inmate may consider the absence of a response to be a denial at that level." 28 C.F.R. § 542.18.

In this case prison records reveal that Henderson has filed twenty (20) administrative remedies while in its custody. (Doc. 7, Ex. 1, Decl. of Paralegal Specialist Susan Albert, ¶ 7.) Four of those remedies challenged DHO sanctions, while six challenged Residential Re-entry Center (halfway house) placement issues, the matters which Henderson now seeks to contest in this habeas corpus petition. (Id.) The remaining ten remedies are unrelated to the issues raised in Henderson's petition. ( Id.)

None of these administrative remedy appeals have ever been fully or properly exhausted by Henderson. For example, on August 24, 2010, Henderson filed administrative remedy 604093-F1 at the institution level regarding good conduct time and a disciplinary transfer. (Id. ΒΆ 8; Attach. 1 at 8.) The administrative remedy was rejected the same day for being submitted at the wrong level, failing to submit the request through the correct staff, and failing to provide a copy of the DHO report, which he was challenging. (Id.) Henderson then took no ...

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