United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
Christopher C. Conner, Chief Judge.
before the court is a petition for writ of habeas corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 filed by petitioner Gabriel
Edwards (“Edwards”), an inmate formerly confined
at the United States Penitentiary, in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania
(“USP-Lewisburg”). (Doc. 1). Edwards contends
that his due process rights were violated in the context of a
disciplinary hearing held at USP-Lewisburg. The petition is
ripe for disposition and, for the reasons that follow, will
February 13, 2015, while incarcerated at USP-Lewisburg,
Edwards was charged in incident report number 2682784 with
conduct disruptive to the security of the institution, in
violation of Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”)
prohibited acts code section 299, tampering with a locking
device, in violation of code 208, engaging in a group
demonstration, in violation of code 212, and refusing to obey
an order, in violation of code 307. (Doc. 1-1 at 2; Doc. 6-2
at 11, Incident Report). The incident is described as
On February 13, 2015, at approximately 10:07 a.m., Inmate
Edwards, Gabriel #26282-018, had barricaded himself in B-115.
This inmate was unresponsive to staff directive to remove the
covering of his window and remove the objects placed in front
of his food slot. This inmate could not be observed or
approached safely by staff, and refused all staff directives.
This inmate was one of 36 inmates involved in this group
demonstration that resulted in an emergency response to
contain the situation. This inmate was removed from his cell
after chemical agents and less lethal munitions were deployed
into the cell.
(Doc. 6-2 at 11, Incident Report).
March 24, 2015, Edwards appealed the disciplinary hearing
officer's decision by filing Administrative Remedy Number
815112-R1 with the Regional Office. (Doc. 6-2 at 36,
Administrative Remedy Generalized Retrieval). On April 23,
2015, the Regional Office denied Administrative Remedy Number
5, 2015, Edwards filed two appeals of Administrative Remedy
Number 815112-R1 to the BOP Central Office, designated as
Administrative Remedy Numbers 815112-A1 and A2.
(Id.) On June 5, 2015, the BOP Central Office
rejected both appeals. (Id. at 36-37). Edwards was
informed that he did not submit the proper papers with his
appeal. (Id.) The Central Office advised him to
resubmit his appeal in proper form within fifteen (15) days
of the date of the rejection notice. (Id.)
11, 2015, Edwards refiled his appeal, designated as
Administrative Remedy Number 815112-A4. (Id. at 37).
The Central Office accepted the appeal for response.
(Id.) The Central Office had forty days to respond,
with the option to extend that time for an additional twenty
days. (Doc. 6-2, Declaration of Jennifer Knepper, BOP
Attorney Advisor (“Knepper Decl.”), ¶ 8,
citing 28 C.F.R. § 542.18).
1, 2015, Edwards filed another appeal of the DHO hearing,
designated as Administrative Remedy Number 815112-A3. (Doc.
6-2 at 38, Administrative Remedy Generalized Retrieval). On
June 23, 2015, subsequent to the filing of the instant
petition, the Central Office rejected Administrative Remedy
Number 815112-A3 as untimely. (Id.) The Central
Office advised Edwards to resubmit his appeal within fifteen
(15) days of the date of the rejection notice with staff
verification stating that the untimely filing was not his
fault. (Id.) There is no evidence that Edwards
submitted any further appeals.
instant petition was filed on or about June 3, 2015. (Doc.
1). In the petition, Edwards claims that his due process
rights were violated during the course of the prison
disciplinary hearing. (Id.) Edwards asserts that
prison staff altered the delivery date on the incident
report, his requested staff representative was not present at
the hearing, the reporting officer's description of the
incident in the incident report is embellished and
misleading, the DHO was not impartial, and BOP staff members
used excessive force when they responded to the incident at
issue. (Id. at 1-5). For relief, Edwards requests
that the court restore his good time credits. (Id.
argues that the petition should be denied based on
Edwards' failure to comply with the BOP's
administrative review process. (Doc. 6 at 7-9). Despite the
absence of a statutory exhaustion requirement attached to
§ 2241, courts have consistently required a petitioner
to exhaust administrative remedies prior to bringing a habeas
claim under § 2241. See Callwood v. Enos, 230
F.3d 627, 634 (3d Cir. 2000); Moscato v. Federal Bureau
of Prisons, 98 F.3d 757, 760 (3d Cir. 1996). Exhaustion
is required “for three reasons: (1) allowing the
appropriate agency to develop a factual record and apply its
expertise facilitates judicial review; (2) permitting
agencies to grant the relief requested conserves judicial
resources; and (3) providing agencies the opportunity to
correct their own errors fosters administrative
autonomy.” Moscato, 98 F.3d at 761-62 (citing
Bradshaw v. Carlson, 682 F.2d 1050, 1052 (3d Cir.
1981)). Nevertheless, exhaustion of administrative remedies
is not required where exhaustion would not promote these
goals. See, e.g., Gambino v. Morris, 134 F.3d 156,
171 (3d Cir. 1998) (exhaustion not required where petitioner
demonstrates futility); Lyons v. U.S. Marshals, 840
F.2d 202, 205 (3d Cir. 1988) (exhaustion may be excused where
it “would be futile, if the actions of the agency
clearly and unambiguously violate statutory or constitutional
rights, or if the administrative procedure is clearly shown
to be inadequate to prevent irreparable injury”);
Carling v. Peters, 2000 WL 1022959, at *2 (E.D. Pa.
July 10, 2000) (exhaustion not required where delay would
subject petitioner to “irreparable injury”).
general, the BOP's administrative review remedy program
is a multi-tier process that is available to inmates confined
in institutions operated by the BOP for review of an issue
which relates to any aspect of their confinement. (Doc. 6-2,
Knepper Decl. ¶ 6, citing 28 C.F.R. § 542.10,
et seq.). With respect to disciplinary hearing
decision appeals, a BOP inmate can initiate the first step of
the administrative review process by filing a direct written
appeal to the BOP's Regional Director (thus bypassing the
institutional level of review) within twenty days after
receiving the DHO's written report. (Id.) If
dissatisfied with the Regional Director's response, a
Central Office Appeal may then be filed with the BOP's
Office of General Counsel. (Id.) This is the
inmate's final available administrative appeal. No
administrative appeal is considered fully exhausted until a
decision is reached by the BOP's Central Office. See
Sharpe v. Costello, 2008 WL 2736782, at *3 (3d Cir.
instant matter, Edwards failed to exhaust the available
administrative remedies. Edwards filed his two initial
administrative remedies with the Regional Office. The appeals
were denied. Edwards then filed appeals with the Central
Office. The Central Office rejected both appeals because they
were submitted in improper form. Edwards was given an
opportunity to resubmit his appeals in proper form.
11, 2015, Edwards refiled his appeal, which the Central
Office accepted for review. (Id.) The Central Office
had forty days to respond, with the option to extend that
time for an additional twenty (20) days. Edwards filed the
instant federal habeas petition before the response to his
appeal was due.
1, 2015, Edwards filed another appeal of the DHO hearing.
(Doc. 6-2 at 38, Administrative Remedy Generalized
Retrieval). On June 23, 2015, subsequent to the filing of the
instant petition, the Central Office rejected the remedy as
untimely filed. (Id.) The Central Office advised
Edwards to resubmit his appeal within fifteen (15) days of
the date of the rejection notice with staff verification
stating that the untimely filing was not his fault.
(Id.) There is no evidence that Edwards submitted
any further appeals.
response to this argument, Edwards claims that the BOP is
attempting to “mislead and manipulate” the court,
and has altered their records submitted to the court. (Doc. 7
at 2-3). Additionally, Edwards claims that the “issue
of the Administrative Remedy should be rendered moot”
because the BOP Central Office has since denied his appeal as
untimely. (Id. at 3). Yet, Edwards filed his federal
habeas petition prior to the Central Office's denial of
his appeal. An administrative remedy appeal is not fully and
finally exhausted until it has been denied by the BOP's