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Johnson v. Ebbert

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

January 10, 2017

DUSTIN LEE JOHNSON, Petitioner
v.
DAVID J. EBBERT, WARDEN, Respondents

          MEMORANDUM

          RICHARD P. CONABOY, United States District Judge

         Background

         Dustin Lee Johnson, an inmate presently confined at the United States Penitentiary, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania (USP-Lewisburg), filed this petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. Petitioner's action was subsequently transferred to this Court. Service of the petition was previously ordered.

         Petitioner was arrested on April 19, 2011 on drug related charges in Sylvania Township, Ohio. While confined on those state charges, Johnson was indicted on a state robbery charge in Lucas County, Ohio. The drug charges which led to Petitioner's initial arrest were later dismissed.

         On May 20, 2011 Petitioner was released on bail in his Lucas County case. On July 8, 2011, Johnson was sentenced to a 17 month term of imprisonment on unrelated state criminal charges from Wood County, Ohio. On July 20, 2011, Petitioner was sentenced to a 2 year term on the Lucas County robbery charge which was ordered to run concurrently to the Wood County sentence.

         While serving those sentences, Petitioner was indicted on a bank robbery charge in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. On November 26, 2012, Johnson was sentenced to a 70 month term of imprisonment by the Northern District of Ohio. Following completion of his federal criminal proceedings, Petitioner was returned to Ohio state custody to complete service his state sentences.[1]

         Petitioner was granted parole by the State of Ohio on June 28, 2013 and was transferred into federal custody. His pending petition does not challenge the legality of his federal conviction or sentence. Rather, Johnson maintains that the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) erred in computing his federal sentence because it failed to provide him with 7½ months of good conduct time credits. See id. at p. 4. Johnson elaborates that he is entitled to credit for 7½ months of time served in a Ohio state correctional facility following imposition of his federal sentence.[2]

         Respondent argues that the petition should be denied because Johnson failed to exhaust his available administrative remedies and his sentence was properly computed. See Doc. 10, p. 5.

         Discussion

         Title 28, United States Code § 2241, vests the federal district courts with jurisdiction to grant a writ of habeas corpus to persons in custody in violation of the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States. 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3). Habeas corpus review under § 2241 “allows a federal prisoner to challenge the ‘execution' of his sentence.” Woodall v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, 432 F.3d 235, 241 (3d Cir. 2005). A habeas corpus petition may be brought by a prisoner who seeks to challenge either the fact or duration of his confinement in prison. Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475 (1973), Telford v. Hepting, 980 F.2d 745, 748 (3d Cir.), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 920 (1993).

         Federal habeas relief is available only “where the deprivation of rights is such that it necessarily impacts the fact or length of detention.” Leamer v. Fauver, 288 F.3d 532, 540 (3d Cir. 2002). Since Petitioner is alleging that the BOP failed to properly calculate his federal sentence, this matter is properly asserted under § 2241.

         Exhaustion

         The Respondent contends that according to BOP records although Johnson filed administrative grievances regarding two unrelated issues, he failed to seek administrative relief with respect to his pending claim of improper sentence calculation. Consequently, Respondent concludes that the petition is subject to dismissal on the basis of non-exhaustion. It is noted that although provided with an opportunity to do so, Petitioner has not filed a reply to the non-exhaustion argument.

         It is well-settled that "[a] federal prisoner ordinarily may not seek habeas corpus relief until he has exhausted all available administrative remedies." Bradshaw v. Carlson, 682 F.2d 1050, 1052 (3d Cir. 1981)(emphasis added)” Porter v. Nussle, 122 S.Ct. 983, 992 (2002); Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 741 n. 6 (2001). A party is required to exhaust administrative remedies before seeking relief in federal court unless Congress has indicated to the contrary or the available administrative remedies are inherently inadequate. Young v. Quinlan,960 F.2d 351, 356 (3d Cir. ...


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