United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
H. RAMBO United States District Judge
February 2, 2016, Petitioner Cedric Tyrone Walker, a federal
inmate formerly confined at the Special Management Unit
(“SMU”) United States Penitentiary at Lewisburg,
Pennsylvania (“USP-Lewisburg”) filed the instant
petition for writ of habeas corpus, pro se, pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. (Doc No. 1.) On October 6, 2016,
Walker filed an amended petition for writ of habeas corpus.
(Doc. No. 25.) On November 29, 2016, this Court granted
Walker's motion for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis, and directed that the amended petition be
served on Respondent. (Doc. No. 26.)
filed a response to the amended petition asserting that the
petition should be dismissed for Walker's failure to
exhaust his administrative remedies. (Doc. No. 28.) Walker
filed his traverse on January 30, 2017 (Doc. No.32), and a
document entitled supplement to traverse on February 15,
2017. (Doc. No. 33.) This matter having been fully briefed is
now ripe for disposition.
petition challenges the outcome of a proceeding before the
Discipline Hearing Officer (“DHO”) of the Federal
Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) on May 11, 2015. (Doc.
No. 25.) Specifically, Walker lists four incident reports
involving assaultive and threatening behavior on his part and
challenges the validity of the DHO's determination as to
each incident report. (Id.) Walker provides that he
was charged and found guilty by the DHO as to the following
incident reports: (1) #2712996 charged him with threatening
with bodily harm; (2) #2712189 charged him with assaulting
without serious injury; (3) #2712080 charged him with
threatening bodily harm; and (4) #2711970 also charged him
with threatening bodily harm. (Id.) He further
claims that he was not appointed a staff representative or
provided with an opportunity to prepare a defense to the
misconduct charges and that he lost 27 days of good conduct
time with respect to each incident report. (Id.)
Walker requests that the incident reports be expunged from
his record because he alleges he is not guilty.
argues that because Walker has not filed any administrative
remedies concerning the above listed incident reports, his
habeas petition should be dismissed for failure to exhaust.
(Doc. No. 28.)
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.
Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475 (1973);
Telford v. Hepting, 980 F.2d 745, 748 (3d Cir.
1993). Federal habeas corpus review 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).
have consistently required a petitioner to exhaust
administrative remedies prior to filing a § 2241
petition. See Moscato v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 98
F.3d 757, 760 (3d Cir. 1996) (holding “that a
prisoner's procedural default of his administrative
remedies bars judicial review of his habeas petition unless
he can show cause for the default and prejudice attributable
thereto”); Arias v. United States Parole
Comm'n., 648 F.2d 196, 199 (3d Cir. 1981)
(concluding that, in the context of a habeas petition filed
under § 2241, “the district court should have
dismissed appellant's petition on exhaustion
grounds”). Exhaustion of administrative remedies 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). However, exhaustion is not required if there is no
opportunity to obtain adequate redress; if the issue
presented only pertains to statutory construction; or if the
prisoner makes an affirmative showing of futility.
Gambino v. Morris, 134 F.3d 156, 171 (3d Cir. 1998);
Schandelmeier v. Cunningham, 819 F.2d 52, 53 (3d
Cir. 1986); Bradshaw v. Carlson, 682 F.2d 1050, 1052
(3d Cir. 1981).
order for a prisoner to exhaust his administrative remedies,
he must comply with 28 C.F.R. § 542.10 et seq.,
otherwise, the habeas petition should be dismissed.
Arias, 648 F.2d at 199 (requiring federal prisoner
to exhaust administrative remedies before bringing claim
under § 2241). The BOP's Administrative Remedy
Program requires an inmate to first informally present his
complaint to staff, and staff shall attempt to informally
resolve any issue before an inmate files a request for
administrative relief. 28 C.F.R. § 542.13(a). If
unsuccessful at informal resolution, the inmate may raise his
complaint with the warden of the institution where he is
confined. Id. at § 542.14(a). If dissatisfied
with the response, he may then appeal an adverse decision to
the Regional Office and the Central Office of the BOP.
Id. at §§ 542.15(a) and 542.18. No
administrative appeal is considered finally exhausted until a
decision is reached on the merits by the BOP's Central
Office. See Sharpe v. Costello, No. 08-1811, 2008 WL
2736782, at *3 (3d Cir. July 15, 2008).
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 (thus
bypassing the institutional level of review) to the BOP's
Regional Director within twenty (20) days after receiving the
DHO's written report. See 28 C.F.R. §
542.15(a). If not satisfied with the Regional Director's
response, a Central Office Appeal may then be filed with the
BOP's Office of General Counsel. This is the
prisoner's final available administrative appeal.
case, it is undisputed that Walker has not exhausted his
administrative remedies. Attached to Respondent's
response to the habeas petition is a declaration of Jennifer
Knepper, an attorney advisor at the USP-Lewisburg. (Doc. No.
28-1.) In utilizing the SENTRY records, Knepper has
identified all administrative remedies filed by Petitioner.
(Id.) She provides that although Walker has
challenged other disciplinary hearings, he has not filed
administrative remedies concerning incident reports 2711970,
2712080, 2712189, or 2712996. (Id.) Walker does not
dispute that he failed to exhaust his administrative remedies
as to these incident reports. (Doc. No. 32 at 2, traverse.)
Rather, he now argues, for the first time in his traverse,
that he failed to exhaust his administrative remedies because
“staff does not comply with there [sic] job title
duties for whatever purposes….” (Id.)
Walker appears to now allege that the staff did not provide
him with the correct forms to complete his administrative
however, does not provide any supportive evidence to
demonstrate his attempts to appeal or otherwise question the
DHO decision. See Beckford v. Martinez, No.
3:CV-08-2023, 2010 WL 1791182, at *4 (M.D. Pa. May 4, 2010)
(finding petitioner failed to meet exhaustion requirements
despite petitioner's self-serving statement that his
untimely filing of his administrative remedy was due to his
late receipt of the DHO report). Moreover, general,
unsupported assertions that prison staff interfered with his
ability to pursue administrative remedies does not establish
cause for his procedural default. See Beckford v.
Martiniez, 408 F. App'x 518 (3d Cir. 2010);
Brown v. Ebbert, No. 3:15-0122, 2016 WL 695193, at
*5 (M.D. Pa. Feb. 18, 2016). Accordingly, because Walker has
failed to properly exhaust his administrative remedies,
review of the merits of his habeas petition is barred.
See Brown, 2016 WL 695193, at *5.