United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
H. RAMBO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
pending before this Court is Petitioner's amended
petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241 (Doc. No. 9) and renewed motion to conduct
limited discovery. (Doc. No. 20.) For the reasons set forth
below, Petitioner's motion for limited discovery will be
denied and the petition for writ of habeas corpus will
23, 2016, Jeremy Pinson, a federal prisoner previously confined
at the United States Penitentiary at Allenwood, White Deer,
Pennsylvania (“USP Allenwood”), filed a petition
for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2241. (Doc. Nos. 1 and 2.) On August 31, 2016,
Pinson's previous habeas action filed on April 14, 2016,
was consolidated with this action, and the prior case was
closed. (Doc. No. 7.) On September 19, 2016, Pinson filed an
amended petition (Doc. No. 9.) Petitioner alleges that she
was not afforded her due process rights during four
disciplinary hearings. (Doc. No. 8.) Petitioner seeks
expungement of the four incident reports. (Id.)
December 21, 2016, Respondent filed a response to
Pinson's petition (Doc. No. 14.) Respondent provides that
Petitioner has failed to exhaust her administrative remedies
with regard to any of the incident reports. (Id.)
Petitioner filed a traverse (Doc. No. 16), and has
subsequently filed a renewed motion to conduct limited
discovery, requesting that this Court direct Respondent to
file under seal all documents which reflect an opinion or
finding that Petitioner is “not competent” or
“not responsible.” (Doc. No. 20.)
habeas corpus relief is limited to inquiries into the
“legality of detention.” Leamer v.
Fauver, 288 F.3d 532, 540 (3d Cir. 2002); Preiser v.
Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475 (1973). The petitioner must
attack the “validity of the continued conviction or the
fact or length of the sentence.” Id. at 542.
28 U.S.C. § 2241 “confers habeas jurisdiction to
hear the petition of a federal prisoner who is challenging
not the validity but the execution of his sentence.”
Coady v. Vaughn, 251 F.3d 480, 485 (3d Cir. 2001).
Petitioner's Motion for Limited Discovery
seeks Respondent to supplement the record with “all
documents which reflect an opinion or finding by a BOP
Psychologist or DHO that [P]etitioner was ‘not
competent' or ‘not responsible' or both.”
(Doc. Nos. 20, 21.) Habeas petitioners have no absolute right
to make discovery demands upon respondents. Thus, “
‘[a] habeas petitioner, unlike the usual civil litigant
in federal court, is not entitled to discovery as a matter of
ordinary course.” Bracy v. Gramley, 520 U.S.
899, 904 (1997); Vasquez v. Glover, No. 09-2593,
2010 WL 2569715, at *1 (D.N.J. June 24, 2010). Rather,
decisions on discovery requests rest in the sound discretion
of the court. See Levi v. Holt, 192 F. App'x
158, 162 (3d Cir. 2006). Rule 6 of the Rules Governing
Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts,
which are also applicable to habeas petitions filed under 28
U.S.C. § 2241, do not permit discovery except under
limited circumstances and with prior leave of court.
Specifically, Rule 6 provides in pertinent part:
(a) Leave of Court Required. A judge may, for good cause,
authorize a party to conduct discovery under the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure and may limit the extent of
discovery. . . .
(b) Requesting Discovery. A party requesting discovery must
provide reasons for the request. The request must also
include any proposed interrogatories and requests for
admission, and must specific any requested documents. . . .
it is incumbent upon the Petitioner to make a showing of good
cause to justify discovery in these proceedings.
the “good cause” standard, a district court
should grant leave to conduct discovery only “where
specific allegations before the court show reason to believe
that the petitioner may, if the facts are more fully
developed, be able to demonstrate that he is …
entitled to relief.” Harris v. Nelson, 394
U.S. 286, 300 (1969). Accordingly, where there appears to be
threshold legal bars to a habeas petition, the proper course
is to deny motions seeking factual discovery. Brown v.
DiGuglielmo, No. 07-3465, 2007 WL 4242266, at *1 (E.D.
Pa. Nov. 29, 2007), citing Williams v. Bagley, 380
F.3d 932, 974-76 (6th Cir. 2004) (noting that discovery
requests relating to procedurally defaulted claims were
properly denied because discovery could not lead to a
colorable basis for relief on those claims); Peterkin v.
Horn, 30 F.Supp.2d 413, 518-20 (E.D. Pa 1998) (same).
the above law, the Court finds that discovery of the type
proposed by Petitioner is not appropriate, or necessary.
Given that Respondent claims that Petitioner has not
fulfilled her legal responsibility to exhaust her
administrative remedies, it would be premature to entertain
Petitioner's discovery requests. Accordingly, the Court ...