Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Pinson v. Oddo

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

September 13, 2017

JEREMY PINSON, Petitioner
v.
LEONARD ODDO, Respondent

          MEMORANDUM

          SYLVIA H. RAMBO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Currently 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 dismissed.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On June 23, 2016, Jeremy Pinson[1], 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.[2] (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.)

         On 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.)

         II. DISCUSSION

         Federal 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).

         A. Petitioner's Motion for Limited Discovery

         Petitioner 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. . . .

         Therefore, it is incumbent upon the Petitioner to make a showing of good cause to justify discovery in these proceedings.

         Under 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).

         Applying 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.[3] Accordingly, the Court ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.