United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
STEVEN A. JOHNSON, Petitioner,
DAVID J. WEBER, Respondent.
John E. Jones III United States District Judge
before the court is a petition for writ of habeas corpus
(Doc. 1) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 filed by
Petitioner, Steven A. Johnson, a federal inmate presently
incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary at Canaan
(“USP-Canaan”), Waymart, Pennsylvania. He
contends that his due process rights were violated during the
course of prison disciplinary proceedings conducted at the
United States Penitentiary at Lewisburg
(“USP-Lewisburg”), Pennsylvania. Sanctions
included, inter alia, loss of good conduct time.
petition is ripe for disposition and, for the reasons that
follow, will be denied.
March 4, 2016, while incarcerated at USP-Lewisburg, staff
served Johnson with Incident Report Number 2823084, charging
him with Assaulting any Person in violation of Federal Bureau
of Prisons (“BOP”) Prohibited Acts Code 224, and
Refusing an Order in violation of Prohibited Acts Code 307.
(Doc. 23-1, p. 3). On April 18, 2016, a Disciplinary Hearing
Officer (“DHO”) found Johnson guilty of Assault
in violation of Prohibited Acts Code Section 224. (Doc. 1, p.
2; Doc. 23-1, pp. 10, 11). He indicates that his
administrative appeal to the Northeast Regional Office, filed
on May 8, 2016, remains “unresolved.” (Doc. 1, p.
seeks to be exonerated of all charges, to have his good
conduct time restored, and to eliminate all other sanctions.
(Id. at 8).
argues that the petition should be dismissed based on
Johnson's failure to exhaust his administrative remedies
prior to seeking review in federal court. (Doc. 17, p. 2). In
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. 17-1,
Declaration of Jennifer Knepper, Attorney Advisor at
USP-Lewisburg (“Knepper Decl.”) at ¶ 4,
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 using the
appropriate BP-10 form to the BOP's Regional Director
(thus bypassing the institutional level of review) within
twenty days after receiving the disciplinary hearing
officer's written report. (Id., citing 28 C.F.R.
§ 542.14(d)(2)). If dissatisfied with the Regional
Director's response, an appeal using the appropriate
BP-11 form may be filed within thirty calendar days with the
BOP's Central Office. (Id., citing 28 C.F.R.
§§ 542.15(a)). This is the inmate's final
available administrative appeal. No administrative remedy
appeal is considered to have been fully exhausted until
pursued through all levels. (Id. citing 28 C.F.R.
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. 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)). However, 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 harm”);
Carling v. Peters, No. 00-2958, 2000 WL 1022959, at
*2 (E.D.Pa. July 10, 2000) (exhaustion not required where
delay would subject petitioner to “irreparable
to Respondent, “Johnson appealed Incident Report
2823084 by filing Administrative Remedy Identification Number
862053-R1 with the Region on May 11, 2016. The Region denied
his appeal on June 7, 2016. Johnson never appealed this
denial to the Central Office; therefore, he has not exhausted
his remedies with respect to Incident Report 2823084.”
(Doc. 17-1, Knepper Decl., ¶ 6). In his Traverse,
Johnson contends that he “did indeed, file an appeal to
the DHO decision in the Northeast Region and the Central
Office” and that proof of the filings can be found in
his “motion brief” and “2241 motion
forms.” (Doc. 19, p. 1). Neither of these documents
(Docs. 1, 2) contain proof of an appeal to the Central
offers nothing that would compel this court to excuse
exhaustion. He fails to demonstrate futility by identifying
BOP actions that would clearly and unambiguously violate
statutory or constitutional rights, and he has not alleged
any facts that would permit this Court to find that
exhaustion of his administrative remedies would subject him
to “irreparable injury.”
has filed twenty administrative remedies while in BOP
custody. (Doc. 17-1, Knepper Decl., ¶ 5). Despite being
well aware of the BOP's exhaustion requirements, he
failed to “avail  himself of every process at every
turn (which would require all appeals to be timely pursued,
etc.).” Spruill v. Gillis, 372 F.3d 218, 228
(3d Cir. 2004). Because he has not alleged facts that would
permit the court to find that exhaustion would have been
futile, or that requiring exhaustion would subject him to
“irreparable injury, ” the petition will be
dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. To
hold otherwise would frustrate the purposes of the exhaustion
doctrine by allowing Johnson to invoke the judicial process
despite failing to complete administrative review.
on the foregoing, the petition for writ of habeas corpus
pursuant to 28 ...