United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
THOMAS J. BARTELHO, Petitioner,
WARDEN DAVID EBBERT, Respondent.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
C. CARLSON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Statement of Facts and of the Case
case presents a federal habeas corpus petition filed by the
petitioner, Thomas Bartelho, a federal inmate, which invites
us to examine the results of a prison disciplinary hearing
that led to the forfeiture of good time and other privileges.
Because we find that Bartelho was afforded the full panoply
of procedural protections and find that there is sufficient
evidence to support the prison's finding of misconduct,
it is recommended that this petition be denied.
is a federal inmate who is presently confined at the United
States Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana. On January 19,
2017, while the petitioner was confined at USP Atwater, a
Special Investigative Services (“SIS”) technician
reviewed an outgoing letter from Bartelho. The letter was
contained in a manila envelope, and the technician discovered
an additional layer of paper glued to the inner section of
the envelope that contained instructions on how to introduce
narcotics into the prison. Additionally, Bartelho's
letter asked the recipient to continue to send him post cards
saturated with “spice, ” which is a term used for
synthetic marijuana. The unit officer reported that he had
received the envelope from Bartelho, and the recipient of the
letter was listed as the petitioner's friend in the
Bureau of Prisons' computer system.
on the foregoing, the BOP issued Bartelho an incident report,
which charged him with attempted introduction of narcotics
and use of mail for illegal purposes. Bartelho received a
copy of the incident report, which charged him with this
misconduct, on January 19, 2017. Bartelho was advised of his
rights on that same day, and he remained silent and did not
request any witnesses or a staff representative. The Unit
Disciplinary Committee (“UDC”) held a hearing on
January 22, after which the UDC referred the report to the
Discipline Hearing Officer (“DHO”). The DHO gave
Bartelho written notice of the hearing on January 22, and
Bartelho indicated that he did not wish to have witnesses at
the hearing but requested a staff representative. Bartelho
was also given a written statement advising him of his
rights. The DHO hearing was held on February 24, 2017, and
Bartelho was represented by Senior Officer Specialist A.
hearing, the DHO confirmed that Bartelho understood his
rights and that he did not want to present any witnesses.
Bartelho gave a statement, claiming that he had made a card
in hobby craft, and that he did not know what the envelope
contained, as he simply reached into a box and put the card
in the first envelope he found. His staff representative
confirmed that he participated in hobby craft but stated that
there was no videotape evidence of Bartelho looking into the
card box. Bartelho did not present any evidence at the
addition to the petitioner's and his staff
representative's statements, the DHO relied on the
officer's report, photographic evidence, an address list,
and Bartelho's disciplinary record. The photographs
indicated Bartelho's name on the envelope, as well as the
instructions on the inside of the envelope regarding the
introduction of narcotics. Further, Bartelho's
disciplinary record indicated a history of attempting to
introduce narcotics, among other infractions.
on the greater weight of the evidence, the DHO found Bartelho
guilty of violating codes 111(A) (Attempted Introduction of
Narcotics) and 196 (Use of the Mail for Illegal Purposes).
The sanctions imposed on Bartelho included loss of 41 days
good conduct time, disciplinary segregation for thirty days,
and the loss of phone and commissary privileges for two
years. The DHO reasoned that the sanctions were imposed to
deter Bartelho from future similar actions, and additionally,
because past sanctions had been futile and had an
insufficient impact on his behavior.
with the outcome of these proceedings, Bartelho first
attempted to appeal the DHO's decision administratively.
He then filed the instant federal habeas corpus petition
while he was housed at USP Lewisburg, challenging this prison
incident report issued to him and sanctions subsequently
imposed upon him by the DHO. This matter has been fully
briefed by the parties and is now ripe for resolution.
reasons set forth below, it is recommended that this petition
This Petition is Unexhausted.
complaint about his 2017 disciplinary hearing suffers from a
fundamental procedural flaw since the petitioner has failed
to properly exhaust his administrative remedies within the
federal prison system. Although 28 U.S.C. § 2241
contains no express exhaustion requirement,
“[o]rdinarily, federal prisoners are required to
exhaust their administrative remedies prior to seeking a writ
of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241.”
Gambino v. Morris, 134 F.3d 156, 171 (3d Cir. 1998);
see also, e.g., Callwood v. Enos, 230 F.3d
627, 634 (3d Cir. 2000); Bradshaw v. Carlson, 682
F.2d 1050, 1052 (3d Cir. 1981). These exhaustion rules serve
an important and salutary purpose. The United States Court of
Appeals for the Third Circuit requires administrative
exhaustion of a claim raised under § 2241 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; ...