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Drayton v. White

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

June 21, 2019

RONALD DRAYTON, Petitioner
v.
WARDEN DOUGLAS K. WHITE, Respondent

          MEMORANDUM

          Kane, Judge.

         On January 16, 2019, pro se Petitioner Ronald Drayton (“Petitioner”), who is presently confined at the Federal Correctional Institution Allenwood in White Deer, Pennsylvania (“FCI Allenwood”), initiated the above-captioned action by filing a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, challenging a detainer lodged against him by the Luzerne County, Pennsylvania District Attorney's Office and asking the Court to direct Respondent to remove the detainer. (Doc. No. 1.) After Petitioner paid the requisite filing fee, the Court entered an Order to Show Cause, directing Respondent to file a response within twenty (20) days. (Doc. No. 6.)

         On March 28, 2019, Respondent filed a response, asserting that Petitioner's § 2241 petition should be dismissed because: (1) Petitioner failed to exhaust his administrative remedies; (2) the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over Petitioner's challenge to the detainer; and (3) Petitioner's argument that the detainer has caused him to be excluded from rehabilitative programs lacks merit, as such exclusion does not violate his rights. (Doc. No. 8.) Subsequently, Petitioner filed a motion for an extension of time to file a traverse (Doc. No. 9), a motion for discovery asking the Court to direct Respondent to provide him a sentence computation abstract from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (“DOC”) (Doc. No. 10), and a motion to expedite a ruling on his motion for discovery (Doc. No. 11).

         In an Order dated May 17, 2019, the Court granted Petitioner's motion to expedite to the extent that Respondent was directed to file a response to the motion for discovery. (Doc. No. 12.) Respondent filed a response to the motion on May 21, 2019 (Doc. No. 13), and Petitioner filed a reply (Doc. No. 14). By Order dated June 7, 2019, the Court denied Petitioner's motion for discovery and granted his motion for an extension of time to file a traverse, directing him to do so within fourteen (14) days. (Doc. No. 15.) The Court received Petitioner's traverse on June 18, 2019. (Doc. No. 16.) For the reasons set forth below, the Court will dismiss Petitioner's § 2241 petition.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Petitioner is in federal custody pursuant to a 57-month sentence imposed upon him by Judge Malachy Mannion of this Court for conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine. (Doc. No. 8-1, Ex. 1, Attach. 1 at 2.) His projected release date is November 1, 2019. (Id.)

         On May 10, 2017, the Luzerne County District Attorney's Office contacted the Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) via email to request that a detainer be lodged against Petitioner. (Id., Attach. 3 at 1.) The email included attachments of the supporting court documentation as well as an abstract pertaining to Petitioner's state criminal proceedings. (Id. at 3-11.) The email indicated that “[a]lthough [Petitioner's] Luzerne County sentence is to run concurrent to his federal sentence, the Luzerne County sentence will exceed his federal sentence.” (Id. at 1.) In response, the BOP issued a Detainer Action Letter to the District Attorney's Office, noting that the detainer had been lodged and that Petitioner was tentatively scheduled for release on November 1, 2019. (Id. at 2.)

         On November 1, 2018, Petitioner filed administrative remedy 958568.F1, asking that the Luzerne County detainer be removed. (Id., Attach. 2.) On November 20, 2018, his remedy was denied at the institutional level. (Id.) On December 12, 2018, Petitioner appealed to the Regional Office, which denied his appeal on February 1, 2019. (Id.)

         II. DISCUSSION

         Respondent asserts that Petitioner's § 2241 petition should be dismissed because: (1) Petitioner failed to exhaust his administrative remedies; (2) the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over Petitioner's challenge to the detainer; and (3) Petitioner's argument that the detainer has caused him to be excluded from rehabilitative programs lacks merit, as such exclusion does not violate his rights. (Doc. No. 8.) The Court considers each argument below in turn.

         A. Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies

         While § 2241 does not contain an explicit statutory exhaustion requirement, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has consistently required a petitioner to exhaust his administrative remedies before filing a § 2241 petition. See Moscato v. Fed. 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.” Id. at 761-62 (citing Bradshaw v. Carlson, 682 F.2d 1050, 1052 (3d Cir. 1981)). Exhaustion, however, is not required when it would not promote these goals, such as when exhaustion would be futile. See, e.g., Gambino v. Morris, 134 F.3d 156, 171 (3d Cir. 1998).

         The Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) has a multi-step procedure for inmates to grieve aspects of their imprisonment. See 28 C.F.R. §§ 542.10-542.19. First, an inmate should attempt informal resolution of the issue with the appropriate staff member. Id. § 542.13(b). If informal resolution is unsuccessful, the inmate may file a formal written grievance with the Warden, using the appropriate form, within twenty (20) days of the date of the events forming the basis of the grievance. Id. § 542.14(a). An inmate dissatisfied with the Warden's response may appeal it to the Regional Director within twenty (20) days of the Warden's response. Id. § 542.15(a). Finally, an inmate may appeal the Regional Director's response to the BOP's General Counsel within thirty (30) days of the Regional Director's response. Id.

         Respondent asserts that Petitioner's § 2241 petition should be dismissed because Petitioner did not appeal to the Central Office the Regional Officer's denial of his remedy requesting that the detainer be removed. (Doc. No. 8 at 5.) In response, Petitioner contends that he has fully exhausted his administrative remedies and has included documentation to support his claim. (Doc. No. 16.) The documents attached to Petitioner's traverse indicate that on February 25, 2019, Petitioner appealed the Regional Officer's response to the Central Office. (Id. at 12-13.) On April 17, 2019, the Central Office denied Petitioner's appeal. (Id. at 14.) Thus, while Petitioner did not fully exhaust his administrative remedies prior to filing ...


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