United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
Malachy E. Mannion United States District Judge
Christopher Alexander Mathis, an inmate confined in the State
Correctional Institution, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, filed the
instant petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28
U.S.C. §2241. He challenges the legality of a West
Virginia detainer lodged against him. (Doc. 1,
he claims that “since October 26, 2017, the United
States Marshal’s Service has caused a detainer to be
lodged against Petitioner (who is serving a state sentence of
3 to 10 years following his conviction of various drug
violations), relating to alleged violations of the terms of
Petitioner’s federal supervised release.”
Id. Despite Petitioner’s requests, including
the filing of a Motion for Transport on or about May 26,
2019, no action has been taken to resolve the allegations of
violation of the terms of Petitioner’s supervised
release. Id. Petitioner alleges that “as a
consequence of the detainer which remains lodged against
[him], Petitioner has and continues to be denied
participation in various rehabilitative programming,
employment opportunities and housing status.”
Id. He, thus, challenges the West Virginia District
Court’s “refusal to take action on alleged
violation of supervised release, relating to which a detainer
remains lodged against him.” Id. For relief,
Petitioner seeks “an order directing action be taken on
alleged violation of the terms of Petitioner’s
supervised relief or direct that the detainer that remains
lodged against Petitioner therewith be quashed.”
Id. For the reasons outlined below, the Court will
deny the petition for writ of habeas corpus.
corpus petitions brought under §2254 are subject to
summary dismissal pursuant to Rule 4 ("Preliminary
Consideration by the Judge") of the Rules Governing
Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts, 28
U.S.C. foll. §2254 (1977). See, e.g.,
Patton v. Fenton, 491 F.Supp. 156, 158-59 (M.D. Pa.
1979). The Rules are applicable to §2241 petitions under
Rule 1(b). Id.
pertinent part, Rule 4 provides that “[i]f it plainly
appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the
petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court,
the judge must dismiss the petition and direct the clerk to
notify the petitioner.” In this case, it is apparent
from the face of the petition that Mathis cannot seek habeas
relief in this Court.
the Court finds that the deprivation of which Mathis
complains - his preclusion from participating in prison
rehabilitative programs - would remain a deprivation imposed
by the state having custody over him, more specifically, the
Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, and not by any
federal authority. Cf. Caruso v. United States Bd. of
Parole, 570 F.2d 1150, 1155 (3d Cir.1978) (“He
does not nor can he charge that the federal Parole Board is
denying him access to prison programs ... because it has
issued a parole violator warrant .... [Rather], it is the
State of New Jersey, not the federal authorities, which is
alleg[edly] depriving [petitioner] of his
‘rights’. As such, whatever the basis for
[petitioner’s] charges (and we express no view as to
their validity), the appropriate targets for [his] attack are
state prison officials ....”).
appears to argue that the collateral consequences of the
continued parole detainer warrant violates his right to due
process. However, under Moody v. Daggett, 429 U.S.
78 (1976), Petitioner is not entitled to the due process
protections with regards to the parole revocation process
until the warrant is executed and he is taken into custody as
a parole violator. The collateral consequences of the
detainer do not deprive Petitioner of his right to due
by now well-established that a parolee facing revocation of
parole has a constitutional liberty interest in his freedom,
despite its conditional and qualified nature. Morrissey
v. Brewer, 408 U.S. 471, 483 (1972). As a consequence,
the government may not revoke parole without providing due
process as required by the Fifth or Fourteenth Amendments to
our Constitution. Morrissey, 408 U.S. at 483;
United States v. Lloyd, 566 F.3d 341, 343 (3d Cir.
2009). Among the requirements necessary to comport with due
process, a Petitioner is entitled to a revocation hearing
within a reasonable time after being taken into custody.
Morrissey, 408 U.S. at 487-89; United States v.
Dobson, 585 F.2d 55, 61 (3d Cir. 1978). These rights do
not attach, however, until the execution of a parole violator
warrant “for the loss of liberty as a parole violator
does not occur until the parolee is taken into custody under
the warrant.” Moody, 429 U.S. at 87.
a federal prisoner serving his sentence for a criminal
conviction that also amounts to a violation of parole for an
earlier conviction has lost his liberty not because of the
outstanding parole violator warrant, but because of the
criminal conviction. Id. at 86–87.
“Issuance of the warrant and notice of that fact to the
institution of confinement did no more than express the
[USPC’s] intent to defer consideration of parole
revocation to a later time.” Id. at 86. Thus,
“a federal parolee, when convicted of and imprisoned by
federal authorities for another crime committed while on
parole, has no right to a prompt revocation hearing upon the
issuance of a parole violator warrant based on that second
crime.” U.S. ex rel. Caruso v. U.S. Bd. of
Parole, 570 F.2d 1150, 1153 (3d Cir. 1978).
instant case, Petitioner presently is in custody at the
SCI-Huntingdon, serving his state court sentence. Generally,
consistent with federal regulations, the USPC must schedule a
revocation hearing within ninety days of execution of the
violator warrant. 28 C.F.R. §2.49(f).
Petitioner appears to suggest that the delay from the
imposition of the detainer until its anticipated execution is
unreasonable and deprives him of a protected liberty interest
without due process. However, in this case, Petitioner cannot
avail himself of this argument, for until the warrant is
executed, he has no lost liberty interest due to the
outstanding parole violator warrant. See Moody, 429
U.S. at 86–87; U.S. ex rel. Caruso, 570 F.2d
also argues that the imposition of the detainer and delay in
executing the warrant deny him the opportunity to participate
in prison rehabilitation and early release programs, which
Petitioner contends is a deprived liberty interest without
due process. These collateral consequences of the detainer do
not, however, rise to the level of a constitutional
deprivation for which habeas relief can be
Supreme Court in Moody directly addressed and
rejected a similar argument, where the petitioner maintained
“that the pending warrant and detainer adversely
affect[ed] his prison classification and qualification for
institutional programs.” 429 U.S. at 88 n. 9.
The Supreme Court declined to grant relief for the denial of
such benefits that are left to the “full
discretion” of prison officials and so the petitioner
had “no legitimate statutory or constitutional
entitlement sufficient to invoke due process.”
Moody, 429 U.S. at 88 n. 9; see Becerra v.
Miner, 248 F.App'x 368, 370 (3d Cir. 2007) (inmate
assigned public safety factor of “deportable
alien” had no liberty interest in his consequential
disqualification for certain institutional programs);
Richardson v. Joslin,501 F.3d 415, 419â20 (5th Cir.
2007) (prisoner’s inability to pursue early release due
to his detainer does not implicate his due process rights,
for he had no liberty interest in a sentence reduction under
Section 3621(e)); James v. DeRosa, Civil No.
04â3808, 2005 WL 2247951, at *3â4 (D.N.J. Sept. 14,
2005) (holding that the existence of a detainer is “a
legitimate factor to consider in determining eligibility for
custody-related programming, ” ...