United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
SOLOMON OLIVER, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
se Petitioner William Douglas Hampton, presently
incarcerated at FCI Elkton, brings this Petition for a Writ
of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241.
Petitioner asks the court to grant him his constitutional
right to a jury trial to defend himself against a charge of
“fighting with another person” while
incarcerated. (ECF No. 1).
reasons that follow, the Petition is denied.
November 23, 2018, Petitioner states that he was attacked by
another inmate, Kenneth Bulholtz, in the typewriter section
of the law library while incarcerated at FCI Seagoville. (ECF
No. 1-2). When returning to his housing unit, Petitioner was
stopped by a correctional officer who noticed that he had
facial injuries, and he was taken to the medical department
for evaluation and then to the special housing unit
(“SHU”). (ECF No. 1 at 1-2). Petitioner received
a “201” incident report for fighting with another
person and, on December 6, 2018, a disciplinary hearing was
conducted before the Disciplinary Hearing Officer
was found guilty of the charge and sanctioned: (1) seven days
of disciplinary segregation, (2) twenty-seven Good Contact
Days lost, and (3) sixty days of loss of commissary.
(Id. at 2). Petitioner states that the
above-described process is consistent with the Code of
Federal Regulations and Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”)
policy “if guilt is valid.” Petitioner claims
that he was then sanctioned a second time when his case
manager, Ms. Goen, increased his Custody Level Score and he
was transferred to FCI Elkton. Petitioner claims that the
staff at FCI Seagoville discriminated against him and showed
favoritism to Bulholtz because Petitioner was transferred but
Bulholtz was not. Petitioner states that he has exhausted his
administrative remedies and now seeks habeas relief.
the DHO hearing, Petitioner states he did not receive the DHO
report until February 20, 2019. (Id. at 3).
According to the Petition, he filed his appeal on March 11,
2019, but it was denied as untimely. (Id. at 5-6).
Petitioner states the in denying his appeal as untimely, the
Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) violated the prison
mailbox rule because he deposited his appeal in the prison
mailbox within the 20-day period for filing an appeal.
claims that he was denied due process on multiple grounds,
including the BOP's denial of his appeal as untimely, the
DHO's false statements about what constitutes a
“fight, ” the FCI Seagoville staff treated him
less favorably than the other inmate involved in the fight,
and the FCI Seagoville staff's role generally in
contributing to inmate fights. For relief, Petitioner seeks to
present his appeal of the DHO ruling in this court in the
form of a jury trial where he will show that he is innocent,
and upon such a finding, seeks dismissal of the incident
report, return of his good conduct days, and reduction of his
custody level score. (Id. at 7-10).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
of habeas corpus “may be granted by the Supreme Court,
any justice thereof, the district courts and any circuit
judge within their respective jurisdictions.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241(a). Section 2241 “is an affirmative grant
of power to federal courts to issue writs of habeas corpus to
prisoners being held ‘in violation of the Constitution
or laws or treaties of the United States.'”
Rice v. White, 660 F.3d 242, 249 (6th Cir. 2011)
(quoting Section 2241(c)). Because Petitioner is appearing
pro se, the allegations in his Petition must be
construed in his favor, and his pleadings are held to a less
stringent standard than those prepared by counsel. Urbina
v. Thoms, 270 F.3d 292, 295 (6th Cir. 2001). However,
this Court may dismiss the Petition at any time, or make any
such disposition as law and justice require, if it determines
the Petition fails to establish adequate grounds for relief.
Hilton v. Braunskill, 481 U.S. 770, 775 (1987);
see also Allen v. Perini, 424 F.2d 134, 141 (6th
Cir. 1970) (holding district courts have a duty to
“screen out” petitions lacking merit on their
face under 28 U.S.C. § 2243).
The Mailbox Rule
first claim is that his administrative appeal was rejected as
untimely in violation of the prison mailbox rule because he
placed his appeal in the prison mail within the 20-day period
for filing an appeal. The time for filing an
appeal/administrative remedy is governed by 28 C.F.R. §
542.18, which provides that in the BOP's administrative
remedy program, an appeal is considered “filed”
on the date it is received. 28 C.F.R. § 542.18
(“If accepted, a Request or Appeal is considered filed
on the date it is logged into the Administrative Remedy Index
as received.”). Some courts within and outside this
circuit have concluded that the mailbox rule does not apply
to BOP administrative remedy/appeal process because of the
language of the regulation, BOP policy, and caselaw. See
Goddard v. Alexakos, No. CV 5:16-215-KKC, 2018 WL
1168611, at *7 (E.D. Ky. Mar. 6, 2018) (28 C.F.R. §
542.18 “clearly provides” that an appeal is
considered “filed” on the date it is received
and, “[i]n the absence of clear, binding authority
directing that the prison mail box applies in the
administrative remedy/appeal process, the Court is reluctant
to apply the rule in this case. This finding is also
consistent with ... the BOP's internal
regulations[.]”) (citations omitted) (distinguishing
Cordoba v. Shartle, 2010 WL 2572854 (N. D. Ohio
2010) and Vasquez v. Shartle, 2011 WL 1004934 (N.D.
Ohio 2011) (mailbox rule does apply to administrative appeal)
on the grounds that neither addressed the significance of 28
C.F.R. § 542.18's definition of the term
“filed”); see also Tucker v. Jones, No.