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Jones v. Woods

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

June 4, 2019

ROBERT NATHAN JONES, Reg. No. 26039-001 Petitioner,
v.
WALTER WOODS, Respondent.

          RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          CHARLES S. COODY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This case is before the court on a 28 U.S.C. § 2241 petition for writ of habeas corpus filed by Robert Nathan Jones, a federal inmate confined in the Maxwell Federal Prison Camp at the time he filed this civil action. In this petition, Jones contends he is entitled “[t]o serve the remaining part of [his] imposed sentence in home confinement, less any good time earned.” Doc. 1 at 7. Specifically, Jones alleges that the Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) has failed to immediately recalculate his sentence and correct his Good Conduct Time (“GCT”) credit in accordance with the provisions of the First Step Act enacted on December 21, 2018. Jones also asserts that the BOP is denying him his right to placement on home confinement based on his age as mandated by the Act. He requests that the court issue an order directing the BOP to immediately calculate his GCT and place him on home confinement as required by the First Step Act of 2018. Doc. 2 at 4.

         In his response to the habeas petition, the respondent argues that the petition is due to be denied because Jones failed to exhaust his available administrative remedies provided by the BOP prior to seeking relief from this court. Doc. 14 at 4-6. He also denies any violation of Jones' constitutional rights or federal law with respect to either the calculation of his GCT or his lack of placement on home confinement. Doc. 16 at 6-8.

         In support of his exhaustion defense, the respondent maintains that:

The Administrative Remedy Program [established by the BOP] is described at 28 C.F.R. § 542.10, et seq., Administrative Remedy Procedures for Inmates. In accordance with the [formal] administrative remedy procedures, inmates must first present their complaint to the Warden of the facility in which the inmate is confined[.] . . . Administrative Remedy Form BP-229(13) is the form to be utilized at the institution level, which is commonly referred to as a “BP-9” form. If the inmate is not satisfied with the response to the BP-9 received from the Warden, the response may be appealed to the Regional Director within 20 days of when the warden signed the response. Administrative Remedy Form BP-230(13) is the form to be utilized at the regional level, which is commonly referred to as a “BP-10” form. If the inmate is not satisfied with the response of the Regional Director, that response may be appealed to the General Counsel's Office within 30 days of when the Regional Director signed the response. Appeal to BOP's Office of General Counsel is the final step in the BOP's administrative remedy process. Administrative Remedy Form BP-231(13) is the form to be utilized at the final level, which is commonly referred to as a “BP-11” form. The response from the General Counsel's Office is considered the final agency decision.[1]
If the inmate does not receive a response within the time allotted for reply, including extension, the inmate may consider the absence of a response to be a denial at that level. 28 C.F.R. § 542.18.
. . . .
The Sentry Administrative Remedy Log for inmate Jones reflects that he has submitted twelve remedy requests; some have been accepted and some rejected. However, not one of these twelve remedy requests has been regarding [the claims presented in this case].
Petitioner states in his filing there “are not administrative remedies available to the Petitioner.” But fails to say how or why he cannot use the [administrative remedy] program.
Thus, Petitioner has not exhausted the available administrative remedies and his petition should be dismissed.

         Doc. 14-3 at 2-4 (paragraph numbering omitted) (footnote added).

         The respondent further argues that even had Jones exhausted his administrative remedies he is entitled to no relief on the claims pending before this court. Initially, with respect to Jones' claim seeking an immediate award of GCT credit under the First Step Act of 2018, the respondent argues that “[t]his particular change does not become effective until the Attorney General completes, within 210 days of the FSA's passage, [sometime in July of 2019, ] a ‘risks and needs assessment system.' See FSA, Sections 101(a) & 102(b)(2).” Doc. 14 at 3. As such, he maintains this claim is premature. The respondent next argues that Jones is not entitled to home confinement because the BOP retains complete discretion “as to whether and when a prisoner is assigned home confinement” and claims alleging a right to home confinement “are expressly insulated from judicial review.” Doc. 14 at 6-7.

         In his reply to the respondent's response, Jones states that his GCT claim “is not the critical juncture in this case” but, instead, the critical issue is his request for placement on home confinement so “Petitioner does not require this Court to address good time calculations.” Doc. 16 at 4. With respect to his home confinement claim, Jones contends that he meets each of the eligibility requirements for placement on home confinement set forth in First Step Act of 2018 and is therefore entitled to such placement. Doc. 16 at 1-6. In sum, Jones maintains “the FSA mandates that [he] be released to home confinement.” Doc. 16 at 9. As discussed below, infra. at 6-8, this assertion is foreclosed by applicable federal law.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Jurisdiction

         The law is well-settled that a 28 U.S.C. § 2241 petition for writ of habeas corpus is the proper vehicle for a prisoner to challenge the manner, location or execution of his sentence. See Lopez v. Davis, 531 U.S. 230, 236 (2001); Williams v. Pearson, 197 Fed.Appx. 872, 877 (11th Cir. 2006); Stephens v. Herrera, 464 F.3d 895, 897 (9th Cir. 2006); United States v. Williams, 425 F.3d 987, 990 (11th Cir. 2005); Bishop v. Reno, 210 F.3d 1295, 1304 n.14 (11th Cir. 2005); Jiminian v. Nash, 245 F.3d 144, 146 (2d Cir. 2001); United States v. Miller, 871 F.2d 488, 490 (4th Cir. 1989). Here, Jones alleges the BOP has failed to calculate his good time credits ...


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