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De Jesus v. Woods

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

June 21, 2019

HECTOR RAMON DE JESUS, Reg. No. 65144-019, 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 Hector Ramon de Jesus, a federal inmate currently confined in the Maxwell Federal Prison Camp. In this petition, de Jesus 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, de Jesus 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. He 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 de Jesus failed to exhaust his available administrative remedies provided by the BOP prior to seeking relief from this court as required by well-settled federal law. Doc. 13 at 3-6. The respondent further denies any violation of de Jesus' constitutional rights or federal law with respect to either the calculation of his GCT or his lack of placement on home confinement. Doc. 13 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 DeJesus reflects that he has not submitted any twelve remedy requests throughout his time in the BOP.
Thus, inmate DeJesus did not exhaust the available remedies to request release to home confinement [or GCT] under the First Step Act (FSA).
Because Petitioner has not exhausted the available administrative remedies, his petition should be dismissed.

Doc. 13-3 at 2-4 (paragraph numbering omitted) (footnote added).

         The respondent further argues that even had de Jesus exhausted his administrative remedies he is entitled to no relief on the claims pending before this court. Initially, with respect to de Jesus' 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 mid-July of 2019, ] a ‘risks and needs assessment system.' See FSA, Sections 101(a) & 102(b)(2).” Doc. 13 at 3. As such, he maintains this claim is premature. The respondent next argues that de Jesus 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. 13 at 6-7.

         On May 29, 2019, the court entered an order allowing de Jesus until June 13, 2019 to address the arguments set forth by the respondent in his response. Doc. 14. As of the present date, de Jesus has filed no response to this order.

         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, de Jesus alleges the BOP has failed to calculate his good time credits ...


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