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Manuel v. Stewart

United States District Court, D. Maryland

August 18, 2014

MARK T. MANUEL, JR. # XXXXX-XXX, Petitioner,
v.
TIMOTHY S. STEWART, WARDEN, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

DEBORAH K. CHASSNOW, District Judge.

Pending is Mark T. Manuel, Jr.'s Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, seeking his release from the Special Housing Unit at the Federal Correctional Institution ("FCI-Cumberland"), so that he may continue programming through which he might earn early release. Warden Timothy S. Stewart has filed a Response and Motion to Dismiss with which is unopposed. (ECF No. 8). No hearing is needed to resolve the issues. See Local Rule 106.5 (D. Md. 2014). For reasons to follow, the petition will be denied.

BACKGROUND

Manuel, a self-represented federal inmate, filed his Petition on pre-printed court-provided forms for seeking habeas relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. He claims that during the time he was confined at FCI-Cumberland: 1) he was improperly placed in the Special Housing Unit ("SHU") based on a request from the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"); 2) his placement in the SHU resulted in his subsequent removal from the institution's Residential Drug Abuse Program ("RDAP") and caused him to become ineligible for early release under 18 U.S.C. § 3621(e); and 3) prison personnel unlawfully retaliated against him for filing this Petition by subjecting him to disciplinary action for failing to stand for an inmate count. (ECF No. 3, pp. 1, 8). In essence, Manuel's "Petition" is a hybrid action premising his claim for habeas relief on the allegedly improper classification determinations made by prison personnel as he seeks: 1) removal from the SHU and his return to the prison camp where he had been previously housed; 2) resumption of RDAP participation; and 3) rescission of his management variable and transfer request. (ECF No. 1, pp. 8-10).[1] Presumably, this relief, if granted pursuant to his § 2241 Petition, would reduce the length of incarceration and alter the execution of his sentence.[2]

On September 25, 2013, the Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") transferred Manuel to the federal low security institution in Butner, North Carolina, where he was housed in the general population.[3] Respondent avers that Manuel's claim seeking his removal from the SHU at FCI-Cumberland is therefore moot. Additionally, Respondent avers Manuel has failed to exhaust administrative remedies and has no liberty interest in placement in an RDAP program or early release.

FACTS

A. Residential Drug Abuse Program

Manuel complains he was improperly removed from RDAP, thereby precluding the opportunity the program offers to obtain early release. An explanation of the program follows. Title 18 U.S.C. § 3621 authorizes incentives for prisoner participation in the BOP drug treatment programs. Subsection (e)(2) of the statute provides in pertinent part:

(A) Generally. - Any prisoner who, in the judgment of the Director of the Bureau of Prisons, has successfully completed a program of residential substance abuse treatment... shall remain in the custody of the Bureau under such conditions as the Bureau deems appropriate....
(B) Period of Custody. - The period a prisoner convicted of a nonviolent offense remains in custody after successfully completing a treatment program may be reduced by the Bureau of Prisons, but such reduction may not be more than one year from the term the prisoner must otherwise serve. (Emphasis added).

18 U.S.C. § 3621(e)(2).

The BOP has promulgated regulations and policy implementing the statute at 28 C.F.R. Subpart F - Drug Abuse Treatment Programs, §§ 550.50-.60. The BOP's Residential Drug Abuse Treatment Program consists of three distinct components or phases: 1) the unit-based residential program; 2) the institution transition phase; and 3) the community transitional services phase. 28 C.F.R. §§ 550.56 - 550.59. An inmate has not successfully completed the treatment program making him eligible for incentives such as early release until each of the three components has been successfully completed. Id.

B. Relevant Incarceration History

Respondent presents the following undisputed facts in support of its dispositive motion. On November 5, 2012, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania revoked Manuel's supervised release for a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, Conspiracy to Devise and Intent to Devise a Scheme and Artifice to Defraud Persons, and a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341, Mail Fraud, and sentenced him to 32 months of incarceration. (ECF No. 8, Exhibit 1, ¶2). If Manuel receives all good conduct time that is projected, he is scheduled to be ...


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