United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
J. HAZEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
response to the above-entitled Petition for Writ of Habeas
Corpus, Respondent moves to dismiss or. in the alternative,
for summary judgment. ECF No. 4. Petitioner opposes the
motion. ECF No. 6, and moves for leave to file a surreply.
ECF No. 10. For the reasons that follow.
Respondent's motion, construed as a motion to dismiss,
shall be granted, the petition shall be dismissed, and a
certificate of appealability shall not issue.
Vincent Graham, an inmate confined to the custody of the
Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") and incarcerated
at Federal Correctional Institution Cumberland
("FCI-Cumberland"), filed this Petition for Writ of
Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 challenging
the validity of a disciplinary hearing finding him guilty of
fighting with another inmate while incarcerated at Allenwood
Low Security Institution. ECF No. 1 at 8. Graham alleges
that he was not in a physical altercation; rather he was the
victim of an assault, Id, As relief. Graham seeks
reversal of the guilty verdict and removal of the incident
from his prison tile. ECF No. 1 at 9.
28. 2015. Graham received Incident Report No. 2757654
charging him with violating Disciplinary Code 201.
"fighting With Another Person." ECF No.
The Incident Report states that at approximately 12:30 p.m..
inmate "A" struck Graham in the left eye with a
closed fist. Id, at 1. Inmate A then exited
the shower room and entered his assigned cell. hi
Graham allegedly followed inmate A and attempted to enter
inmate A's cubicle, Id, Inmate A charged out of
the cubicle and both inmates exchanged punches in the
hallway. Id. Finally, the incident report provides
that a review of video footage demonstrated both Graham and
inmate A were involved in a physical altercation.
September 9. 2015. a Unit Disciplinary Committee
("UDC") hearing was conducted. The UDC referred the
charge to the Discipline Hearing Officer ("DHO")
based on the severity of the incident. ECF No. 4-3. Graham
received a copy of his rights, which he read and signed. ECF
No. 4-4. He did not request any witnesses. ECF No. 4-3.
Graham indicated that he wished to have Case Manager Cassel
serve as his staff representative. ECF Nos. 4-3 and 4-5.
Cassel read and acknowledged his duties as a staff
representative on September 10, 2015. Id.
September 24. 2015. DUO Todd Cerney conducted a hearing on
Incident Report No. 2757654. ECF No. 4-6. After considering
the statements of the reporting officer, the video footage,
and Graham's statements. DHO Cerney found that the
greater weight of the evidence supported the conclusion that
Graham was guilty of violating Disciplinary Code 201. ECF No.
raises two principal issues with his disciplinary action.
First. Graham alleges that the incident report named the
wrong inmate involved in the altercation with him. ECF No. 1
at 8. According to Graham, the altercation occurred on Brady
A Unit, and the individual involved was housed on Brady A
Unit. However, according to Graham, the individual named in
the incident report was housed on Brady B Unit and is not the
same individual that appears in the video footage reviewed
during the disciplinary proceeding. Id, Second.
Graham states that on July 29. 2015. one day after the
altercation, he was approached by Special Investigative
Supervisor ("SIS") Matthews who told him that he
was advised of the altercation by an informant, would draft
an incident report but not process it. and would transfer
Graham to another housing unit. Id, However. SIS
Matthews later informed Graham that review of the video
footage indicated that Graham did in fact engage in a
physical confrontation but that "given the
circumstances, he elected not to charge [Graham j with
providing a false statement." Id, Graham
asserts that he did not provide SIS Matthews with a statement
following the altercation. ECF No. 1 at 8.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
purpose of a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss is to test the
sufficiency of a plaintiffs complaint. See Presley v.
City of Charlottesville, 464 F.3d 480. 484 (4th Cir.
2006). When ruling on a motion to dismiss for failure to
state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6). a court must
"'accept the well-pled allegations of the complaint
as true, and . . . construe the facts and reasonable
inferences derived therefrom in the light most favorable to
the plaintiff." Ibarra v. US-, 120 F.3d 472.
474 (4th Cir. 1997). Although a pleading called into question
by Rule 12(b)(6) does not need to provide "detailed
factual allegations." something "more than labels
and conclusions" is required, and there must be factual
allegations sufficient to "raise a right to relief above
the speculative level." Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544. 555 (2007). To survive a Rule
12(b)(6) motion, a pleading must contain "enough factual
matter (taken as true) to suggest" the viability of the
plaintiffs claims. Id, at 556. Where "a
complaint pleads facts that are merely consistent with a
defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between
possibility and plausibility of entitlement to
relief.'" Ashcrofi v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662.
678 (2009). See also. Francis v. Giacomelli, 558
F.3d 186. 193 (4th Cir. 2009) ([N]aked assertions of
wrongdoing necessitate some factual enhancement within the
complaint to cross the line between possibility and
plausibility of entitlement to relief.") (internal
complaints such as Graham's must be construed liberally
and must be "held to less stringent standards than
formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89. 94 (2007). Despite this liberal
construction requirement, "[principles requiring
generous construction of pro se complaints are not..
. without limits." Beaudett v. City of Hampton,
775 F.2d 1274. 1278 (4th Cir. 1985). Courts are not required
to "conjure up questions never squarely presented to
them" nor "construct full blown claims from
sentence fragments." Id, "[W]here the
well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than
the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has
alleged- but it has not shown-that the pleader is entitled to
relief." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (internal
considering a motion pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).
courts "must consider the complaint in its entirety, as
well as other sources courts ordinarily examine when ruling
on Rule 12(b)(6) motions to dismiss, in particular, documents
incorporated into the complaint by reference, and matters of
which a court may take judicial notice." Tellabs.
Inc. v. Makor Issues & Rights. Ltd., 551 U.S. 308.
322 (2007). Thus, on a motion to dismiss for failure to state
a claim upon which relief could be granted, courts may
consider documents referenced in the complaint even if those
documents are not physically attached to the complaint.
See, e.g.. HQM. Ltd. v. Hatfield, 71
F.Supp.2d 500. 502 (D. Md. 1999).
retain rights under the Fourteenth Amendment's Due
Process Clause, but prison disciplinary proceedings are not
part of a criminal prosecution, and the lull array of rights
due a defendant in such proceedings does not apply. See
Wolff 'v. McDonnell,418 U.S. 539, 556 (1974)
(citing Morrissey v. Brewer,408 U.S. 471. 488
(1972)). In prison disciplinary proceedings where an inmate
faces the possible loss of diminution credits, he is entitled
to certain due process protections. These include: (1)
advance written notice of the charges against him: (2) a
written statement of the evidence relied on and the reasons
for taking any disciplinary action: (3) a hearing where he is
afforded the right to call witnesses and present evidence
when doing so is not inconsistent with institutional safety
and correctional concerns, and a written decision: (4) the
opportunity to have non-attorney representation when the
inmate is illiterate or the disciplinary hearing involves
complex issues: and (5) an impartial decision-maker. See
Wolff, 418 U.S. at 564-66. 592. There is no
constitutional right to confront and cross-examine witnesses
or to retain and be appointed counsel. See Baxter v.
Palmigiano,425 U.S. 308. 322 (1976): Brown v.
Braxton,373 F.3d 501. 504-05 (4th Cir. 2004). As long
as the hearing officer's decision contains a written
statement of the evidence relied upon, due process is
satisfied. See Baxter, 425 U.S. at 322.
n.5, Moreover, substantive due process is satisfied
if the disciplinary hearing decision was based upon
"some evidence." Superintendent, Mass, Corr.
Inst. v. Hill,472 U.S. 445. 455 (1985). Federal courts
do not review the correctness of a disciplinary hearing