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Graham v. Warden of FCI-Cumberland

United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division

September 19, 2017




         Vincent K. Graham brings this petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, naming as Respondent the Warden of FCI-Cumberland. Graham alleges that he was not afforded due process during a hearing that resulted in his good time credit being revoked. Pending before the Court is Respondent's Motion to Dismiss or. in the alternative, for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 11. Graham opposes the motion. ECF No. 14, ECF No. 15. No hearing is necessary to resolve the matters pending in this case. Sec Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons stated below. Respondent's motion, construed as a Motion for Summary Judgment, shall be granted and the Petition shall be dismissed.

         I. Background

         Vincent Graham is an inmate committed to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") and incarcerated in Federal Correctional Institution-Cumberland ("FCI-Cumberland"). He asserts that disciplinary proceedings filed against him that resulted in revocation of good conduct time were improper and seeks restoration of the good conduct time and expungement of the charges from his prison record. ECF No. 1; ECF No. 5.[1]

         A. Graham's Allegations

         Graham claims that on December 10. 2015, while he was incarcerated at FCI-Allenwood. he was assaulted by another inmate. ECF No. 1 at 6.[2]He states the assault occurred at 1:30 a.m.. while he was climbing down from the top bunk to use the restroom. Id. He explains that the cell housed a total of six men and is located in the Special Housing Unit ("SHU"), Id. Graham was-examined by medical staff later in the morning on December 10. 2015. He claims that, following that exam, SIS Lt. Prutzman threatened "to stick me with a shot" because Graham failed to cooperate with the investigation of the assault. Id. Graham relates that he was never served with an Administrative Detention Order. Id.

         On January 8. 2016. Graham was served with an incident report and claims that Prutzman "falsified material facts" when he claimed that Graham admitted he was involved in a physical altercation. Graham states that he never admitted any involvement in an altercation and insists he was the victim of an assault. Id. He further states that his assailant was "allowed to be discharge[d] earlier than his scheduled release date and prior to our DHO hearing." Id. After a hearing. Graham was found guilty of lighting with another person, Id.

         On February 10. 2016. during a tour of the SHU by the Warden. Graham claims that Prutzman stopped at his cell and said. "I told you I was going to stick you with a shot." ECF No. 1 at 6. Prutzman then laughed and walked away. Id. Graham claims that on February 24. 2016. Prutzman again stopped at his cell during the warden's tour of the SHU and said. "1 guess I won't be getting a Christmas card from you this year." Prutzman then laughed and walked away. Id. On March 2, 2016. Graham claims that Prutzman slopped at his cell, stared at Graham's "private parts." and said, "he wants me to make love to him!"[3] Id. Prutzman began Laughing, Id.

         Graham asserts that Prutzman began taunting him after he was found guilty on the incident report written by Prutzman. Prior to receiving the incident report and during the time Graham was awaiting a hearing. Prutzman never stopped at Graham's cell nor did he harass Graham. Id. Graham bases his claim for relief on: (1) the assertion that he never received a copy of the Administrative Detention Order. (2) the allegation that Prutzman falsified material facts during his investigation, and (3) that the sanctions imposed violated BOP policies and regulations. Id. at 7-8.

         B. Respondent's Motion

         Respondent's Motion provides information regarding the Inmate Disciplinary Process as authorized by 18 U.S.C. § 4042 and 28 C.F.R. § 500. el seq, which the Court summarizes here. ECF No. 11 at 2-A. When BOP staff reasonably believe that an inmate has violated a regulation. an incident report is prepared. 28 C.F.R. § 541.5(a). The inmate suspected of the violation is provided a written copy of the charges against him usually within 24 hours of the time that staff first becomes aware of the inmate's involvement. Id.

         At the time the incident report is provided to the inmate, an investigating officer reads the charges to the inmate and asks for the inmate's statement while advising the inmate of their right to remain silent and that silence may be used against them (a prisoner's silence alone, however, cannot be used as the sole basis to find him guilty). The investigating officer is tasked with investigating the incident, recording all steps and actions taken on the incident report, and forwarding all relevant materials to the Unit Disciplinary Committee ("UDC") for an initial hearing. 28 C.F.R. § 541.5(b).

         The UDC usually holds an initial hearing within five working days from the date the incident report is issued. 28 C.F.R. § 541.7(b). The inmate is entitled to be present at the initial hearing, excluding deliberations by the committee or where security of the prison would be compromised by the inmate's presence. 28 C.F.R. § 541.7(d). At the hearing, the inmate is entitled to make a statement and present documentary evidence on his behalf. 28 C.F.R. § 41.7(e). The UDC"s decision following the initial hearing must be based on at least some facts. Where there is conflicting evidence, the decision is based on the greater weight of the evidence. 28 C.F.R. §541.7(e).

         The UDC must decide whether the inmate committed the prohibited act charged or one similar to it. did not commit the prohibited act as charged or refer the case to the Disciplinary Hearing Officer ("DHO") for further proceedings. 28 C.F.R. § 541.7(a). A case is referred to the DHO for further proceedings when the alleged violation of BOP rules is serious and warrants consideration of major sanctions. 28 C.F.R. § 541.17(f). When this referral is made, the UDC forwards copies of all relevant documents to the DHO with a brief statement of reasons for the ...

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