United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
J. HAZEL United States District Judge.
confined at the Federal Correctional Institution
("FCI") in Cumberland. Maryland,  Brandon Lee
Caudle, a U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP) inmate, filed a 28
U.S.C. § 2241 Petition challenging his August 2014
disciplinary report that was issued while he was incarcerated
at the Federal Correctional Institution in Elkton. Ohio, In
that report. Caudle was charged with a Code 196 violation
occurring on March 24, 2014, for "use of the mail for an
illegal activity." ECF No. 5-2 at 26-29. Presently
pending before the Court is Respondent's Motion to
Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment filed by
Respondent on March 3, 2017. ECF No, 5. Caudle has filed a
Response and Respondent has filed a Reply. ECF No. 7, ECF No.
8. The Motion is ready for disposition, and a hearing is
unnecessary. See Local Rule. 105.6 (D. Md. 2016),
For reasons set forth below, Respondent's Motion,
construed as a Motion for Summary Judgment, is granted.
is currently serving an 89-month sentence following his
December 2013 convictions for mail fraud and aggravated
identity theft in the United States District Court for the
Eastern District of Virginia. ECF No. 5-2 at 9; see also
United Stales v. Caudle, Criminal No. HEH-13-0154 (E.D.
Va.). On March 26, 2014, during a review of mail at FCI
Elkton. an outgoing letter was discovered with another
inmate's (Willard Macallaster's) return address, but
apparently written in Caudle's handwriting. ECF No. 5-2
at 17. The envelope was opened, revealing a letter written to
the Better Business Bureau complaining about an account with
a bank (Household Bank). Id. The letter,
"admittedly" written by Caudle, stated that the other
inmate was a victim of identity theft while incarcerated, and
wanted the bank to investigate the account. Id.
Attached to the letter was a purported Bureau of Prisons'
memo from Case Manager "B. Cooke'" of FCI
Elkton. claiming that the other inmate had been in continuous
custody since his arrest in 1999 to the present. Id.
However, there is no case manager at FCI Elkton by the name
of B. Cooke. Id. Additionally, an inmate
incarceration history was generated from the BOP national
inmate data bank (Sentry), which revealed that the other
inmate had been released from August 29, 1996, to May 28,
2013. ECF No. 5-2 at 2-3.
March 31, 2014, pursuant to BOP policy, FCI Elkton Special
Investigative Services ("SIS") staff referred the
matter to the Youngstown, Ohio FBI Field Office, noting that
Caudle appeared to be involved in several forms of fraud via
mail, e-mail, and telephone, using other inmates with bad
credit and fraudulent BOP documents. ECF No. 5-2 at 3. When
referred to the FBI, the local investigation conducted by BOP
staff at FCI Elkton was suspended. Respondent states that the
internal disciplinary process was suspended in order to
ensure the integrity of the federal investigation and
potential prosecution. Id.
6.2014, BOP personnel received information from another bank
(GE Capital Retail Bank) that they had also received
correspondence from another inmate who, with help from
Caudle, was claiming identity theft with a forged BOP
document as proof of incarceration.. Id. at 17. The
other inmate used this forged BOP document to falsely claim
identity theft in order to illegally clear accounts.
21, 2014, the FBI accepted the matter for prosecution.
Id. at 4. On August 7, 2014, all relevant
information and material was released from the FBI.
Id. at 17. At that point, the FC1 Elkton SIS staff
concluded their mail fraud inquiry and an incident report was
delivered to Caudle and the other inmate. Id. Caudle
received his incident report on August 7, 2014, charging him
with "use of the mail to further criminal activity,
" a violation of disciplinary Code 196. Id.
August 13, 2014, a Unit Discipline Committee
("UDC") was conducted. Id. The UDC
referred the incident report to the Disciplinary Hearing
Officer ("DHO"') for sanctions not available at
the UDC level. Id. Caudle received a copy of his
rights and requested a staff representative, but declined to
request any witnesses to appear on his behalf. ECF No. 5-2 at
4, 21, 24.
Montgomery conducted a disciplinary hearing on September 22,
2014, ECF No. 5-2 at 26. At the outset of the hearing. Caudle
was read his due process rights and given the opportunity to
review them with his staff representative, Ms. Baker.
Id. At the hearing. Baker indicated: "Inmate
Caudle wanted me to ensure his due process rights were upheld
during this disciplinary process and during the DHO hearing.
I have reviewed the DHO Packet to include all evidence, and I
have no concerns." Id. Gaudle declined to call
any witnesses, to present documentary evidence, or make a
statement on his own behalf. Id. DHO Montgomery
informed Caudle that his silence would be used as a negative
inference against him. Id. at 28. During the
hearing, the DHO also considered the reporting officer's
written account of the incident and photocopies of the
documented evidence. Id. at 27. These documents
included "mail envelope information, a memorandum from
'B. Cooke, ' Case Manager, a letter to the Better
Business Bureau, the USMS prisoner tracking system, fax cover
sheet, a letter to Tammie A. Smith, a corporate specialist in
fraud solutions, a bank memo and a CFPB-portal complaint detail
submitted by the FCI Eikton SIS Department."
Id. at ¶ 12.
found that the greater weight of the evidence supported a
finding that Caudle committed "the prohibited act of
using of the mail to commit, or aid in the commission of a
crime or a greatest category prohibited act
(aiding/attempted)." Id. at 28. DHO Montgomery
sanctioned Caudle with 40 days disallowance of good conduct
time and 60 days of disciplinary segregation (suspended
pending 180 days of clear conduct). Id. Caudle was
subsequently criminally charged with mail fraud, presumably
on identical facts, in federal court in Ohio, pled guilty to
all three counts of mail fraud, and was sentenced to 41
months imprisonment. ECF No. 1. Caudle unsuccessfully
appealed the DHO decision at the Regional and Central Office
levels of the BOP. Id. at 40.
December 22, 2016, Caudle filed this action, seeking a writ
of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. ECF No.
1. Caudle claims that his Fifth Amendment and Due Process
rights were violated during his hearing. Specifically, Caudle
claims that the administrative hearing should have been
suspended while his parallel criminal charges for the same
conduct were pending. ECF No. I at 7. Furthermore, in his
Response to Respondent's Motion to Dismiss, Caudle argues
that his due process rights were also violated because his
staff representative did not meet with him before the
hearing. Id. at 5. He contends he would have
provided her "exculpatory evidence" that would have
"allowed her to argue on his behalf." Caudle
additionally claims that he was not allowed to have his
statements recorded by the DHO and that the DHO was biased
against him. Finally, he argues that there was no evidence to
support a finding of guilt as required under the law.
Id. In his Response, Caudle claims for the first
time that his equal protection rights were also violated. ECF
No. 7 at 1. He points to other instances involving BOP
inmates where the BOP suspended their investigation of the
inmates, pending criminal prosecution. Id. at
2-A. He therefore contends that he was treated
differently than other similarly situated individuals.
argues that Caudle received all the due process to which he
was entitled, that the DHO hearing was properly held once the
FBI released Caudle's case to them, and that Caudle's
staff attorney assisted him properly. ECF No. 5-1 at 6, 10.
Respondent contends that Caudle's equal protection claim
is not properly before the Court as it was first raised in
response to his summary judgment motion. ECF No. 8 at 2.
Alternatively, he argues that Caudle has failed to show that
any alleged unequal treatment was the result of intentional
discrimination or that he was part of a protected class.
Id. at 3. Respondent further argues that Caudle
cannot show that DHO Montgomery was biased against him or
relied on improper factors to find him guilty of committing
the prohibited act. Id. at 6.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
motion is styled as a Motion to Dismiss, or in the
Alternative, for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 5-1. If the Court
considers materials outside the pleadings, as the Court does
here, the Court must treat a motion to dismiss as one for
summary judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d). When the Court treats a
motion to dismiss as a motion for summary judgment,
"[a]tl parties must be given a reasonable opportunity to
present all the material that is pertinent to ...