United States District Court, D. Maryland
RICHARD D. BENNETT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Simmers, filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant
to 28 U.S.C § 2241 challenging his confinement at the
Patuxent Institution. ECF 1. Respondent moves to dismiss the
Petition on the basis that Simmers failed to exhaust his
claim in state court prior to instituting this
case. ECF 9. For the reasons to follow, the
Petition will be DENIED and DISMISSED without prejudice.
a State inmate, indicates that at his state court sentencing
hearing, the judge directed he be sent to Patuxent for
"alternative to intense drug rehabilitation, [which] is
called the R.D.T.C. program." ECF 4 at 7. Simmers states
that the R.D.T.C. drug program at Patuxent has been suspended
for over a year and a half. He complains that he is not
enrolled in any programs at Patuxent. Id. Simmers
claims that if you are not enrolled in a program at Patuxent
you are to be immediately sent to another facility. He states
that he would like to be sent to Jessup Correctional
Institution or a facility in Hagerstown, Maryland.
Id. He also states that he was advised by case
management that he was put on a transfer list. Id.
is serving a term of confinement in the Division of
Correction which commenced on July 15, 2015, and ends on July
15, 2034, based upon a 20 year sentence for first degree
assault imposed by the Circuit Court for Frederick County.
ECF 9-1. Maryland inmates may earn diminution of confinement
credits to reduce the length of their incarceration. Md. Code
Ann., Corr. Servs. §§ 3-701-711. As of the filing
of the Response to the Petition, Petitioner has been allowed
a total of 1, 059 diminution of confinement credits. ECF 9-2.
Subtracting the credits from his maximum expiration date of
his term of confinement (July 15, 2034) provides an
anticipated mandatory supervision release date of August 21,
has not filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in any
State circuit court. ECF 9-3
of a state law which does not infringe upon a specific
constitutional right is cognizable in federal habeas corpus
proceedings only if it amounts to a "fundamental defect
which inherently results in a complete miscarriage of
justice." Hailey v. Dorsey, 580 F.2d 112, 115
(4th Cir. 1978) (quoting Hill v. United States, 368
U.S. 424, 428 (1962)). Sentence and diminution credit
calculation disputes generally are issues of state law and do
not give rise to a federal question. See Estelle v.
McGuire, 502 U.S. 62, 67-68 (1991); Pringle v.
Beto, 424 F.2d 515, 516 (5th Cir. 1970); see also
McCray v. Rosenblatt, 1994 WL 320212 (4th Cir. July 6,
1994) (per curiam) (unpublished). If a "claim . . .
rests solely upon an interpretation of [state] case law and
statutes, it is simply not cognizable on federal habeas
review." Wright v. Angelone, 151 F.3d 151, 157
(4th Cir. 1998); see also Smith v. Moore,
137 F.3d 808, 822 (4th Cir. 1998) (refusing to entertain
claim that jury instruction misstated South Carolina law).
Simmers has presented a federal question here, his Petition
is subject to the exhaustion requirement of 28 U.S.C. §
2254(b), which applies to petitions filed pursuant to 28
U.S.C. §2241. See Francis v. Henderson, 425
U.S. 536, 538 (1976) ("This Court has long recognized
that in some circumstances considerations of comity and
concerns for the orderly administration of criminal justice
require a federal court to forgo the exercise of its habeas
corpus power."); see also Timms v. Johns, 627
F.3d 525, 531 (4th Cir. 2010) (applying exhaustion
requirements to § 2241 petition challenging civil
commitment). Thus, before seeking federal habeas corpus
relief, Simmers must exhaust each claim presented by pursuing
remedies available in state court. See Rose v.
Lundy, 455 U.S. 509, 521 (1982). Each claim must be
fairly presented to the state courts; this means presenting
both the operative facts and controlling legal principles.
See Baker v. Corcoran, 220 F.3d 276, 289
(4th Cir. 2000) (citations omitted). Exhaustion
includes appellate review in the Maryland Court of Special
Appeals and where appropriate the Maryland Court of Appeals.
See Granberry v. Greer, 481 U.S. 129, 134-35 (1987).
The state courts must be afforded the first opportunity to
review federal constitutional challenges to state convictions
in order to preserve the role of the state courts in
protecting federally guaranteed rights. See Preiser v.
Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 491 (1973).
may challenge the calculation of his term of confinement by
pursuing both administrative and judicial remedies. He may
file a grievance with the Inmate Grievance Office
("IGO"). See generally Adamson v. Correctional
Medical Services, Inc., 753 A.2d 501 (Md. 2000); Md.
Code Ann., Corr. Servs. § 10-206(a). If the grievance is
not found wholly lacking in merit on its face, it is referred
to the Office of Administrative Hearings ("OAH")
for a hearing before an administrative law judge.
Id. at § 10-207(c). An order of the OAH finding
that an inmate's complaint is lacking in merit
constitutes the final decision of the Secretary of Public
Safety and Correctional Services ("Secretary") for
purposes of judicial review. Id. at §
10-2O9(b)(1)(ii). If the OAH finds that the grievance is
meritorious, an order is forwarded to the Secretary. The
Secretary may affirm, reverse, or modify the order of the
OAH. Id. at § 10-209(c).
appeal of the Secretary's decision lies with the
"circuit court of the county in which the complainant is
confined." Id. at § 10-210(b)(2). Adams
may thereafter seek review in the Maryland Court of Special
Appeals by application for leave to appeal, id. at
§ 10-210(c)(2), and, if the Maryland Court of Special
Appeals grants the application for leave to appeal but denies
relief on the merits, he may then seek review in the Maryland
Court of Appeals by petition for writ of certiorari. See
Williams v. State, 438 A.2d 1301 (Md. 1981); Md. Code
Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 12-202.
a prisoner who "alleges entitlement to immediate release
and makes a colorable claim that he or she has served the
entire sentence less any mandatory [diminution] credits"
may seek relief directly from Maryland courts by petition for
a writ of habeas corpus. See Maryland House of Correction
v. Fields, 703 A.2d 167, 175 (Md. 1997)(abrogated on
other grounds by Moats v. Scott, 751 A.2d 462 (Md.
2000). The inmate may appeal a circuit court's decision
denying habeas corpus relief to the Maryland Court of Special
Appeals, and may thereafter seek certiorari in the
Maryland Court of Appeals. See generally Stouffer v.
Pearson, 887 A.2d 623 (Md. 2005); Stouffer v.
Staton, 833 A.2d 33 (Md. 2003); Jones v.
Filbert, 843 A.2d 908 (Md.App. 2004).
is no indication that Simmers has made any effort to exhaust
his administrative remedies. This Court may not entertain the
issues presented in the Petition while the Maryland courts
have not had the opportunity to fully review the claims
the habeas corpus relief requested shall be denied without
prejudice and dismissed as ...