United States District Court, D. Maryland
RICHARD D. BENNETT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Brightwell, filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 challenging his confinement
at Patuxent Institution. ECF 1. Respondent seeks to dismiss
the Petition on the basis that Brightwell failed to exhaust
his claim in state court prior to instituting this case. ECF
6. Petitioner has replied. ECF 7. For the reasons to follow,
the Petition will be DENIED and DISMISSED without prejudice.
Brightwell, a State inmate, indicates that while incarcerated
at Eastern Correctional Institution (ECI) he filed a number
of administrative grievances which correctional staff
resented. ECF 1 at p. 8. On an unspecified date correctional
staff at ECI advised him that he was being removed from
disciplinary segregation. Id. at p. 9. Petitioner
advised the officers that another officer was aware of his
“situation” but they told him that officer was
not on duty. Id. Later, an officer returned with an
infraction for Petitioner to sign which he maintains was made
up of lies. Id. Petitioner claims that the
infraction was in retaliation for his having written the
administrative grievances. Id.
appeared for an adjustment hearing in early November of 2016,
where he reports that he refused to speak or participate in
the hearing because after years of explaining to hearing
officers and correctional staff his problems with double
celling and dormitory housing, it was clear to him that he
would get no assistance. Id. at p. 10. After the
hearing, he was sanctioned with disciplinary segregation
which he alleges was in retaliation for unspecified conduct.
Id. at p. 10.
December 16, 2016, Petitioner was evaluated by Dr. Kay of
ECI's mental health department who advised Petitioner
that if he did not speak with her she would have to place him
“in the place they put individuals for
evaluation.” Id. at p. 11. Petitioner advised
Dr. Kay that he was fine but if she placed him for evaluation
he would refuse to eat. Id. at p. 12. He refused to
say any more and was returned to his cell on disciplinary
December 28, 2016, Petitioner was referred to the Acute
Mental Health Unit and on January 13, 2017, he was
transferred to the Acute Mental Health Unit at Patuxent
Institution. Id., at p. 13. The referral described
him as “presenting with muteness, being uncooperative
with mental health evaluations, a history of paranoid
ideations, and difficulty with memory recall.”
Id. at p. 13.
disciplinary proceedings were reconvened on January 30, 2017,
and he was found guilty of the offenses charged, with the
Hearing Officer noting that Petitioner's “mental
health assessment indicated [he] was competent and is
competent to understand the hearing process..”
Id. at p. 13. Petitioner indicates that he again
refused to participate in the disciplinary proceeding.
states that despite his not being suicidal or homicidal he
was still being held in the mental health unit at Patuxent.
Id. at p. 13.
is serving a term of confinement in the Division of
Correction which has a maximum expiration date of January 6,
2047 and a mandatory release date of February 23, 2038. ECF
6-Ex. 1. Petitioner has not filed a petition for writ of
habeas corpus in any State circuit court. ECF 1.
Assuming Petitioner 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, Petitioner 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 § 10-209(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).
Petitioner 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 ...