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Mauldin v. D.L. Young

United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Beckley Division

January 16, 2019

ALFRED LEE MAULDIN, Petitioner,
v.
D. L. YOUNG, Warden, FCI Beckley, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          IRENE C. BERGER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         On April 12, 2017, in Civil Action 5:17-cv-02312, the Petitioner, proceeding pro se, filed a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus Under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (Document 3 therein). By Standing Order (Document 4) entered on April 13, 2017, the action was referred to the Honorable Dwane L. Tinsley, United States Magistrate Judge, for submission to this Court of proposed findings of fact and recommendation for disposition, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636.

         Subsequently, on May 1, 2017, in Civil Action 5:17-cv-02626, the Petitioner, proceeding pro se, filed a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus Under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (Document 1 therein). By Standing Order (Document 3) entered on that date, the action was referred to the Honorable Dwane L. Tinsley, United States Magistrate Judge, for submission to this Court of proposed findings of fact and recommendation for disposition, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636.

         On March 27, 2018, the Magistrate Judge submitted a consolidated Proposed Findings and Recommendation (PF&R) (Document 25 in Civil Action 5:17-cv-02312; Document 23 in Civil Action 5:17-cv-02626) wherein it is recommended that this Court: consolidate Civil Action 5:17-cv-02312 and Civil Action 5:17-cv-02626; dismiss for lack of jurisdiction all claims other than the Petitioner's claim concerning the calculation and application of his Earned Statutory Good Conduct Time (ESGCT); and leave this matter referred to the Magistrate Judge for additional proceedings concerning the ESGCT claim.

         Objections to the Magistrate Judge's PF&R were due by April 13, 2018, and none were timely filed by either party. Therefore, the Court entered a Memorandum Opinion and Order (Document 30) adopting the PF&R. On May 21, 2018, the Petitioner filed a Motion Requesting to File Delayed Response from the Memorandum Opinion and Order Dated 04/30/2018; and the Delayed Response from the Proposed Findings and Recommendation Dated 03/27/2018, With Request for Appointment of Counsel/Co-Counsel (Document 34). On July 16, 2018, the Petitioner filed a Motion for Administrative Hearing, With Motion for Summary Judgment (Document 41). In both documents, the Petitioner contends that he did not receive the PF&R or the Court's opinion adopting the PF&R until May 11 and May 15, 2018, seeks to file objections to the PF&R out of time, and sets forth the basis of his objections.

         The Court finds it appropriate to address the Petitioner's untimely objections in light of his statement that he did not receive the PF&R promptly. The Court will therefore vacate the opinion adopting the PF&R without objection (Document 30) and consider Documents 34 and 41 as Petitioner's objections to the PF&R. For the reasons stated herein, however, following consideration of the Petitioner's objections, the Court concludes that the PF&R should be adopted and the objections overruled.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         The Magistrate Judge's PF&R sets forth the factual and procedural background of this case in detail. The Court hereby incorporates those factual findings, but to provide context for the ruling contained herein, provides the following summary.

         The Petitioner was convicted of three felony drug and firearm offenses following a jury trial in 1995. He was sentenced to 322 months of imprisonment. After an unsuccessful direct appeal, he filed numerous motions or petitions for post-conviction relief, in both the Middle District of Tennessee, where he was convicted and sentenced, and in other courts.

         The Petitioner filed two petitions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §2241, both asserting challenges to his arrest, conviction, and sentence, as well as an asserted effort by the Bureau of Prisons to conceal the alleged unlawful circumstances surrounding his arrest and conviction. In addition, he challenges the calculation of Earned Statutory Good Conduct Time (ESGCT). The Magistrate Judge recommends consolidating the two cases, and the Court will address them jointly.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         This Court “shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). However, the Court is not required to review, under a de novo or any other standard, the factual or legal conclusions of the magistrate judge as to those portions of the findings or recommendation to which no objections are addressed. Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 150 (1985). In addition, this Court need not conduct a de novo review when a party “makes general and conclusory objections that do not direct the Court to a specific error in the magistrate's proposed findings and recommendations.” Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir.1982). When reviewing portions of the PF&R de novo, the Court will consider the fact that Plaintiff is acting pro se, and his pleadings will be accorded liberal construction. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976); Loe v. Armistead, 582 F.2d 1291, 1295 (4th Cir.1978).

         DISCUSSION

         The Magistrate Judge recommends that the ESGCT claim be re-referred for further proceedings, and the remaining claims be dismissed.[1] He explains that challenges to the validity of a conviction and sentence generally cannot be brought in a § 2241 petition but must instead be brought in a motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2255 filed in the court of conviction. The Magistrate Judge analyzed the case law related to the “savings clause” permitting certain challenges to convictions and sentences under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 and concluded that the Petitioner's claims could be considered only under § 2255, as the Petitioner ...


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