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Muhammad v. Coakley

United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia

January 28, 2019

ABDUL MUHAMMAD, Petitioner,
v.
JOE COAKLEY, Complex Warden, Respondent.

          Stamp Judge

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          JAMES P. MAZZONE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. Procedural Background

         On May 23, 2017, the pro se Petitioner, Abdul Muhammad, filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (“Petition”) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. ECF No. 1. The Petitioner challenges the way the Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) calculated his sentence, and seeks prior custody credit from March 21, 2011, until August 19, 2014. In addition, the Petitioner requests that he be transferred from USP Hazelton to a medium security prison.

         On June 30, 2017, the Petitioner paid the $5 filing fee. ECF No. 14. On August 16, 2017, following a preliminary review, which determined that summary dismissal was not appropriate, the Respondent was ordered to show cause why the Petition should not be granted. ECF No. 15. On October 14, 2017, the Respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative for Summary Judgment, together with a supporting memorandum of law and exhibits. ECF Nos. 20-21. On October 5, 2017, a Roseboro notice was issued. ECF No.24. On November 27, 2017, the Petitioner filed a Response in opposition. ECF No. 29. On December 11, 2017, the Respondent filed a Reply [ECF No. 30], and on December 20, 2017, the Petitioner filed an additional Response. ECF No. 31. On September 18, 2018, this matter was stayed, and the Respondent was directed to take further action. ECF No. 38. On December 19, 2018, the Respondent filed a second Motion to Dismiss or in the alternative for Summary Judgment with a brief memorandum in support and exhibits. ECF No. 42-43. On December 21, 2018, an Order was entered lifting the stay. ECF No. 44. On December 26, 2018, a second Roseboro Notice was issued. To date, the Petitioner has not responded.

         II. Legal Standard

         A. Motion to Dismiss

         “A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the sufficiency of a complaint; importantly, it does not resolve contests surrounding facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of defenses.” Republican Party of N.C. v. Martin, 980 F.2d 943, 952 (4th Cir. 1992) (citing 5A Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1356 (1990)). In considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, a plaintiff's well-pleaded allegations are taken as true and the complaint is viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Mylan Labs, Inc. v. Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993); see also Martin, 980 F.2d at 952.

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require “only ‘a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,' in order to ‘give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). Courts long have cited the “rule that a complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of [a] claim which would entitle him to relief.” Conley, 355 U.S. at 45-46. In Twombly, the United States Supreme Court noted that a complaint need not assert “detailed factual allegations, ” but must contain more than “labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citations omitted). Thus, the “[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, ” id. (citations omitted), to one that is “plausible on its face, ” id. at 570, rather than merely “conceivable.” Id. Therefore, in order for a complaint to survive dismissal for failure to state a claim, the plaintiff must “allege facts sufficient to state all the elements of [his or] her claim.” Bass v. E.I.DuPont de Nemours & Co., 324 F.3d 761, 765 (4th Cir. 2003) (citing Dickson v. Microsoft Corp., 309 F.3d 193, 213 (4th Cir. 2002); Iodice v. United States, 289 F.3d 279, 281 (4th Cir. 2002)). In so doing, the complaint must meet a “plausibility” standard, instituted by the Supreme Court in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, where it held that “a claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Thus, a well-pleaded complaint must offer more than “a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully” in order to meet the plausibility standard and survive dismissal for failure to state a claim. Id.

         B. Motion for Summary Judgment

         The Supreme Court has recognized the appropriateness of summary judgment motions pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in habeas cases. See Blackledge v. Allison, 431 U.S. 63, 80 (1977); see also Maynard v. Dixon, 943 F.2d 407 (4th Cir. 1991). Summary judgment is appropriate “if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); United States v. Lee, 943 F.2d 366, 368 (4th Cir. 1991).

         Motions for summary judgment impose a difficult standard on the moving party because it must be obvious that no rational trier of fact could find for the nonmoving party. Miller v. FDIC, 906 F.2d 972, 974 (4th Cir. 1990). However, the “mere existence of a scintilla of evidence” favoring the nonmoving party will not prevent the entry of summary judgment. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242 (1986). Any permissible inferences to be drawn from the underlying facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587-88 (1986). Where, however, the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party, disposition by summary judgment is appropriate. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248-49.

         III. Factual History

         On April 22, 2010, the Petitioner was arrested in New Jersey by the Newark Police Department on indictment numbers 10-07-01651-I and 10-07-01604-I, which were unrelated to any federal offense. ECF No. 21-1 at 1, ¶ 2. On February 3, 2011, the Petitioner was released on his own recognizance. Id. After being released on his own recognizance, the Petitioner was arrested in New Jersey on March 21, 2011, by the Newark Police Department for Robbery, Bail Jumping, Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purpose, Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, and Leader of Organized Crime, which were related to the federal offense for which he is now incarcerated. Id., ¶ 3. In addition, he was arrested on warrants for indictments numbers: 10-07-01651 and 10-07-01604. Id. This arrest established primary jurisdiction by the State of New Jersey.

         On August 8, 2011, the New Jersey Superior Court, Essex County, dismissed the charges for Robbery, Bail Jumping, Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purpose, Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, and Leader of Organized Crime. However, the Petitioner remained in custody because of the pending state indictments 10-07-01651 and 10-07-01604.

         On August 15, 2011, while in state custody, the Petitioner was borrowed pursuant to a Federal Writ of Habeas Corpus Ad Prosequendum from the State of New Jersey. ECF No. 21-1 at 20.[1] On October 6, 2011, while still on writ, the New Jersey Superior Court, Union County, charged the Petitioner with Robbery with Bodily Injury, Aggravated Assault with Serious Bodily Injury, Aggravated Assault-Bodily Injury, Possession of a Firearm for Unlawful Purpose, and Possession of a Weapon. ECF No. 22-1 at 20.

         On September 26, 2012, the Petitioner was sentenced in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey to a total of 228 months imprisonment for Interference with Commerce by Threat of Violence (counts 1, 2, & 3) and Knowing Possess Firearms used in Violent Crime (count 4). The court ordered 108 months on counts 1, 2, & 3 to run concurrently, and 120 months on Count 4 to run consecutively to counts 1, 2, & 3. The judgment was silent regarding any relationship with the forthcoming action in state court. ECF No. 21-1 at 22. Based ...


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