United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Beckley Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. BERGEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Court has reviewed the Petitioner's November 8, 2017
Application Under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 for Writ of
Habeas Corpus By a Person in State or Federal Custody
(Document 1), wherein the Petitioner asserts that the Bureau
of Prisons improperly revoked good time credit as a result of
disciplinary proceedings conducted in violation of his due
Standing Order (Document 3) entered on November 13,
2017, this action was referred to the Honorable Cheryl A.
Eifert, 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 May 15,
2019, the Magistrate Judge submitted a Proposed Findings
and Recommendations (PF&R) (Document 25), wherein it
is recommended that the Court deny the Petitioner's
petition for a writ of habeas corpus, deny the
Petitioner's motion for demand for judgment relief, and
grant the Respondent's motion to dismiss and remove this
matter from the Court's docket. The Petitioner's
Response to Proposed Findings and Recommendation
(Document 28) was filed on June 17, 2019. For the reasons
stated herein, the Court finds that the Petitioner's
objections should be overruled, the Magistrate Judge's
PF&R adopted, and this matter dismissed.
BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
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
Petitioner asserts that he lost good time credit and other
privileges as a result of an incident report accusing him of
using narcotics in violation of Bureau of Prison (BOP)
regulations. He contends that he was transported to the
hospital after experiencing seizures on January 26, 2016. He
asserts that laboratory results ultimately established that
his urine sample was free from drugs. The Petitioner asserts
that the BOP failed to provide him with a copy of the
“confirmatory” laboratory report mandated by the
BOP's program statement and the law in cases of alleged
drug use by inmates. Despite failing to provide such
documentation, he alleges that the Discipline Hearing Officer
found him guilty of the incident and severely sanctioned him.
Petitioner challenged the incident report through the
administrative remedy process. The Respondent agrees that
Minton has appealed the disciplinary action in accordance
with the BOP administrative appellate procedures and has
successfully exhausted his claim. On April 3, 2019, the
Respondent submitted a motion to stay and motion to dismiss
the petition, noting that the Petitioner's claim was
remanded for a disciplinary re-hearing at the institution.
The Magistrate Judge's PF&R found that the
Petitioner's § 2241 petition was rendered moot due
to the remand at the institutional level. On June 17, 2019,
the Petitioner filed objections to the Magistrate Judge's
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).
PF&R outlines the BOP's administrative remedy process
and the case law requiring exhaustion of administrative
remedies prior to seeking habeas relief under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241. The PF&R notes that the Petitioner
challenged the Discipline Hearing Officer's decision
regarding the incident report, the Petitioner appealed
administratively, and the Respondent reported that the case
was remanded for a rehearing regarding the incident report,
which had yet to occur. The Magistrate Judge concluded that
because the BOP granted a rehearing of the challenged
incident report, the Petitioner's Section 2241 Petition
was rendered moot. Therefore, she recommends that the
Petitioner's §2241 Petition be dismissed as moot.
Petitioner objects, arguing that at the rehearing the
Discipline Hearing Officer did not consider all of the
evidence and refused to modify or dismiss the earlier action.
The Petitioner asserts that the he has proven factual
innocence. The Court notes that the basis for the
Petitioner's objections appear to be disagreement with
the results of the rehearing, rather than disagreement with
the procedures that were afforded during the rehearing.
exhaustion allows prison officials an opportunity to resolve
disputes concerning the exercise of their responsibilities
before being hauled into court.” Jones v.
Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 204 (2007). Within the
administrative remedy process, complaints about an initial
hearing are rendered moot by a rehearing. Rojas v.
Driver, No. CIV. A. 5:06CV88, 2007 WL 2789471, at *3
(N.D. W.Va. Sept. 24, 2007), aff'd, 267
Fed.Appx. 302 (4th Cir. 2008). The remedy for a hearing that
denied an inmate procedural safeguards is a hearing that
complies with all due process requirements.
the Petitioner succeeded in obtaining a rehearing regarding
the challenged incident report. The decision to remand for a
rehearing sent the issue back to the institution to conduct a
hearing in compliance with the applicable procedural
safeguards, as is contemplated by the rules requiring
exhaustion of administrative remedies. That decision renders
moot this challenge to the initial hearing ...