United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
KAREN K. CALDWELL, Chief District Judge.
Petitioner Anthony Leon Carroll is an inmate currently confined in the Federal Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Proceeding pro se, Carroll has filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 [R. 1] and has paid the $5.00 filing fee. [R. 2] Carroll's petition concerns his conviction of a prison disciplinary offense for which he was charged on or about September 26, 2012, while he was confined at the Federal Correctional Institution-Edgefield ("FCI-Edgefield") located in Edgefield, South Carolina. Carroll maintains that he was innocent of the charged offense, that there was insufficient evidence to support the conviction, and that his conviction resulted in a violation of his constitutional right to equal protection. Carroll seeks the following relief: (1) a court order (a) expunging his disciplinary conviction and reversing the sanctions imposed, and (b) directing the BOP to restore his forfeited good time credits and all other privileges, and to return him to a prison camp. Carroll also requests injunctive relief from retaliation for having filed this petition in the exercise of his right of access to the court.
The Court conducts a preliminary review of habeas corpus petitions. 28 U.S.C. § 2243; Alexander v. Northern Bureau of Prisons, 419 F.Appx. 544, 545 (6th Cir. 2011). Because the petitioner is not represented by an attorney, the petition is reviewed under a more lenient standard. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); Burton v. Jones, 321 F.3d 569, 573 (6th Cir. 2003). At this stage the Court accepts the petitioner's factual allegations as true and his legal claims are liberally construed in his favor. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007). Once that review is complete, the Court may deny habeas relief "if it plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief." Rule 4 of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts (applicable to Section 2241 petitions pursuant to Rule 1(b)). Otherwise, the Court may resolve the petition as law and justice require. Hilton v. Braunskill, 481 U.S. 770, 775 (1987).
The Court has reviewed the record. Because there is no documentation whatsoever accompanying Carroll's petition, such as the BOP's records of (1) the incident report, (2) Carroll's appearance before the Uniform Disciplinary Committee ("UDC"), (3) the report of the Disciplinary Hearing Officer ("DHO"), and (4) Carroll's appeal of his conviction through the Bureau of Prisons' ("BOP") Administrative Remedy process,  there is insufficient information of record to enable the Court to properly evaluate his petition. For these reasons, as more fully explained below, the Warden will be directed to respond to Carroll's habeas petition.
In September of 2012, while Carroll was confined in the camp at FCI-Edgefield, prison officials conducted a mass search of the camp cells. A prison official found contraband in Carroll's cell, 205L in D-2 Unit, a cell he occupied with another inmate. More particularly, the charging officer reported that he discovered two cell phone chargers and thirteen individual cigarettes in several pairs of socks rolled-up inside of a laundry bag that was identified as Carroll's property and that there were other clothing items in the laundry bag that were marked with the name "CARROLL." The contraband was confiscated, and Carroll was charged with possession of contraband. Carroll states he was initially charged with violation of Code Nos. 331 and 305, but that the code 305 violation was later changed to a code 108 violation. [R. 1-1]
It is unclear when Carroll appeared before the UDC, but he states that the DHO hearing was held on October 4, 2012. Carroll states that he had requested that counselor D. Watkins represent him at the DHO hearing, but that D. Watkins was not present at the hearing. Carroll states that the DHO report indicates that the code 305 violation was changed to a code 105 violation. Although Carroll denied that any of the contraband found in his laundry bag belonged to him, the DHO found him guilty of these offenses and imposed the following penalties: 30 days of Disciplinary Segregation; disallowance of 41 days Good Conduct Time; one-year loss of visitation, commissary, telephone, and e-mail privileges.
Carroll states that he appealed his conviction in Administrative Remedy No. 723390-R1, that his appeal was denied, that he then appealed to the BOP's Central Office, that the response was due by August 3, 2013, and that the Central Office failed to respond to his appeal. Assuming the truthfulness of Carroll's statements, he has exhausted his administrative remedies.
In summary, given the lack of any documentation concerning Carroll's disciplinary conviction and administrative remedy process, a response from the Warden is warranted.
Accordingly, it is ORDERED as follows:
1. The respondent Warden is directed to file a response to Carroll's claim that his constitutional rights were violated by his conviction of prison offenses charged against him while confined at FCI-Edgefield in October of 2012.
2. The Clerk of the Court shall prepare the documents necessary for service of process upon Carroll's custodian, Francisco Quintana, Warden, Federal Medical Center, Lexington, Kentucky.
3. The Clerk of the Court shall prepare a "Service Packet" consisting of the following documents for service of process ...