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Hampton v. Ives

United States District Court, D. Oregon

January 16, 2018

BRYAN A. HAMPTON, Petitioner,


          Thoams Coffin United States Magistrate Judge.

         Petitioner, an inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Sheridan, Oregon brings a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Petitioner argues that the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) violated his statutory and due process rights by denying him eligibility for early release. For the reasons explained below, this Court lacks jurisdiction to review the BOP's decision and the case should be dismissed.


         Petitioner is currently incarcerated pursuant to a 190-month sentence imposed after his convictions for attempted interference with commerce by robbery and use of a firearm during a crime of violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951 and § 924(c)(1)(A)(iii). Pet. at 1 (ECF No. 1). The sentencing court recommended that petitioner participate in the Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP). Generally, participants who complete the RDAP may be eligible for a sentence reduction of up to one year. 18 U.S.C. § 3621(e)(2)(B).

         After sentencing, petitioner alleges that he was mistakenly sent to a Louisiana correctional facility and was not returned to federal custody until August 2010. Pet. at 2. When petitioner sought to enroll in RDAP, he was informed that he was ineligible for a reduction in sentence because his conviction qualified as a crime of violence under 28 C.F.R. § 55O.55(b)(5)(iii). Pet. at 2.

         On July 7, 2017, petitioner filed the instant petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (ECF No. 1). Petitioner seeks judicial review of BOP's early release determination and an order declaring him eligible for early release upon successful completion of RDAP. Pet. at 6.


         The BOP created the RDAP in response to a congressional directive "to create programs to treat substance abuse among inmates." Peck v. Thomas, 697 F.3d 767, 770 (9th Cir. 2012). "RDAP is an intensive drug treatment program for federal inmates with documented substance abuse problems... .Treatment is conducted in a unit set apart from the general prison population and is followed by institutional and/or community-based transitional programs." Reeb v. Thomas, 636 F.3d 1224, 1225 (9th Cir. 2011) (citations omitted); see also 28 C.F.R. § 550.53 (describing components and criteria of the RDAP). To encourage participation in substance abuse programs such as the RDAP, a prisoner convicted of a nonviolent offense "may be" eligible for a reduction in sentence of up to one year after successfully completing a treatment program. 18 U.S.C. § 3621(e)(2)(B); Peck, 697 F.3d at 770.

         Ultimately, it is within BOP's discretion to determine eligibility for RDAP and whether to "grant or deny eligible prisoners sentence reductions upon successful completion" of the RDAP. Reeb, 636 F.3d at 1226. Relevant BOP regulations provide that an inmate is ineligible for early release under the RDAP if the inmate has a "current felony conviction" for an "offense that involved the carrying, possession, or use of a firearm or other dangerous weapon" or an offense that presented a "serious potential risk of physical force." 28 C.F.R. § 55O.55(b)(5)(ii), (iii).

         According to petitioner, the BOP found him ineligible for early release under the RDAP because his offense of conviction was a crime of violence. Petitioner contends that his offense - "Hobbs Act robbery" - is not a crime of violence. Pet. at 3.[1] In other words, petitioner challenges the BOP's individualized decision that he is not eligible for early release. In Reeb, the Ninth Circuit held that a district court lacked jurisdiction to review this exact claim. It explained:

The BOP has authority to manage inmate drug treatment programs, including RDAP, by virtue of 18 U.S.C. § 3621. To find that prisoners can bring habeas petitions under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 to challenge the BOP's discretionary determinations made pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3621 would be inconsistent with the language of 18 U.S.C. § 3625. Accordingly, any substantive decision by the BOP to admit a particular prisoner into RDAP, or to grant or deny a sentence reduction for completion of the program, is not reviewable by the district court.

Reeb, 636 F.3d at 1227 (emphasis added). "Although judicial review remains available for allegations that BOP action is contrary to established federal law, violates the United States Constitution, or exceeds its statutory authority, " petitioner here "alleges only that the BOP erred in his particular case." Id. at 1228 (footnote omitted). As a result, this Court lacks jurisdiction to review petitioner's claim that the BOP erroneously deemed him ineligible for early release.

         Petitioner nonetheless maintains that the Ninth Circuit's decision in Arrington v. Daniels, 516 F.3d 1106 (9th Cir. 2008) supports his claim. In Arrington, the Ninth Circuit invalidated former 28 C.F.R. § 55O.55(b)(5)(ii) categorically excluding prisoners from early release if their convictions involved firearms, finding that the BOP failed to articulate a rational basis for the regulation. 516 F.3d at 1113-14. The BOP subsequently replaced the invalidated regulation, and in Peck the Ninth Circuit upheld the current version of 28 C.F.R. § 55O.55(b)(5)(ii). Peck, 697 F.3d at 772-73. Consequently, Arrington applies only to "inmates housed in the Ninth Circuit and notified of their eligibility to participate in RDAP prior to March 16, 2009, or to those who had completed RDAP while housed in the Ninth Circuit prior to March 16, 2009." Patton v. Feather, No. 3:13-cv-01308-AC, 2014 WL 3756132 at *3 (D. Or. July 29, 2014) (citation omitted).

         By his own admission, petitioner was not housed in the Ninth Circuit and did not become eligible for RDAP until after March 16, 2009. Petitioner maintains that he was mistakenly housed in a Louisiana correctional facility until 2010 and unable to obtain RDAP eligibility before March 16, 2009 through no fault of his own, and BOP should find him eligible for RDAP. However, the BOP considered this argument and declined to make an exception to the deadlines requirement. Vickers Decl. at Att. 2-3. Therefore, Arrington does not apply, and this Court has no ...

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