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Hockett v. United States

United States District Court, D. Oregon

June 10, 2019

JOHN GUY HOCKETT, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, et al., Respondents.

          John Guy Hockett GEO-Taylor Street Center Petitioner, Pro Se

          Billy J. Williams United States Attorney Attorneys for Respondent

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION

          PATRICIA SULLIVAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Petitioner brings this habeas corpus case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 challenging the computation of his federal sentence. Because Petitioner has not exhausted his administrative remedies, the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (#1) should be dismissed.

         BACKGROUND

         On October 2, 2014, the District Court for the Northern District of Texas sentenced Petitioner to 84 months in prison following his conviction for Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana. Based upon this sentence, the Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) currently calculates Petitioner's projected release date to be July 8, 2019. Declaration of Jennifer Vickers (#10), p. 2.

         On January 11, 2019, Petitioner filed this habeas corpus case wherein he alleges that the First Step Act of 2018 compels his immediate release, and requires the BOP to credit him with 24 months of “over-served time applied now to his probation time of 3 years, for credit for his time served in prison.” Petition (#1), p. 3. Respondent asks the Court to deny relief on the Petition because: (1) Petitioner failed to exhaust his administrative remedies; and (2) even if Petitioner had exhausted his available remedies, the First Step Act is not due to be implemented until July 19, 2019, therefore Petitioner is not entitled to any recalculation of his sentence at this time. Although Petitioner's supporting memorandum was due on May 6, 2019, he has not filed any such document with the Court or otherwise rebutted the Government's arguments.

         DISCUSSION

         “In order to seek habeas relief under section 2241 . . . a petitioner must first, ‘as a prudential matter,' exhaust his or her available administrative remedies.” Singh v. Napolitano, 649 F.3d 899, 900 (9th Cir. 2010) (per curiam). Requiring a petitioner to exhaust his administrative remedies aids "judicial review by allowing the appropriate development of a factual record in an expert forum." Ruviwat v. Smith, 701 F.2d 844, 845 (9th Cir. 1983). Use of available administrative remedies conserves "the court's time because of the possibility that the relief applied for may be granted at the administrative level." Id. Moreover, it allows "the administrative agency an opportunity to correct errors occurring in the course of administrative proceedings." Id; United Farm Workers v. Arizona Agric. Employ. Relations Bd., 669 F.2d 1249, 1253 (9th Cir. 1982).

         "Exhaustion of administrative remedies is not required where the remedies are inadequate, inefficacious, or futile, where pursuit of them would irreparably injure the plaintiff, or where the administrative proceedings themselves are void." United Farm Workers, 669 F.2d at 1253 (citation omitted); see also Fraley v. United States Bureau of Prisons, 1 F.3d 924, 925 (9th Cir. 1993) (exhaustion waived where request for administrative remedy initially denied by Community Corrections Office based upon official BOP policy and further appeal would almost certainly have been denied based upon the same policy). Courts should not, however, relax the exhaustion requirement where it “would encourage the deliberate bypass of the administrative scheme.” Laing v. Ashcroft, 370 F.3d 994, 1000 (9th Cir. 2004).

         With respect to the mechanics of exhaustion applicable to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 habeas petitioners, the BOP maintains an administrative review process for prisoners that begins with an informal grievance, or BP-8. If an inmate does not achieve satisfactory results from that informal process, he may file a formal complaint with the warden using a BP-9 form. If the BP-9 is unsuccessful, the prisoner can file a Regional Administrative Remedy Appeal (BP-10). Finally, if the BP-10 does not afford Petitioner relief he finds to be satisfactory, he can file a Central Office Administrative Remedy Appeal (BP-11). See 28 C.F.R. §§ 542.13-542.15. If the BOP denies relief on the BP-11, the inmate has exhausted his administrative remedies and may file for judicial relief.

         Petitioner claims that he asked for immediate release by way of a BP-8, but he took no further administrative action. It is therefore apparent that Petitioner did not exhaust his administrative remedies. He does not explain why he should be excused from the exhaustion requirement, and asserts only that he should not have to remain incarcerated during the administrative review process. Petition (#2), p. 4. Not only does this statement fail to identify why Petitioner should be excused from the exhaustion requirement, but there is no authority for the proposition that federal prisoners are excused from serving their sentences while they exhaust their administrative remedies. Because there is no valid basis to excuse Petitioner's failure to exhaust his administrative remedies, the Court should dismiss the Petition for lack of exhaustion.[1]

         RECOMMENDATION

         For the reasons identified above, the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (#1) should be dismissed for lack of exhaustion, and the Court should issue a judgment dismissing this case without prejudice. The Court should also decline to issue a Certificate of Appealability on the basis that Petitioner has not made a ...


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