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Truette v. Longley

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division

December 8, 2014



DAVID BRAMLETTE, District Judge.

This cause is before the Court on Magistrate Judge Michael T. Parker's Report and Recommendation of October 30, 2014 [docket entry no. 28]. Therein, Judge Parker recommends that the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus be denied and this action dismissed with prejudice. Also pending is Petitioner's, Gregory Dennis Truette, Motion for Extension of Time to File Objection [docket entry no. 29]. Having reviewed the Report and Recommendation, the petitioner's objections thereto, and applicable statutory and case law, the Court finds as follows:

I. Factual and Procedural Background

Petitioner Gregory Truette is currently incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution in Edgefield, South Carolina. When Truette filed his petition, he was incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Complex in Yazoo City, Mississippi. Truette is serving a 540 month sentence for convictions for "possession with intent to distribute and manufacture methamphetamine, possession of a firearm and destructive device during a drug trafficking offense, and possession of an unregistered destructive device." Report & Recommendation p. 1, ECF No. 28. While still imprisoned in Yazoo City, Truette was convicted in a disciplinary proceeding for possession of a weapon in his cell. His petition arises from this disciplinary proceeding.

Truette filed his petition under 28 U.S.C. Section 2241 and requests that this Court reinstate his good conduct time lost and reduce his sentence by ten days for every day he was deprived of his rights.

II. The Magistrate Judge's Findings

In his petition, Truette raised four grounds for relief which Judge Parker construed as six arguments:

(1) [Truette] was untimely served with an incident report in violation of due process and [Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP")] policy; (2) he received an untimely hearing in violation of due process and BOP policy; (3) the hearing violated his procedural due process rights; (4) his conviction was not supported by the evidence; (5) he is being held in restrictive confinement and designated to a Special Management Unit for no reason; and (6) his administrative remedy grievances have not been adequately addressed and remedied by BOP.

Report & Recommendation p. 4. Judge Parker quickly and correctly found that Truette's claims based on his conditions of confinement were inappropriate in a petition for habeas corpus. See Report & Recommendation p. 4-5 (citing Scrivens v. Pearson, No. 5:10cv81, 2010 WL 6332074, at *1 (S.D.Miss. Aug. 20, 2010)). Likewise, Judge Parker succinctly found Truette's claims based on the grievance process were unmeritorious because "prisoners do not have any constitutional right in having grievances resolved to their satisfaction." Report & Recommendation p. 8 (citing Geiger v. Jowers, 404 F.3d 371, 373-74 (5th Cir. 2005)).

Turning to Truette's claims based on due process violations, Judge Parker found that all four lacked merit. First, Judge Parker found that Truette had timely receipt of the incident report. Truette received the incident report thirty hours after the weapon was found in his cell, and although the Code of Federal Regulations states that a prisoner will "ordinarily receive" an incident report within twenty-four hours, "a prison official's failure to follow prison procedural rules does not, without more, give rise to a constitutional violation." Myers v. Klevenhagen, 97 F.3d 91, 94 (5th Cir. 1996); see also 28 C.F.R. § 541.5(a).

Second, Judge Parker found that Truette did receive timely notice of his disciplinary hearing. Because "[n]o time frame is given for the disciplinary hearing" in the Code of Federal Regulations, the prison need only provide "notice of the charges against him at least twenty-four (24) hours before the [] hearing." Report & Recommendation p. 5 (citing 28 C.F.R. § 541.8). Truette received notice of the hearing three days before it occurred.

Third, Judge Parker found that Truette's conviction at the disciplinary proceeding was supported by the evidence. The constitutional standard for a prison disciplinary conviction is "some evidence, " that is to say "there is any evidence in the record that could support the conclusion reached by the disciplinary board." Superintendent, Mass. Corr. Inst., Walpole v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 455-56 (1985). In Truette's case, "some evidence" included "the written statement of the BOP officer who discovered the weapon in the Incident Report, the BOP officer's testimony, photographs of the weapons and Truette's admission of guilt." Report & Recommendation p. 6. Judge Parker found this constitutionally sufficient.

Lastly, Judge Parker found that the hearing did not violate Truette's procedural due process rights. Although inmates are not entitled to the "full panoply of rights" normally attached to a criminal proceeding, to satisfy due process, they must receive:

(1) written notice of the claimed violation that enables the inmate to marshal the facts and prepare a defense [at least twenty-four hours in advance]; (2) an opportunity to call witnesses and present documentary evidence in his defense when permitting him to do so will not be unduly hazardous to institutional safety or correctional goals; and (3) a written ...

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