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Huang v. Mansukhani

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division

November 15, 2016

Kexue Huang, Petitioner,
A. Mahsukhani, Warden, Respondent.


          Bruce Howe Hendricks United States District Judge

         This matter is before the Court upon Petitioner Kexue Huang's pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. On July 5, 2016, Respondent filed a motion to dismiss, or in the alternative, for summary judgment, to which Petitioner responded. In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(d) (D.S.C.), the matter was referred to a United States Magistrate Judge for initial review. On August 25, 2016, Magistrate Judge Thomas E. Rogers, III, filed a Report and Recommendation (“Report”) outlining the issues and recommending that the Court grant Respondent's motion for summary judgment.[1] Attached to the Report was a notice advising the parties of the right to file written objections to the Report within 14 days of receiving a copy. On September 9, 2016, Petitioner filed objections, and the matter is ripe for review.


         Petitioner is currently incarcerated at the Federal Corrections Institution (“FCI”) in Estill, South Carolina. At all times relevant to the allegations in his petition, Petitioner was incarcerated at the McRae Correctional Facility (“MCF”) in McRae, Georgia.

         In his petition, Petitioner alleges that he was placed in solitary confinement as a result of a disciplinary action for possession of a hazardous tool (a cellphone) in violation of Inmate Disciplinary Code 108 and that he received sanctions including 30 days of disciplinary segregation as well as the loss of 41 days of good-conduct time, 60 days of telephone privileges, and 60 days of commissary privileges. According to Petitioner, he did not receive his administrative discipline order within 24 hours of the disciplinary action, nor did he receive a copy of the Discipline Hearing Officer's (“DHO”) report within 15 working days, which Petitioner contends violates Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) regulations. In his request for relief, Petitioner asserts:

I already did my solitary time1 (6 months), and was transferred to medium security prison. Court can't grant relief for that. The only thing I am asking is to give my 41 days good time back. Thanks! If an inmate violated any BOP rule, the inmate will be punished for sure. The BOP staff[] didn't follow any rule for my case, can a judge do something about it?

(ECF No. 1 at 9-10.)

         In his motion for summary judgment, Respondent concedes that the Court has jurisdiction over Petitioner's claim because the loss of good-conduct time impacts the duration of Petitioner's sentence. Respondent also concedes that Petitioner has exhausted the administrative remedy process. Nevertheless, Respondent contends that Petitioner has failed to demonstrate any constitutional violation entitling him to relief, and in support, Respondent submitted several exhibits, including the following: a copy of the corrected incident report; notice of the discipline hearing before the DHO that was delivered to Petitioner; a copy of the Inmate's Rights at Discipline Hearing; and a copy of the DHO decision. In addition, Respondent submitted the declaration of A. Kirley (“Kirley”), a DHO at MCF who did not preside over Petitioner's disciplinary hearing but who is familiar with the disciplinary hearing process at MCF.

         After considering Respondent's motion and exhibits, along with Petitioner's arguments in opposition, the Magistrate Judge ultimately agreed with Respondent and determined that the record contained no evidence of a due process violation. Accordingly, the Magistrate Judge recommended that the Court grant Respondent's motion for summary judgment.

         In his objections, Petitioner argues, without pointing to any evidence, that he has shown the existence of a genuine dispute of material fact as to a due process violation, and he complains about Respondent's reliance on Kirley's affidavit because Kirley did not conduct Petitioner's actual disciplinary hearing.


         I. The Magistrate Judge's Report

         The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to the Court. The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the responsibility to make a final determination remains with the Court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261 (1976). The Court is charged with making a de novo determination of any portion of the Report to which a specific objection is made. The Court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation made by the Magistrate Judge or recommit the matter to the Magistrate Judge with instructions. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b).

         II. Sum ...

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