United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Beaufort Division
Walter T. Godbey, #45377-083, Petitioner,
Warden FCI Williamsburg, Respondent.
ORDER AND OPINION
Walter T. Godbey (“Petitioner”) filed this
pro se Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
(“Petition”) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241,
challenging an administrative disciplinary action he received
while incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution
(“FCI”) Petersburg Low. (ECF No. 1.) Respondent
Warden FCI Williamsburg (“Respondent”) responded
by filing a Motion to Dismiss, or in the Alternative, for
Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 9.)
accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civil Rule
73.02, the matter was referred to United States Magistrate
Judge Bristow Marchant for pre-trial handling. On September
23, 2016, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and
Recommendation (“Report, ” ECF No. 19)
recommending the court grant Respondent's Motion for
Summary Judgment (ECF No. 9), and deny the Petition (ECF No.
1). This review considers Petitioner's Objections to the
Report and Recommendation (“Objections”) filed
October 11, 2016. (ECF No. 21.) For the reasons set forth
herein, the court ACCEPTS the Magistrate Judge's Report
(ECF No. 19), GRANTS Respondent's Motion for Summary
Judgment (ECF No. 9), and DISMISSES the Petition (ECF No. 1)
RELEVANT FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
court concludes, upon its own careful review of the record,
that the Magistrate Judge's factual synopsis is accurate
and incorporates it by reference. This court will thus focus
on the facts pertinent to the analysis of Petitioner's
is presently incarcerated at FCI Bennettsville
(“Bennettsville”). Petitioner alleges that on
March 4, 2014, inmate Bernard Doherty
(“Doherty) sought him out and assaulted him. (ECF No.
1-1 at 3.) On March 26, 2014, a Special Investigation
Services (“SIS”) investigation was completed and
an Incident Report was provided to Petitioner. (ECF No. 1-1
at 23.) Because of this “fighting incident, ”
Petitioner was found guilty of a Disciplinary Code 201
(Fighting with Another Person) violation by a Disciplinary
Hearing Officer (“DHO”), and was subject to
multiple sanctions. (ECF No. 1-1 at 4.) Petitioner asserts
that he was never put on “lawful ‘notice' of
the Rules/Regs of the [Federal Bureau of Prisons]
FBOP.” (ECF Nos. 1-1 at 2.) Petitioner alleges DHOs
improperly relied upon correctional officer
(“CO”) statements, and the multiple DHO Reports
contained false and inaccurate information. (ECF No. 1 at 7,
11.) Petitioner asserts he has a right to self-defense
(id. at 8), that the parameters of a Code 201
violation are too vague (id. at 9), that the DHO was
not an independent fact finder, (id.), and that
Petitioner's rehearing venue was improper (id.
at 10). Petitioner also seeks to draw a comparison between
himself and another inmate who had his record expunged after
engaging in fighting. (Id.) Petitioner appealed his
disciplinary sentence at multiple DHO hearings, the Southeast
Regional Office, and after being repeatedly found guilty,
appealed to the Central Office at General Counsel. (ECF No.
1-1 at 5.) Petitioner never received an answer from the
Central Office. (Id.) Petitioner seeks an
expungement of the Incident Report and the DHO Report, a
transfer back to FCI Petersburg Low, the restoration of the
twenty-seven days of good conduct time (“GTC”),
and the restoration of Form BP 606 (removing five points from
his record). (ECF No. 1-1 at 1.)
filed the instant action on October 15, 2015. (ECF No. 1.) On
March 15, 2016, Respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss, or in
the alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 9). On
March 25, 2016, Petitioner filed his Response in Opposition.
(ECF No. 13.) On April 1, 2016, Petitioner filed an Affidavit
in Support (ECF No. 14), and on April 15, 2016, filed a
Supplemental Motion to his Response in Opposition (ECF No.
September 23, 2016, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report,
recommending the court grant Respondent's Motion for
Summary Judgment, and dismiss Petitioner's Petition. (ECF
No. 19 at 21.) The Magistrate Judge found that the prison
officials complied with the due process requirements set
forth in Wolff v. McDonnell. (Id.) Judge
Marchant's Report found that Respondent had shown
“some evidence existed to support the decision, ”
satisfying the minimal due process standard necessary for
prison disciplinary proceedings. (Id.) The Report
dismissed Petitioner's assertions that he lacked notice
of the FBOP's rules and regulations (id. at
11-13, 17), that he had a right to self-defense (id.
at 15), and that his case was comparable to another
inmate's case (id.). The Report also found no
bias on the part of the DHO (id. at 19), no
prejudice in Petitioner's rehearing (id. at 20),
and no reliance by Respondent on inaccurate or false
information (id at 14-15, 20-21). On October 11,
2016, Petitioner filed Objections to the Report. (ECF No.
Magistrate Judge's Report is made in accordance with 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Civil Rule 73.02 for the
District of South Carolina. The Magistrate Judge's Report
is only a recommendation to this court, and has no
presumptive weight-the responsibility to make a final
determination remains with this court. See Mathews v.
Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). The court is charged
with making a de novo determination of those
portions of the Report to which specific objections are made.
Id. The court may accept, reject, or modify, in
whole or in part, the Magistrate Judge's recommendation
or recommit the matter with instructions. See 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
to a Report and Recommendation must specifically identify
portions of the Report and the basis for those objections.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). “[I]n the absence of a timely filed
objection, a district court need not conduct a de
novo review, but instead must ‘only satisfy itself
that there is no clear error on the face of the record in
order to accept the recommendation.'” Diamond
v. Colonial Life & Acc. Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 316
(4th Cir. 2005) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 72 advisory
committee's note). Failure to timely file specific
written objections to a Report will result in a waiver of the
right to appeal from an order from the court based upon the
Report. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Thomas v. Arn,
474 U.S. 140 (1985); Wright v. Collins, 766 F.2d 841
(4th Cir. 1985); United States v. Schronce, 727 F.2d
91 (4th Cir. 1984). If the petitioner fails to properly
object because the objections lack the requisite specificity,
then de novo review by the court is not
pro se filed documents should be “liberally
construed, ” held to a less stringent legal standard
than those complaints or proceedings drafted by lawyers.
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citing
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)).
However, even liberally construed, objections to a Report
must specifically identify portions of the Report and the
basis for those objections. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2).
Furthermore, while pro se documents may be entitled
to “special judicial solicitude, ” federal courts
are not required to recognize “obscure or extravagant
claims.” Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs.,
901 F.2d 387, 390-91 (4th Cir. 1990) (quoting Beaudett v.
City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1277 (4th Cir. 1985)).
petition for habeas corpus under § 2241 is the proper
method to challenge the computation or execution of a federal
sentence. See United States v. Little, 392 F.3d 671,
679 (4th Cir. 2004) (citing In re Vial, 115 F.3d
1192, 1194 n.5 (4th Cir. 1997)). A petition pursuant to
§ 2241 challenging the execution of a federal
prisoner's sentence generally addresses “such
matters as the administration of parole, computation of a
prisoner's sentence by prison officials, prison
disciplinary actions …” Jiminian v.
Nash, 245 F.3d 144, 146 (2d Cir. 2010). A § 2241
petition is appropriate where the prisoner challenges the
fact or length of his confinement, but generally not the
conditions of his confinement. See Preiser v.
Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 499-500 (1973); Ajaj v.
Smith, 108 F. App'x 743, 744 (4th Cir. 2004). The
court agrees with the Report and Respondent that
Petitioner's § 2241 Petition is the proper method to
challenge his disciplinary action.
Objections, Petitioner accuses the Report of
“misconstru[ing] and misrepresent[ing] numerous facts,
” and asserts that each of his nine claims should not
be subject to summary judgment. (ECF No. 21.) However, though
Petitioner outlines his objections in detail, very little new
information is brought to the court's attention that was
not sufficiently addressed by the Magistrate's
Report. What new information Petitioner does put
forth either contradicts his position, or is insufficient to
overcome the due process standard of prisoner disciplinary
proceedings. As the Report notes, the Supreme Court in
Wolff v. McDonnell only allows an inmate a minimal
standard of due process in a prison disciplinary setting.
(ECF No. 19 at 8-9.) The ...