United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Rock Hill Division
Thomas W. Browning, Petitioner,
A. Mansukhani, Warden FCI-Estill, Respondent.
ORDER AND OPINION
Richard Mark Gergel United States District Court Judge.
matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation
of the Magistrate Judge, recommending Respondent's motion
to dismiss the petition for habeas relief under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241, or alternatively for summary judgment, be
granted. For the reasons set forth below, the Court adopts
the Report and Recommendation and grants summary judgment for
Browning is an inmate at Federal Correctional Institution
Estill. He alleges that on February 3, 2015, Bureau of
Prisons ("BOP") officers conducted a random search
of his cell and found six strips of Suboxone and three pieces
of rolled paper containing synthetic marijuana. Petitioner
and his cellmate were charged with possession of drugs under
the prison's disciplinary policy. Petitioner was provided
a copy of the incident report detailing the charges.
disciplinary hearing was held on February 12, 2015.
Petitioner denied the charges. During the hearing, prison
officials presented the incident report, photographs of the
contraband, and identification of the Suboxone by a staff
pharmacist. Petitioner presented no evidence. The hearing
officer found Petitioner guilty and revoked ninety-five days
of good conduct time credit, among other sanctions. After
exhausting administrative remedies, Petitioner filed the
present petition on September 26, 2016. He claims that the
revocation of his good conduct time credits violates his
constitutional right to due process because the disciplinary
hearing failed to meet the "some evidence" standard
(Ground One) and that the revocation violates his
constitutional right to equal protection because the BOP did
not conduct a field test or laboratory test to confirm the
substances alleged to be illicit narcotics (Ground Two). On
December 21, 2016, Respondent moved to dismiss or,
alternatively, for summary judgment. On April 24, 2017, the
Magistrate Judge recommended granting Respondent's
motion. Petitioner filed timely objections to the Report and
Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court.
The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the
responsibility to make a final determination remains with the
Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261 (1976). The
Court is charged with making a de novo determination
of those portions of the Report and Recommendation to which
specific objection is made. The Court may accept, reject, or
modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation of the
Magistrate Judge. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
proper objection is made to a particular issue, "a
district court is required to consider all arguments directed
to that issue, regardless of whether they were raised before
the magistrate." United States v. George, 971
F.2d 1113, 1118 (4th Cir. 1992). However, "[t]he
district court's decision whether to consider additional
evidence is committed to its discretion, and any refusal will
be reviewed for abuse." Doe v. Chao, 306 F.3d
170, 183 & n.9 (4th Cir. 2002). "[A]ttempts to
introduce new evidence after the magistrate judge has acted
are disfavored, " though the district court may allow it
"when a party offers sufficient reasons for so
doing." Caldwell v. Jackson, 831 F.Supp.2d 911,
914 (M.D. N.C. 2010) (listing cases).
judgment is appropriate if a party "shows that there is
no genuine dispute as to any material fact" and that the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In other words, summary judgment should
be granted "only when it is clear that there is no
dispute concerning either the facts of the controversy or the
inferences to be drawn from those facts." Pulliam
Inv. Co. v. Cameo Props., 810 F.2d 1282, 1286 (4th Cir.
1987). "In determining whether a genuine issue has been
raised, the court must construe all inferences and
ambiguities in favor of the nonmoving party."
HealthSouth Rehab. Hosp. v. Am. Nat'l Red Cross,
101 F.3d 1005, 1008 (4th Cir. 1996). The party seeking
summary judgment shoulders the initial burden of
demonstrating to the court that there is no genuine issue of
material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
28, U.S.C. § 2241 is the proper means for a federal
prisoner to challenge the BOP's sentencing calculations,
including good conduct time credits. See United States v.
Little, 392 F.3d 671, 679 (4th Cir. 2004). Petitioner
argues his good conduct time credits were revoked in
violation of his due process rights because he could not
challenge the prison's identification of the items
recovered from his cell as narcotics, and in violation of his
equal protection rights because similarly situated inmates
are purportedly treated differently.
has due process rights regarding his good conduct time
credits, which implicate a protected liberty interest.
See Wolff v. McDonnell,418 U.S. 539, 557 (1974). In
disciplinary proceedings, inmates have a right to advance
written notice of charges, to a fair and impartial tribunal,
to call witnesses and to present evidence, and to receive
written statement explaining the tribunal's findings.
Id. at 563-67. Due process is satisfied if there is
"some evidence" ...