United States District Court, D. South Carolina
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
V. HODGES COLUMBIA, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Edward Chestnut (“Petitioner”), proceeding pro
se, is incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution
in Edgefield, South Carolina, a facility of the federal
Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”). He filed the instant
petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241. Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(B) and Local Civ. Rule 73.02(B)(2)(c) (D.S.C.), the
undersigned is authorized to review such petitions and submit
findings and recommendations to the district judge. For the
reasons that follow, the undersigned recommends the district
judge dismiss the petition in this case without requiring the
respondent to file an answer.
Factual and Procedural Background
challenges three prison disciplinary convictions related to
incident report numbers 3017816, 3079797, and 3084580. [ECF
No. 1]. Petitioner alleges the disciplinary hearing officer
violated his due process rights when he: (a) did not give
Petitioner a copy of the hearing report, (b) failed to call
Petitioner's requested witnesses, (c) failed to give
Petitioner an opportunity to present documentary evidence,
and (d) failed to act on Petitioner's request to review
video surveillance. Id. at 8-9. Petitioner alleges
he was convicted on incident number 3017816 on February 13,
2018, and on incident numbers 3079797 and 3084580 on February
20, 2018. Id. at 8. Petitioner claims these
convictions resulted in a loss of good time credits.
Id. Petitioner admits he did not exhaust his
available administrative remedies before filing his petition;
however, he argues his administrative remedies were not
available. Id. at 6. Petitioner seeks restoration of
his good time credits. Id. at 9-10.
Standard of Review
established local procedure in this judicial district, a
careful review has been made of this petition pursuant to the
Rules Governing Section 2254 Proceedings for the United
States District Court,  the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death
Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), Pub. L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat.
1214, and other habeas corpus statutes. Pro se complaints are
held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by
attorneys. Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147,
1151 (4th Cir. 1978). A federal court is charged with
liberally construing a complaint filed by a pro se litigant
to allow the development of a potentially meritorious case.
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). In
evaluating a pro se complaint, the plaintiff's
allegations are assumed to be true. Fine v. City of
N.Y., 529 F.2d 70, 74 (2d Cir. 1975). The mandated
liberal construction afforded to pro se pleadings means that
if the court can reasonably read the pleadings to state a
valid claim on which the plaintiff could prevail, it should
do so. Nevertheless, the requirement of liberal construction
does not mean that the court can ignore a clear failure in
the pleading to allege facts that set forth a claim currently
cognizable in a federal district court. Weller v.
Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387, 390-91 (4th Cir.
filed this § 2241 petition alleging he was denied due
process during his February 2018 disciplinary hearings. [ECF
No. 1]. Petitioner was required to exhaust his administrative
remedies within the BOP before submitting his § 2241
petition in this case. Although § 2241 does not contain
a statutory exhaustion requirement, courts consistently
require prisoners to exhaust their administrative remedies
prior to seeking habeas review under § 2241. See
Braden v. 30th Judicial Circuit Court, 410 U.S. 484,
490-91 (1973) (requiring exhaustion in 28 U.S.C. § 2241
matter); McClung v. Shearin, 90 Fed.Appx. 444, 445
(4th Cir. 2004) (“Federal prisoners must exhaust their
administrative remedies prior to filing § 2241
petitions.”). This requirement of exhaustion allows
prison officials to develop a factual record and “an
opportunity to resolve disputes concerning the exercise of
their responsibilities before being haled into court.”
Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 204 (2007).
admits he did not exhaust his administrative remedies, but he
argues the disciplinary hearing officer's failure to
issue a report rendered his administrative remedies
unavailable. Exhaustion of administrative remedies may be
excused under certain circumstances, such as by showing
futility. United States v. Strickland, No.
7:98-CR-82-5-F(1), 2004 WL 3414644, at *1 (E.D. N.C. Aug. 9,
2004), aff'd, 126 Fed.Appx. 116, 117 (4th Cir. 2005).
Petitioner, however, has not demonstrated that his ability to
complete his administrative remedies was futile. Petitioner
contends the hearing officer informed him that he would issue
a report no later than February 26, 2018, but the officer did
not issue the report. [ECF No. at 8]. Petitioner's
hearings were held on February 13 and 20, 2018, and
Petitioner drafted his § 2241 petition on February 28,
2018. Id. at 8, 10. Because Petitioner admits he has
not attempted to complete the administrative remedy process,
id. at 6, he cannot successfully argue his
administrative remedies were rejected due to lacking a
hearing report. Petitioner has also failed to cite to any
facts or case law to establish that a hearing officer's
failure to provide a report within a certain time limit, and
in this case within 13 days, excuses an inmate's failure
to exhaust his administrative remedies. Accordingly,
Petitioner's § 2241 petition is subject to summary
dismissal for lack of exhaustion.
Conclusion and Recommendation
foregoing reasons, the undersigned recommends the district
judge dismiss the petition in the above-captioned matter
parties are directed to note the important information in the
attached “Notice of Right to File Objections to Report
and Recommendation.”Notice of ...