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Wright v. Lindsay

February 18, 2010

MALIK S.K. WRIGHT, PETITIONER,
v.
CAMERON LINDSAY, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Matsumoto, United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Pro se petitioner Malik S.K. Wright ("Wright" or "petitioner") filed a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, alleging that the Federal Bureau of Prisons (the "BOP") violated his constitutional rights by not allowing him to serve the remainder of his sentence in a Residential Re-entry Center ("RRC") or on home confinement. (Doc. No. 1, Pet'r Mem. in Support of a Pet. for a Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2441 ("Pet.") at 1, 8-10.) Petitioner seeks an order of the court directing the BOP to reconsider him for immediate RRC placement pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3624(c) ("Second Chance Act"). (Pet. at 10.) While the court commends Wright on his well-written petition and on his successful efforts at rehabilitation while incarcerated, for the reasons that follow, the court denies Wright's petition.

BACKGROUND

Petitioner was convicted in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina on July 30, 1993 for Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine Base in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(A)(1). (Pet. at 1-2; Doc. No. 4, Resp't Opp'n to Pet. for Writ of Habeas Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 ("Opp'n") at 4 and Ex. 1.) He is currently serving a 240-month sentence at the Metropolitan Detention Center ("MDC") in Brooklyn, New York. (Pet. at 1; Opp'n at 4 and Ex. 1.) Wright arrived at the MDC on February 3, 2009. (Opp'n, Ex. 2, 11/5/09 Decl. of Kevin Page ("11/5/09 Page Decl.") at ¶ 7.) He is scheduled to be transferred to a RRC on March 10, 2010 (Opp'n at 2), and scheduled to be released from BOP custody on September 2, 2010. (Pet. at 2; 11/5/09 Page Decl. at ¶ 7.)

On February 24, 2009, petitioner meet with his Unit Team, the division of the BOP responsible for making RRC placement recommendations for prisoners at the MDC, for an Initial Classification, during which his history and possible RRC placement were discussed. (Pet. at 2 and Ex. A at 1-3.) Although petitioner requested a twelve month RRC placement to his Unit Team, the Initial Classification Report states that petitioner "will be recommended for 180 days of RRC placement pursuant to the [Second] Chance Act." (Id., Ex. A at 2.)

During the meeting, petitioner requested a review of that six month recommendation. (Id. at 3.)

Also on February 24, 2009, petitioner submitted an "Inmate Request to Staff" to his case manager, seeking a twelve month RRC placement. (Id., Ex. B.) On February 26, 2009, petitioner wrote to Kevin Page ("Page"), manager of his Unit Team, and requested a longer RRC term in order to "adjust to and prepare for re-entry into the community." (Id. at 2 and Ex. C at 1.) Petitioner also filed an "Inmate Request for Informal Resolution" on April 1, 2009. (Id. at 3 and Ex. E at 1.) In it, petitioner sought a reevaluation of his six month placement recommendation. (Id., Ex. E at 2.) On April 8, 2009, Wright was informed that his RRC placement would be reviewed when his "relocation is approved." (Id. at 1.)

On April 10, 2009, petitioner filed a "Request for Administrative Remedy," again seeking a twelve month RRC placement due, in part, to the fact that he had "zero family support or financial assets." (Id. at 3 and Ex. F at 2.) On May 12, 2009, Cameron Lindsay, Warden of the MDC, responded to petitioner's request and informed petitioner that his RRC placement recommendation could not be reviewed until the United States Probation Office issued "an approved relocation plan." (Id. at 3 and Ex. G.)

On or about June 15, 2009, petitioner met with his Unit Team again to discuss his RRC placement. (11/5/09 Page Decl. at ¶ 6.) The Unit Team made the determination that, for the last 179 days of his sentence, Wright would be placed in a RRC facility located in Newark, New Jersey, which was specifically requested by Wright. (Id. at ¶¶ 6, 10.) The BOP asserts that it made the determination that 179 days was proper based on: (1) the limited availability of bed space at the Newark RRC; (2) petitioner's ability to live with his family in New Jersey once released; and (3) the fact that petitioner will have his family's assistance in reestablishing himself in the community. (Id. at ¶¶ 8-10.) The Unit Team memorialized its recommendation in a Residential Re-Entry Center Consideration form and in an Institutional Referral for Community Corrections Center Placement form, which was eventually sent to the Newark RRC facility. (Id. ¶¶ 11-12.)

On June 21, 2009, petitioner sent an appeal to the Northeast Regional Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons "seeking the maximum RRC placement" period. (Pet. at 3 and Ex. H.) The Regional Director, D. Scott Dodrill ("Dodrill"), sent a response on July 23, 2009 stating that the BOP is "granted broad discretion in reaching [its] decision and [petitioner] present[ed] no evidence this discretion was abused." (Id. at 3 and Ex. I.) Based on the MDC's individualized determination of petitioner's "situation and transitional needs," Dodrill denied petitioner's appeal. (Id., Ex. I.) Petitioner then appealed to the General Counsel of the Federal Bureau of Prisons on July 30, 2009. (Id. at 3 and Ex. J at 1.) Petitioner contends that he received no response or notice of extension of time to respond from the General Counsel's Office. (Id. at 3.)

On September 22, 2009, Wright filed the instant petition, seeking an order from the court directing the BOP to reconsider him for immediate transfer to the Newark RRC or home confinement.*fn1 (Id. at 10.) Petitioner asserts that the BOP did not in good faith consider allowing him to spend up to 12 months in a RRC. (Id. at 4.) Specifically, he argues his RRC placement recommendation should be reconsidered by the BOP due to: (1) the extraordinary length of his incarceration, (id. at 5); (2) the fact that petitioner has no family support, (Doc.

No. 6, Pet'r Reply Brief ("Reply") at 5); and (3) the MDC's categorical rejection of all prisoners who request a RRC term of more than six months. (Pet. at 7-8.) Petitioner further argues that he received disparate treatment from other similarly situated inmates at the MDC in violation of his equal protection rights. (Id. at 8-9.)

Respondent, Warden Cameron Lindsay ("respondent"), contends the BOP did not exceed its authority or otherwise act improperly in making its 179-day RRC placement recommendation. (Opp'n at 10.) Specifically, respondent argues that the BOP made an individualized RRC placement recommendation for petitioner based on his needs, that "[p]petitioner has offered no legal basis to support a lengthening of his RRC placement date," (id. at 6), and that the "placement was of sufficient duration to provide the greatest likelihood of successful reintegration into the community." (Id. at 9.) Respondent asserts that petitioner's equal protection claim fails on the merits, as petitioner has not adequately demonstrated "that he has been denied extended placement in a RRC due to purposeful discrimination." (Id. at 12.)

On January 28, 2010, in response to Wright's contention, which was raised for the first time in his Reply, that he does not have the support of his family or a place of residence secured upon release from incarceration, the court ordered the respondent to conduct further inquiry of ...


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