Villabona-Alvarado v. Federal Bureau of Prisons
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Abdul K Kallon on 09/18/12. (CVA)
2012 Sep-18 AM 09:07
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
FEDERAL BUREAU OF
Case No. 1:10-cv-1853-AKK
The magistrate judge filed his report and recommendation in this case on
September 26, 2011, recommending that the court deny and dismiss the petition for
writ of mandamus. Doc. 13. Ultimately, petitioner filed his objections to the report
and recommendation on February 13, 2012.
Doc. 22. Having now carefully
reviewed and considered de novo the report and recommendation, the objections, and
other materials in the court file, the court hereby ADOPTS the report and ACCEPTS
Petitioner’s first objection argues that the magistrate judge erred when he
determined that the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ (“BOP”) regulations do not require
Page 1 of 6
expungement of reference to petitioner’s alleged involvement in an 1989 escape plot
from his prison records. He contends that various BOP regulations, and specifically
28 C.F.R. § 541.17, preclude the BOP from adversely using in housing, security, and
other internal prison decisions and assignments, information for which a prisoner has
not been adjudged guilty.
As the magistrate judge noted in his report and
recommendation, however, “Although Villabona-Alvarado argues that his reading
of the Federal Regulations compels the Bureau of Prisons to expunge any mention
that his custody status was increased in 1991 due in part to his possible involvement
in an unsuccessful escape plot in 1989, the Code of Federal Regulations does not
appear to require as much. He has not shown where this duty is codified.” Doc. 13
at 4. Indeed, 28 C.F.R. § 541.17, which Villabona-Alvarado cites, applies only to
inmates for whom there has been a finding that the inmate did not engage in the
alleged conduct: “The Discipline Hearing Officer shall expunge an inmate’s file of
the Incident Report and related documents following a DHO finding that the inmate
did not commit a prohibited act.” 28 C.F.R. § 541.17(i). Moreover, this language is
included in a section that outlines the procedures for a hearing. There is simply
nothing in this regulation that states that a petitioner is entitled to an expungement in
situations where his claims of innocence are not supported by a finding after a
Page 2 of 6
To the extent that petitioner was exonerated by a hearing, he failed to present
that evidence to this court. There simply is no regulation that explicitly states that the
BOP must expunge from prison records unproven adverse information about an
inmate. The closest any regulation comes is § 541.5(b)(3), which states that “except
for acts in the Greatest and High severity levels,” the BOP must remove from the
prisoner’s records incident reports resolved informally. In this case, it appears that
no incident report was ever created with respect to the alleged escape plot, but even
if it was, escape is categorized on either “the Greatest or High severity levels,” see
28 C.F.R. § 541.3 Table 1, and, thus, would not have been resolved informally or
resulted in removal of the incident report from petitioner’s file. Therefore, this
objection is overruled.
Petitioner’s second objection asserts that the magistrate judge erred in finding
that petitioner had other adequate remedies, such as an action under Bivens v. Six
Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), or a § 2241 habeas action. The
magistrate judge explained that, “The Eleventh Circuit has established three
requirements for issuing a writ of mandamus: (1) the plaintiff has a clear right to the
relief requested; (2) the defendant has a clear duty to act; and (3) no other adequate
remedy is available. Cash v. Barnhart, 327 F.3d 1252, 1258 (11th Cir. 2003); see
also, Heckler v. Ringer, 466 U.S. 602, 616, 104 S. Ct. 2013, 80 L. Ed. 2d 622 (1984)
Page 3 of 6
(mandamus relief is an extraordinary remedy which is only appropriate when plaintiff
has exhausted all other avenues of relief and only if the defendant owes him a clear
nondiscretionary duty).” Doc. 13 at 4. But even if the magistrate judge was
incorrect, petitioner is not entitled to mandamus relief because he cannot show a clear
right to have his prison records expunged of references to the alleged escape plot, nor
is the BOP under a clear duty to do so. This objection is also overruled.
Petitioner’s third objection asserts that the magistrate judge incorrectly
concluded that petitioner is entitled to no relief under the Administrative Procedures
Act (“APA”) because other adequate remedies are available to petitioner. Even if this
is incorrect, petitioner is not entitled to a remedy under the APA because he has failed
to point to any rule improperly promulgated by the BOP or not followed by the BOP.
As explained above, there is no federal regulation or rule that requires the BOP to
remove from the petitioner’s prison records references to his alleged involvement in
an escape plot. In fact, knowledge of such information is critical because it impacts
the BOP’s mission of providing prison security. After all, whether a particular
prisoner evidences a potential for escape is central the BOP’s legitimate security
objectives. This objection is also overruled.
Finally, petitioner includes a section with the heading “Miscellaneous
Objections,” in which he contends that the magistrate judge erroneously found that
Page 4 of 6
he was assigned to the ADX Super Max facility for longer than usual, implying that
petitioner has disciplinary issues. Having carefully read the report and
recommendation, the court agrees with the magistrate judge that the record evidence
shows that petitioner received disciplinary infractions while at ADX Super Max.
However, these infractions and their inclusion in the report and recommendation have
nothing to do with petitioner’s claim that he is entitled to expungement of references
to the 1989 escape plot. Therefore, this objection is also overruled.
The report and recommendation is also due to be adopted because there is no
case or controversy, see doc. 10 at 14, before this court. Petitioner’s entire case rests
on his belief that the inclusion of the 1989 escape attempt has caused him to be placed
in higher levels of security than he should have. Assuming Petitioner can even
challenge the BOP’s decision to place him in higher security facilities, see McKune
v. Lile, 536 U.S. 24, 39, 122 S. Ct. 2017, 153 L.Ed.2d 47 (2002) (“It is well settled
that the decision where to house inmates is at the core of prison administrators’
expertise.”); Mikeska v. Collins, 900 F.2d 833, 836 (5th Cir. 1990) (“Inmates have
neither a protectable property nor liberty interest in custodial classification.”),
Petitioner is currently housed in FCI Talladega and was transferred there on March
9, 2009 because of an infraction he committed while at FCI Atlanta, a low level
facility, on December 12, 2008. Doc. 10 at 5. This incident, rather than the 1989
Page 5 of 6
escape is why he is housed in Talladega.
By separate order, the court will overrule petitioner’s objections, adopt and
accept the report and recommendation, and deny and dismiss the petition.
DONE this 18th day of September, 2012.
ABDUL K. KALLON
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Page 6 of 6
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?