Graham v. Warden Stewart

Filing 11

MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge George Jarrod Hazel on 9/7/2017. (c/m 9/8/2017 tds, Deputy Clerk)

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ff r , ,'" r IN THE UNITED STATES I>ISTRICT COURT.:' FOR THE IllSTlUCT OF MARYLAND Southern Division '- / 2m SEP - 8 VINCENT GRAHAM, * Petitioner, * v. * WARDEN STEWART, •• I :' ;:. /3 r- * Respondent. CL[.r: I,T C .. , ., Case No. G.III-16-25711 * * * * * * * MEMORANDUM In response to the above-entitled to dismiss or. in the alternative. * * shall be dismissed. I. and a certilicatc * Petition for Writ of Ilabeas Corpus. Respondent lor summary judgment. motion. construed * * OPINION moves ECF NO.4. Petitioner opposes the motion. Eel' NO.6. and moves lor leave to Iile a surreply. 1()lIow. Respondent's * ECF No. 10. I For the reasons that as a motion to dismiss. shall be granted. the petition of appealability shall not issue. BACKGROUND Petitioner Prisons ("BOP") Cumberland"). challenging Vincent Graham. an inmate confined to the custody of the Federal Bureau "I' and incarcerated at Federal Correctional Institution Cumberland ("FCI- tiled this Petition I()r Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ~ 2241 the validity of a disciplinary hearing Iinding him guilty of lighting with another 1 Unless otherwise ordered hy the Court. a surreply is not permitted. Sf!f! Local Rule 105.2(a) (D. Md. 2016). A surreply is permittcd \••.. the moving party \••.. hen ould be unable to contest matters present cd to the court for the lirs! timc in the opposing party's reply brier 5ief! \'. RIII/1.~/(>ld. 154 F. Supp. 2d 56. 61 (D.D.C. 2(01). Rcspondcnt in thc instant casc has not raised ncw mattcrs for the lirst timc in its Reply in support or Respondent's Motion to Dismiss or. in the alterative. Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No.8; therefore. the Motion to File a Surreply. ECF NO.1 O. shall be denied. , inmatc whilc incarccratcd at Allcnwood Low Sccurity Institution. allegcs that he was not in a physical altcrcation: ECF NO.1 at X.- Graham rathcr hc was the victim of an assault. Id As rcliet: Graham sceks reversal of thc guilty verdict and rcmoval of thc incidcnt Irom his prison tllc. ECF NO.1 at 9. On July 28. 2015. Graham reccived violating Disciplinary Code 201. "Fighting Rcport states that at approximatcly Incident Report No. 2757654 charging him with With Anothcr Person'" ECF No. 4_2:J Thc Incidcnt 12:30 p.m .. inmate "A" struck Graham in thc Icli cyc with a c10scd list.. Id at I. Inmate A thcn cxitcd the shower room and cntcrcd his assigncd ccll. lei. Graham allcgcdly li,lIowed inmatc A and attcmpted to cntcr inmate A's cubicle. Id Inmate A charged out of the cubicle and both inmatcs exchanged punchcs in the hallway. Id rinally. incident report provides that a review of vidco li,otagc demonstrated wcrc involvcd in a physical altercation. On Septcmbcr the both Graham and inmate A Id 9. 2015. a Unit Disciplinary Thc UDC referrcd thc charge to the Disciplinc Committcc C'UDC') hcaring was conducted. Ilcaring Ortlccr ("'DIIO") based on thc scvcrity of thc incident. ECF No. 4-3. Graham received a copy of his rights. which he read and signed. ECF No. 4-4. lie did not rcquest any witnesses. lOCI' No. 4-3. Graham indicated that hc wishcd to have Case Manager Casscl servc as his staff rcprescntative. and acknowledged 1 Pin cites to documents his dutics as a stair reprcscntati\'c filed on the COllrt"S electronic ECF Nos. 4-3 and 4-5. Cassel rcad on September 10.2015. 1<1. filing. system (eM/ECF) refer to rhe page numbers gellcrated by that system . .; The following discussion provides a review orlile findings made during Graham"s disciplinary proceedings to which Graham is challenging. The discussion was taken from c:\hibits provided by the Respondent and aligns with Graham's characterization orthe event as sci f0l1h in his complaint. ECf' No. I. 4 The identity orthe inmate involved in the altercation to the Court. with Graham is redacted in the disciplinary record provided On September 2757654. 24. 2015. DIIO Todd Cerney conducted ECF No. 4-6. After considering footage. and Graham's supported the conclusion statcmcnts. the statements a hearing on Incident Report No. of thc reporting oflicer. thc vidco DHO Cerney found that the greater weight of the evidencc that Graham was guilty of violating Disciplinary Codc 20 I. Eel' No. 4- 6. Graham raiscs two principal issues with his disciplinary that the incident report named the wrong inmate involved at 8. According to Graham. the altercation occurred involved was housed on Brady A Unit. However. action. First. Graham allcgcs in the altercation with him. on Brady A Unit. and the individual according to Graham. the individual the incident report was housed on Brady B Unit and is not the same individual video footage reviewed during the disciplinary July 29. 2015. one day after the altercation. Supervisor ("SIS") Matthews ECF No. I proceeding. namcd in that appears in the Id Second. Graham states that on he was approached by Special Investigative who told him that he was advised of the altercation by an infi.mnant. would dran an incidcnt report but not process it. and would transfer Graham to another housing unit. !d However. video fi.)otage indicatcd "given the circumstances. SIS Matthews later informed Graham that review of the that Graham did in fact engage in a physical conti-<lIltation but that he clected not to charge [Graham I with providing a fillse statemcnt'" !d. Graham asserts that he did not provide SIS Matthews with a statement 1i.)lIowing the altercation. II. ECF No. I at 8. STANDARD OF REVIEW The purpose ofa 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss is to test the sufliciency ofa plaintiffs complaint. See Presley \.. Cily o(Chllrlo/lesvil!e. 464 F.3d 480. 484 (4th Cir. 2006). When ruling on a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6). a court must "accept the \\'ellpled allegations of the complaint as true. and ... construe the facts and reasonable inlercnccs derived , .1 thcrcfrom in thc light most Illvorablc to thc plaintiff."'lharra ". U.S .. 120 r.3d 472. 474 (4th Cir. 1997). Although a pleading callcd into qucstion by Rulc 12(b)(6) does not nced to providc "dctailcd factual allcgations:' somcthing "morc than labels and conclusions" is required. and thcrc must bc lactual allegations sullicicnt to "raisc a right to relief abovc thc spcculative levcl:' /Jell ;/iiall/ic Corp. TlI'amhiy. 550 U.S. 544. 555 (2007). To survivc a Rulc 12(b)(6) motion. a plcading must I'. contain "cnough lactualmatter 556. Where"a short ofthc (takcn as truc) to suggest" the viability ofthc plaintilrs complaint plcads facts that arc merely consistent with a dcfcndant's linc bctwccn possibility and plausibility ofcntitlcmcnt claims. Id. at liability. it stops to rclicf."' Ashcrofi ". I"hal. 556 U.S. 662. 678 (2009). See also. Frallcis ,'. Giacomelli. 558 F.3d 186. 193 (4th Cir. 2009) ("fNlakcd asscrtions of wrongdoing ncccssitatc some factual cnhanccmcnt withinthc complaint to cross thc linc bctween possibility and plausibility of cntitlement to relicf."') (intcrnal quotations omittcd). Pro sc complaints such as Graham's must bc construcd libcrally and must bc "held to Icss stringcnt standards than fonnal plcadings dralied by lawyers:' (2007). Dcspitc this liberal construction rcquirement. Ericksall \'. fanills. "[plrinciplcs 551 U.S. 89. 94 rcquiring gcnerous construction of pro se complaints are not ... without limits:' Beal/(Iell \'. Ci/Y'iniamp/oll. 775 r.2d 1274. 1278 (4th Cir. 1985). Coul1s arc not required to "conjurc up questions ncvcr squarely prescntcd to thcm" nor "construct full blown claims from sentencc tragmcnts:' Id. "[WJhcrc thc wcll-plcadcd pcrmit the court to infcr morc than thc merc possibility ofmisconducl. but it has not shown---that facts do not thc complaint has allcgcd--- the pleader is entitlcd to reliet:" I"hal. 556 U.S. at 679 (intcrnal quotations omittcd). When considering a motion pursuant to rcd. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). couns "must considcr the complaint in its entirety. as wcll as othcr sources courts ordinarily cxaminc whcn ruling on Rulc 12(b)(6) motions to dismiss. in particular. documents incorporatcd and mattcrs of which a counmay into thc complaint by rclercncc. takc judicial not icc:' Tellahs, Illc. ".• l/akar Isslles & Riglus. Lid.. 551 U.S. 308. 322 (2007). Thus. on a motion to dismiss for lailurc to statc a e1aim upon which rclicf 4 could bc grantcd. courts may consider documents rererenced in the complaint even irthosc documcnts arc not physically attached to thc complaint. See. e.g.. IIQM Uti. \'. Halfield. 71 r:. Supp. 2d 500. 502 (D. Md. 1999)5 III. DISCUSSION Prisoners disciplinary defendant retain rights under the r:ourteenth proeeedings Amendment"s are not part ofa criminal prosecution. (citing Morrissey \'. Brel1'Cr.408 U.S. 471. 488 (1972)). where an inmate 1~lces the possible loss of diminution statement and the filii array or rights due a does not apply. See WoW". McDonnell. 418 U.S. 5J9. 556 (1974) in sueh proceedings protections. Due Process Clause. but prison In prison disciplinary proceedings credits. he is entitled to certain due process These include: (I) advance written notice of the charges against him: (2) a written of the evidenee relied on and the reasons for taking any disciplinary hearing where he is afforded not inconsistent opportunity the right to call witnesses with institutional safety and correctional to have non-attorney hearing involves complex representation eoneerns. when doing so is and a written decision: (4) the when the inmate is illiterate or the disciplinary issues: and (5) an impartial decision-maker. 564-66. 592. There is no constitutional and be appointed and present evidence action: (J) a See Wolff: 418 U.S. at right to confront and cross-examine witnesses counsel. See Baxler \'. Palllligiano. 425 U.S. J08. J22 (1976): or to retain Br()\l'I1 \'. Braxlon. 373 F.3d SOl. 504-05 (4th Cir. 2(04). As long as the hearing officer's decision contains ~ Respondent provided the documents that. collectively. characterize the disciplinary action at the center or Graham's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus. See Incident Report No. 1757654. EeF No. 4-2. Notice of Disciplinary Hearing Before the DHO. ECF No. 4-3. Inmate Rights at Discipline Hearing signed by Graham. ECF No. 4-4. Duties of Stafr Representative signed by M. Cassel for representation of Graham. ECF No. 4-5. DliO Report f()f Incident Graham directly, No. 2757654. Graham's at 8. and the Court therefore not considering motion makes reference "Disciplinary to the information assumes that these documents any extraneous tor summary ECF No. 4-6 (collectively complaint judgmcnt. documents outside of the 5;ee Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(d) Hearing contained are incorporated complaint (if a by Record""). While reference. and does not construe court considers documcnts judgment 2015) under Ru Ie 56"); (a court may properly Respondent's notice of infonnation 5 that constitute adjudicative facts). I is motion as a attached to a motion by reference into the complaint. .'the Illotion Illust be treatcd as one see a/so Go/ct/'lrh \'. Ah~\'or and City COl/l/cil (~llJa/tim(Jrl!. 791 F.3d 500. take judicial ECF No. As a result. the Court dismiss that are not incorporated by not provided in these doculllcnts. to for summary SOX (4th Cir. a written statement of the evidence relied upon. due process is satistied. See Bax/er. 425 U.S. at 322. n.5. Moreover. substantive due process is satislied if the disciplinary hearing decision was based upon "some evidence:' Superimendem. Alass. CO'T. In.l'/.". Ilill. 472 U.S. 445. 455 (1985). Federal courts do not review the correctness of a disciplinary hearing ofticer's findings of tact. See Kelly,'. Cooper. 502 F. Supp. 1371. 1376 (E.D. Va. 1(80). The lindings will only be disturhed when unsupported by any evidence. or when wholly arbitrary and capricious. See Ifill. 472 U.S. at 456: see also Baker \'. Lyles. 904 F.2d 925. 933 (4th Cir. 1(90). As long as there is some evidence in the record to support a disciplinary committee's tactual lindings. a federal court will not review their accuracy. The Inmate Disciplinary Process is coditled in 20 C.F.R. Part 541 pursuant to the authority delegated by Congress to the Bureau of Prisons in 18 U.S.c. * 4042." Graham does not allege that Respondent failed to adhere to these established rules. and the Disciplinary Ilearing Records shows that Graham received the due process protections required by Wolff: Graham's assertions. taken as true. do not suggest that Respondent denied him of these protections. The laet that the wrong inmate was named as Graham' s assailant in the incident report does not serve to exonerate him from the charges asserted. Further. regardless of any initial statement by SIS Matthews that an incident report would not be processed. Graham received advanced written notice of the charges before him on September 4. 2015 as well as an explanation li'om SIS Matthews as to why the incident report was processed. ECF NO.1 at 8. The DIIO's decision was supported by evidence. even when excluding any written statement or testimony provided by SIS Matthews. and satislied the constitutional standard li)r disciplinary proceedings. ThereliJre. Graham lails to show he is entitled to any relief. () Respondent provides a detailed overvic\v of the Part 541 rules and associated hearing process in its Illotion Sel! ECF No . .) at 2-1. 6 A certificate of appealability may issue only if the applicant has made a substantial showing of the denial ofa constitutional right. 28 U.S.c. * 2253(c)(2). The petitioncr "must demonstrate that rcasonablc jurists would find the district court's asscssment ofthc constitutional claims debatablc or wrong:' Tennorc/ \". Dretke. 542 U.S. 274. 282 (2004) (citation and intcrnal quotation marks omitted). or that "the issues prescnted arc adequatc to deserve cncouragcmcnt to procecd further:' Miller-EI \'. Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322, 327 (2003). Bccause this Court linds that there has been no substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right. a certi licatc or appealability shall be dcnied. See 28 U.S.c. IV. * 2253(c)(2). CONCLUSION For the foregoing reasons. Defcndant's Motion to Dismiss, or in thc Altcrnativc. Motion for Summary Judgment. Eel' NO.4. shall be granted. A separate Ordcr j()llows. Dated: September] k;!- , 2017 • GEORGE J. HAZEL United States District Judgc 7

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