MITCHELL v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA et al
OPINION. Signed by Judge Renee Marie Bumb on 2/19/14. n.m.(dd, )
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
: Civil Action No. 13-1068 (RMB)
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA et al.,:
BUMB, District Judge:
James Mitchell (“Petitioner”), an inmate previously
incarcerated at FCI Fairton in New Jersey, filed a petition for a
Writ of Habeas Corpus (“Petition”) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241
and, a months and a half later, submitted his filing fee of $5.
See Docket Entry No. 1 and Docket Entry No. dated April 1, 2013.
Respondents filed an answer and the administrative record.
Docket Entry No. 6.
For the reasons detailed below, the Petition
will be dismissed as unexhausted, meritless, moot and also for
failure to comply with Local Civil Rule 10.1(a).
Here, Petitioner challenged the recommendation of his Unit
Team that he be placed in a residential reentry center (“RRC”)
for the period of five to six months preceding his release.
Docket Entry No. 1.
He relied on the Second Chance Act of 2007,
Pub. L. No. 110-199, April 9, 2008 (“the Second Chance Act”) for
the contention that his RRC placement should have been nine to
In support of that claim, he stated that
he had been incarcerated for a long period time and, if released
without substantial resources, he was likely to commit another
See id. at 3-4.
Respondents’ answer maintained that
Petitioner’s position was substantively without merit; the record
provided by Respondents established that he failed to exhaust his
claim administratively since he abandoned his exhaustion efforts
after getting a response from the Regional Office of the Bureau
of Prisons (“BOP”).
See Docket Entry No. 6-1.
The Court’s sua sponte review of the federal inmate locator
website, www.bop.gov, showed that, after Respondents filed their
answer, Petitioner was transferred to a RRC, i.e., RRM New York,
Residential Reentry Office, P.O. BOX 329014, Brooklyn, NY
This fact indicates that Petitioner’s claims have become moot.1
Therefore, the Petition is subject to dismissal on that ground.
In addition, the Petition is subject to dismissal as
substantively meritless and for failure to exhaust.2
Federal courts are not empowered to decide moot issues.
See U.S. Const. art. III, § 2, cl. 1; Doe v. Delie, 257 F.3d 309,
313 (3d Cir. 2001) (citing North Carolina v. Rice, 404 U.S. 244,
246 (1971)). To avoid dismissal on the grounds of mootness, a
controversy must exist at all stages of review. See Doe, 257
F.3d at 313 (citing New Jersey Turnpike Auth. v. Jersey Central
Power & Light, 772 F.2d 25, 31 (3d Cir. 1985)).
The BOP Administrative Remedy Program is a multi-tier
process. See 28 C.F.R. § 542.10. An inmate must initially
attempt to informally resolve the issue with institutional staff.
See 28 C.F.R. § 542.13(a). If informal resolution fails or is
waived, an inmate may submit an appeal to the warden. See 28
The sole argument offered by Petitioner derives from his
lengthy prison term and his doubts as to his moral stamina to
avoid the life of crime in the event he faces life’s hardships
However, the period of an inmate’s incarceration
is merely one of many factors the BOP is obligated to consider
under § 3621(b) and the Second Chance Act.
Nothing in these
provisions mandates a direct, blind correlation between the RRC
term and the sentence served.
A fortiori, nothing in the Second
Chance Act guarantees an inmate the maximum twelve-month RRC
period or any particular fixed RRC period.
See Lovett v.
Hogsten, 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 28957 (6th Cir. Dec. 29, 2009); see
also Nelson v. Zickefoose, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3757 (D.N.J.
Jan. 9, 2013); Travers v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, 2009 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 110901 (D.N.J. Nov. 30, 2009); Creager v. Chapman,
2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26843 (N.D. Tex. Mar. 22, 2010) (although
Petitioner disagrees with her CCC placement date after
consideration of the § 3621(b) factors, this “does not establish
C.F.R. § 542.14. An inmate who is dissatisfied with the warden’s
response may appeal to the Regional Director of the BOP. See 28
C.F.R. § 542.15(a). The inmate unsatisfied with the Regional
Director’s response may appeal to the BOP’s General Counsel
(Central Office). See id. Appeal to the Central Office is the
final administrative appeal. See id. Only if all responses are
not received by the inmate within the time allotted for reply,
“the inmate may consider the absence of a response to be a denial
at that level.” 28 C.F.R. § 542.18. Here, Petitioner did not
appeal the Regional Director’s response to the Central Office.
Therefore, his Petition is also subject to dismissal on that
ground. Such dismissal is, typically, without prejudice. Here,
however, it is a distinction without a difference.
a constitutional violation, as nothing in the Second Chance Act
or § 3621(b) entitles Petitioner or any other prisoner to any
guaranteed placement in [an RRC]” and “‘the duration of RRC
placement is a matter to which the BOP retains discretionary
authority’”) (citations and quotation omitted); Wires v. Bledsoe,
2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9094 (M.D. Pa. Feb.3, 2010) (“even if the
petitioner’s unit team recommended significantly less than six
months (only 60 days) in [an RRC], there is no basis to infer
that their discretion was “abused”).
position that his rights were violated by an RRC period shorter
than that he desired is without merit.3
Hence, his Petition is
also subject to dismissal on that ground.4
Therefore, the Petition will be dismissed.
An appropriate Order accompanies this Opinion.
s/Renée Marie Bumb
RENÉE MARIE BUMB
United States District Judge
Dated: February 19, 2014
The Court also notes its concern with Petitioner’s
statement that, unless he is allowed additional RRC time, he
would commit another crime upon his release. Such blunt attempt
at coercion cannot be rewarded with an additional RRC time.
Furthermore, this matter is subject to dismissal in light
of Petitioner’s failure to apprise this Court of his new address.
See Local Civil Rule 10.1(a) (an unrepresented party must advise
the Court of any change of his address within seven days of being
apprised of such a change and that failure to file such a change
may result in the imposition of sanctions by the Court).
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