Quinjano v. United States Parole Commission
MEMORANDUM and ORDER adopting 9 Report and Recommendation of Magistrate Judge Blewitt; Overruling objection and DENYING the petition for writ of habeas corpus; Clerk of Court is directed to CLOSE case; A certificate of appealability shall not issue. Signed by Honorable James M. Munley on 7/29/11 (sm, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
FREDDY AGUILERA QUINJANO,
UNITED STATES PAROLE
Before the court is Petitioner Freddy Aguilera Quinjano’s objection
(Doc. 10) to Magistrate Judge Thomas M. Blewitt’s recommendation (Doc.
9) that the petition for a writ of habeas corpus (Doc. 1) pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2241 be denied. Having been briefed, the matter is ripe for
Petitioner Freddy Aguilera Quinjano (“Petitioner”) is a prisoner at the
Schuylkill Federal Correctional Institution in Minersville, Pennsylvania (“FCI
Schuylkill”). (Pet. (Doc. 1)). Petitioner is currently serving a life sentence
imposed by this court, the Honorable Judge Malcolm Muir, on August 11,
1997, for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute in excess of five
kilograms of cocaine and aiding and abetting. (Sentence Monitoring
Computation Data for Case No. 4:96cr201-002 (Doc. 7-1 at 7-21)); 21
U.S.C. § 846; 18 U.S.C. § 2.
Petitioner is also serving three terms of imprisonment of various
lengths, for Case Numbers 87cr710, 87cr255, and 85cr98-13-G. On July
15, 1988 Petitioner was sentenced by the United States District Court for
the Southern District of Florida to a term of thirty years imprisonment with
no parole for conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute at least
five kilograms of cocaine. (Sentence Monitoring Computation Data for
Case No. 87cr710 (Doc. 7-1 at 7-21)); 21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(A)(1),
On August 16, 1989 Petitioner was sentenced by the United States
District Court for the Northern District of New York to a term of thirty years
imprisonment with no parole for continuing criminal enterprise, unlawful
possession, manufacture, and possession with intent to distribute cocaine.
(Sentence Monitoring Computation Data for Case No. 87cr255 (Doc. 7-1 at
7-21)); 21 U.S.C. §§ 848, 841(A). This thirty year term was imposed
consecutive to Petitioner’s term under Case Number 87cr710, above.1
On June 25, 1990 Petitioner was sentenced by the United States
District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina to a term of fifteen
years imprisonment for conspiracy to manufacture and possess with intent
to distribute cocaine hydrochloride. (Sentence Monitoring Computation
Data for Case No. 85cr98-13-G (Doc. 7-1 at 7-21)); 21 U.S.C. §§ 846,
841(A)(1). This fifteen year term was imposed concurrent with Petitioner’s
term under Case Number 87cr255.
Petitioner’s Sentence Monitoring Computation Data indicates that
Petitioner’s total term in effect for Case Numbers 87cr710, 87cr255, and
85cr98-13-G is sixty years. (Sentence Monitoring Computation Data (Doc.
7-1 at 7-21)). Petitioner is not eligible for parole or a parole hearing under
this computation. (Id.) These determinations underlie the petition for a writ
Petitioner was sentenced to thirty years with no parole, consecutive
to Case Number 87cr710 on Count I. On each of Counts III, IV, and V
Petitioner was sentenced to twenty years, concurrent with one another and
with Count I, but consecutive to Case Number 87cr710. The court also
imposed special parole terms of three years on Counts III, IV, and V, to run
concurrent with one another. (Sentence Monitoring Computation Data for
Case No. 87cr255 (Doc. 7-1 at 7-21)).
of habeas corpus.
By way of letter, the U.S. Parole Commission, responding to
Petitioner’s letter of October 15, 2010, explains that Petitioner was
“sentenced to a non-parolable term” and therefore is ineligible for parole
consideration. (Pet’r Ex. E (Doc. 1-2 at 9)). The letter states that “[t]he
U.S. Parole Commission has no jurisdiction over inmates serving Federal
or D.C. Code “new law” non-[parolable] sentences or state sentences.”
(Id.) BOP records indicate that Petitioner has not filed an administrative
remedy with respect to the computation of his sentence. (Joseph
McCluskey Decl., Ex. A., ¶ 8).
On February 25, 2011, the Petitioner filed a petition for a writ of
habeas corpus. (Doc. 1). On March 2, 2011, the government was ordered
to respond. (Doc. 4). The government responded to the petition and on
April 7, 2011 the magistrate judge issued a report and recommendation
(Doc. 9). The magistrate judge recommends that the petition be dismissed
for the petitioner’s failure to exhaust his administrative remedies. (Id.) On
April 19, 2011 the petitioner filed his objections to the report and
recommendation. (Doc. 10). The government responded on May 6, 2011,
bringing the case to its present posture. (Doc. 11).
Because this case is brought under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (“Section
2241"), the court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. (“The
district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under
the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.”). Section 2241
“confers jurisdiction on district courts to issue writs of habeas corpus in
response to a petition from a state or federal prisoner who ‘is in custody in
violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.’”
Coady v. Vaughn, 251 F.3d 480, 484 (3d Cir. 2001). The federal habeas
statute also requires that the petitioner be in custody “under the conviction
or sentence under attack at the time his petition is filed.” Lee v. Stickman,
357 F.3d 338, 342 (3d Cir. 2004) (quoting Maleng v. Cook, 490 U.S. 488,
Section 2241, unlike other federal habeas statutes, “confers habeas
jurisdiction to hear the petition of a federal prisoner who is challenging not
the validity but the execution of his sentence.” Coady, 251 F.3d at 485.
(quoting 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241(a) and (c)(3)). Although the Third Circuit Court
of Appeals has yet to clearly define the meaning of “execution” in this
context, it has cited approvingly holdings from other circuits finding that a
Section 2241 motion properly challenges “‘such matters as the
administration of parole, computation of a prisoner's sentence by prison
officials, prison disciplinary actions, prison transfers, type of detention and
prison conditions.’” Woodall v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 432 F.3d 235, 242
(3d Cir. 2005) (quoting Jimian v. Nash, 245 F.3d 144, 147 (2d Cir. 2001)).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
In disposing of objections to a magistrate judge’s report and
recommendation, the district court must make a de novo determination of
those portions of the report to which objections are made. 28 U.S.C. § 636
(b)(1)(C); see also Henderson v. Carlson, 812 F.2d 874, 877 (3d Cir.
1987). This court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the
findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge. The district
court judge may also receive further evidence or recommit the matter to the
magistrate judge with instructions. Id.
A pro se pleading is held to less stringent standards than more
formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106
(1976); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). A habeas petition and
any supporting submissions filed pro se must be construed liberally and
with a measure of tolerance. See Royce v. Hahn, 151 F.3d 116, 118 (3d
Cir. 1998); Lewis v. Attorney Gen., 878 F.2d 714, 721-22 (3d Cir. 1989).
However, a federal district court can dismiss a habeas petition if it appears
from the face of the petition that the petitioner is not entitled to relief. See
Lonchar v. Thomas, 517 U.S. 314, 320 (1996); Siers v. Ryan, 773 F.2d 37,
45 (3d Cir.1985), cert. denied, 490 U.S. 1025 (1989). See also 28 U.S.C.
§§ 2243, 2255.
For reasons explained below, it is not necessary to describe the
merits underlying the petition for a writ of habeas corpus. To summarize,
however, Petitioner claims that, with respect to his sentences for Case
Numbers 87cr710, 87cr255, and 85cr98-13-G, he should be eligible for
parole after serving twenty-three years and five months. (Pet. 5 (Doc. 1)).
The BOP has calculated an effective term of sixty years for these
sentences. Petitioner asks this court to direct the BOP to recalculate his
sentences and direct the Parole Commission to set a parole hearing.
(Pet’r Traverse 5 (Doc. 8)).
Respondent argues that Petitioner has not filed an administrative
remedy with respect to the calculation of his parole eligibility. Petitioner, in
his traverse, attempts to re-frame his challenge, not as a challenge to the
computation or calculation of his sentence by the BOP, but as only seeking
a parole hearing date with the Parole Commission. (Pet’r Traverse 3 (Doc.
8)). Magistrate Judge Blewitt, in his report and recommendation, agrees
with the Parole Commission and recommends that the petition for a writ of
habeas corpuse be dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative
remedies. In objecting to the report and recommendation, Petitioner
reiterates that he “is challenging not the validity of the computation of his
sentences by the Bureau of Prisons (‘BOP’), but the United States Parole
Commission[‘s] decision on his request for a parole hearing date. . .” (Pet’r
Obj. 2 (Doc. 10).
Although Section 2241 does not contain a statutory exhaustion
requirement, courts in the Third Circuit have consistently required a
petitioner to exhaust his administrative remedies prior to petitioning for a
writ of habeas corpus. Moscato v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 98 F.3d 757,
760 (3d Cir.1996) (citing Bradshaw v. Carlson, 682 F.2d 1050, 1052 (3d
Cir.1981) (per curiam)); e.g., Callwood v. Enos, 230 F.3d 627, 634 (3d Cir.
2000). The Third Circuit requires administrative exhaustion for habeas
claims raised under Section 2241 because “(1) allowing the appropriate
agency to develop a factual record and apply its expertise facilitates
judicial review; (2) permitting agencies to grant the relief requested
conserves judicial resources; and [because] (3) providing agencies the
opportunity to correct their own errors fosters administrative autonomy.”
Moscato, 98 F.3d at 761-62 (citations omitted).
The BOP has a three-level Administrative Remedy Program that is
available to inmates for “review of an issue which relates to any aspect of
their confinement.” 28 C.F.R. § 542.10. An inmate must first attempt
informally to resolve the issue with institutional staff. 28 C.F.R. §
542.13(a). If the concern is not informally resolved, an inmate may file an
appeal to the Warden of the institution where he is confined. 28 C.F.R. §
542.14. An inmate may then further appeal an adverse decision to the
Regional Director. 28 C.F.R. § 542.15(a). Finally, the inmate may make
an administrative appeal to the BOP’s Central Office. Id. No
administrative remedy appeal is considered to have been fully exhausted
until it has been denied by the Bureau of Prisons’s Central Office. Id. If
the inmate receives no response 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.
However, there are instances where exhaustion may be excused.
The Supreme Court recognizes that: “‘it is a principle controlling all habeas
corpus petitions to the federal courts, that those courts will interfere with
the administration of justice . . . only in rare cases where exceptional
circumstances of peculiar urgency are shown to exist.’” Rose v. Lundy,
455 U.S. 509, 515-16 (1982) (quoting Ex parte Hawk, 321 U.S. 114, 117
(1944)) (internal quotations and footnote omitted)); e.g. Gambino v. Morris,
134 F.3d 156, 171 (3d Cir. 1998) (exhaustion of administrative remedies
not required where petitioner demonstrates futility); Lyons v. U.S.
Marshalls, 840 F.2d 202, 205 (3d Cir. 1988) (exhaustion may be excused
where it “ would be futile,  if the actions of the agency clearly and
unambiguously violate statutory or constitutional rights, or  if the
administrative procedure is clearly shown to be inadequate to prevent
The petitioner essentially argues that exhaustion is either
inapplicable to his challenge, satisfied or futile. (Pet’r Traverse 5 (Doc. 8)
(“In the instant case, Petitioner [is] not challenging to the BOP his sentence
computation or the calculation of his sentences. Petitioner to file his writ of
habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 was not required for him to
exhausted the BOP’s Administrative Remedy process [sic]. Exhaustion is
not required when Petitioner can demonstrate that the exhaustion is
futile.”). The petitioner contends that when “he attached to the petition the
USPC’s decision, [he] complied with the statutory EXHAUSTION
requirement under 28 U.S.C. § 2241.” (Pet’rs Obj. 3 (Doc. 10)).
We disagree with Petitioner. First, it is clear that the Parole
Commission’s refusal to schedule a parole hearing is based on the BOP’s
computation of Petitioner’s sentence. Thus, Petitioner is necessarily
challenging the “validity and computation of his sentences” by the BOP
when he requests that this court order the BOP to recalculate his
sentences and order the Parole Commission to schedule a parole hearing.
That being the case, it is clear that the Third Circuit’s exhaustion
requirement applies to the Petitioner in this case.
It is also clear that the exhaustion requirement has not been satisfied
in this case. Were this court to find that the Parole Commission’s denial of
Petitioner’s parole hearing request satisfied the exhaustion requirement,
Petitioner would effectively be allowed to evade the exhaustion
requirement, undercutting the purposes of the requirement. See Moscato,
98 F.3d at 761-62 (citations omitted) (utilizing agency expertise, conserving
judicial resources, and promoting autonomous error correction by the
agency). Finally, it is not clear how exhaustion would be futile in this case
and Petitioner has not made any factual or legal argument that it would be.
Accordingly, the court will dismiss the petition for a writ of habeas corpus
pursuant to Section 2241 for failure to exhaust administrative remedies.2
An appropriate order follows.
Because the court finds that Quinjano’s petition for a writ of habeas
corpus shall be denied for failure to exhaust administrative remedies, the
merits of his claim will not be addressed in this proceeding.
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
FREDDY AGUILERA QUINJANO,
UNITED STATES PAROLE
AND NOW, to wit, this 29th day of July 2011, upon consideration of
Petitioner Freddy Aguilera Quinjano’s objections to Magistrate Judge
Thomas M. Blewitt’s report and recommendation (Doc. 9), it is HEREBY
The objections (Doc. 10) are OVERRULED,
The report and recommendation (Doc. 9) is ADOPTED, and
The petition for a writ of habeas corpus (Doc. 1) pursuant to 28
U.S.C. §§ 2241 is DENIED.
The Clerk of Court is directed to CLOSE this case. A certificate of
appealability shall not issue in this case.
BY THE COURT:
s/ James M. Munley
JUDGE JAMES M. MUNLEY
United States District Court
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