Watson v. Warden - FCI Hazelton
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION: This Court hereby ADOPTS the magistrate judges Report and Recommendation 28 for the reasons stated above. As such, the petitioners Objections 30 are OVERRULED and the respondents Motion for Summary Judgm ent 14 is hereby GRANTED. Accordingly, this Court hereby DENIES and DISMISSES the petitioners § 2241 petition 1 and this matter is ORDERED STRICKEN from the active docket of this Court. As such, this Court DIRECTS the Clerk to enter judgment in favor of the respondent Signed by District Judge John Preston Bailey on 5/11/17. (Attachments: # 1 Certified Mail Return Receipt)(jss)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF WEST VIRGINIA
CURTIS LEE WATSON,
CIVIL ACTION NO. 2:16-cv-76
WARDEN, FCI HAZELTON,
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
On this day, the above-styled matter came before the Court for consideration of the
Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) of United States Magistrate Judge James E. Seibert.
Pursuant to this Court’s Local Rules, this action was referred to Magistrate Judge Seibert
for submission of a proposed R&R. Magistrate Judge Seibert filed his R&R on April 5,
2017 [Doc. 28]. In that filing, the magistrate judge recommended that this Court grant
respondent’s Motion to Dismiss, or In the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc.
14], deny petitioner’s 28 U.S.C. § 2241 motion [Doc. 1], and dismiss this action from the
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(c), this Court is required to make a de novo
review of those portions of the magistrate judge’s findings to which objection is timely
made. However, the Court is not required to review, under a de novo or any other
standard, the factual or legal conclusions of the magistrate judge as to those portions of
the findings or recommendation to which no objections are addressed. Thomas v. Arn,
474 U.S. 140, 150 (1985). In addition, failure to file timely objections constitutes a waiver
of de novo review and the right to appeal this Court's Order. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1);
Snyder v. Ridenour, 889 F.2d 1363, 1366 (4th Cir. 1989); United States v. Schronce,
727 F.2d 91, 94 (4th Cir. 1984).
Here, objections to Magistrate Judge Seibert’s R&R were due within fourteen (14)
days of receipt, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Rule 72(b) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure. The petitioner timely filed his objections [Doc. 30] on April 17, 2017.
Accordingly, this Court will conduct a de novo review of the portions of the magistrate
judge’s R&R to which the petitioner objects. The remainder of the R&R will be reviewed
for clear error.
A. Procedural History:
On September 19, 2016, petitioner Curtis Lee Watson (“Watson”), an inmate at FCI
Hazelton in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia, filed an Application for Habeas Corpus pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (“2241"), seeking an Order directing the Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) to
“ISSUE [his] IMMEDIATE RELEASE!” [Doc. 1 at 8].
On November 23, 2016, the
respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss or in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment
[Doc. 14]. On December 12, 2016, Watson filed a Response in Opposition [Doc. 21] to the
Respondent’s dispositive motion. The instant R&R [Doc. 28] and Watson’s Objections
[Doc. 30] followed.
B. Factual Background:
As Magistrate Judge Seibert did well to outline lengthy factual background of
Watson’s cases in his R&R, the same does not bear repeating at length herein. Of note,
on August 10, 1978, in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia, Watson was
sentenced an aggregate term of 30 years to life for assault with intent to kill; carrying a
pistol without a license; first degree murder while armed; first degree burglary while armed
(two counts); and assault while armed [Doc. 15-1 at 2-5]. However, Watson escaped D.C.
D.O.C. custody while incarcerated at Lorton Penitentiary on August 30, 1988.
remained on escape status until October 30, 1995, and accrued a total 2,618 days total
inoperative time [Doc. 15-6 and 15-8]. Petitioner received a federal one-year consecutive
sentence for this escape [Doc. 15-6 and 15-3].1 The BOP failed to compute Watson’s
escape time as inoperative time in a 2004 computation, which, in turn, showed his parole
eligibility date as being on February 25, 2005, although this error was corrected in a 2007
re-computation which showed his parole eligibility as May 27, 2012. The 2004 miscomputation seems to form the basis of Watson’s complaints herein.
II. Legal Standard
A. Motion to Dismiss:
A complaint must be dismissed if it does not allege “‘enough facts to state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face.’ Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S. Ct. 1955, 1974
(2007) (emphasis added).” Giarratano v. Johnson, 521 F.3d 298, 302 (4th Cir. 2008).
When reviewing a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, the Court must assume all of the allegations to be true, must resolve all doubts
In 1998, after the District of Columbia Board of Parole was abolished by Congress, and
the Lorton Reformatory (where D.C. prisoners had been confined) was closed, Petitioner
was transferred into custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) [Doc. 25 at 4].
and inferences in favor of the plaintiffs, and must view the allegations in a light most
favorable to the plaintiffs. Edwards v. City of Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 243-44 (4th Cir.
When rendering its decision, the Court should consider only the allegations
contained in the Complaint, the exhibits to the Complaint, matters of public record, and
other similar materials that are subject to judicial notice. See Anheuser-Busch, Inc. v.
Schmoke, 63 F.3d 1305, 1312 (4th Cir. 1995). In Twombly, the Supreme Court, noting
that “a plaintiff’s obligation to provide the ‘grounds’ of his ‘entitlement to relief’ requires
more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause
of action will not do,” Id. at 1964-65, upheld the dismissal of a complaint where the
plaintiffs did not “nudge[ ] their claims across the line from conceivable to plausible.” Id.
B. Summary Judgment:
Fed. R. Civ. P. 56 provides that summary judgment is appropriate “if the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits,
if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party
is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” The party seeking summary judgment bears
the initial burden of showing the absence of any genuine issues of material fact. See
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). “The burden then shifts to the
nonmoving party to come forward with facts sufficient to create a triable issue of fact.”
Temkin v. Frederick County Comm’rs, 945 F.2d 716, 718 (4th Cir. 1991), cert. denied,
502 U.S. 1095 (1992) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48
However, as the United States Supreme Court noted in Anderson, “Rule 56(e) itself
provides that a party opposing a properly supported motion for summary judgment may not
rest upon the mere allegations or denials of his pleading, but must set forth specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Id. at 256. “The inquiry performed is the
threshold inquiry of determining whether there is the need for a trial-whether, in other
words, there are any genuine factual issues that properly can be resolved only by a finder
of fact because they may reasonably be resolved in favor of either party.” Id. at 250; see
also Charbonnages de France v. Smith, 597 F.2d 406, 414 (4th Cir. 1979) (Summary
judgment “should be granted only in those cases where it is perfectly clear that no issue
of fact is involved and inquiry into the facts is not desirable to clarify the application of the
law.” (citing Stevens v. Howard D. Johnson Co., 181 F.2d 390, 394 (4th Cir. 1950)). In
reviewing the supported underlying facts, all inferences must be viewed in the light most
favorable to the party opposing the motion. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith
Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). Additionally, the party opposing summary
judgment “must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the
material facts.” Id. at 586. That is, once the movant has met its burden to show absence
of material fact, the party opposing summary judgment must then come forward with
affidavits or other evidence demonstrating there is indeed a genuine issue for trial. Fed.
R. Civ. P. 56(c); Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 323-25; Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. “If the
evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be
granted.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249 (citations omitted).
As Magistrate Judge Seibert noted in his R&R, “Watson’s claims are, in places, so
unclearly stated that they are difficult to sort.” [Doc. 28 at 10]. The United States District
Court for the District of Columbia similarly noted, in another of Watson’s nearly identical
filings in another, yet related matter, that, “[i]t is no easy task to decipher the claims
[Watson] presents.” Watson v. United States Parole Com’n, 869 F.Supp.2d 145, 148
(D.D.C. 2012). The same must be said of Watson’s Objections [Doc. 30] in this matter,
which includes two-pages of rambling objections, and eighteen pages of legal filings
related to his argument that his parole was improperly computed. Nowhere within his
Objections does petitioner rebut the Magistrate Judge’s finding that the “abuse of writ”
doctrine must be applied to his claims, because they have been raised and adjudicated in
previous cases [Doc. 28 at 14-16; see also Kuhlmann v. Wilson, 477 U.S. 436, 444 n.6
(1986) (finding a court may dismiss a subsequent petition when “a prisoner files a petition
raising grounds that were available but not relied upon in a prior petition, or engages in
other conduct that dis-entitles him to the relief he seeks”)].
Instead, Watson implicitly admits that he has, “MADE A (sic) ARGUMENT FOR
MORE THAN THREE DECADES, THAT THE USE OF GUIDELINES THAT WERE NOT
IN EFFECT WHEN THIS D.C. PRISONER WAS SENTENCED VIOLATES THE EX-POSTFACTOR (sic) CLAUSE OF THE UNITED STATES FEDERAL CONSTITUTION” [Doc. 30
at 1]. As Magistrate Judge Seibert noted previously, all of Watson’s claims amount to
arguments that his sentence was improperly calculated [Doc. 28 at 14]. Those claims are
nearly identical to those denied by this district, the District Court for the District of
Columbia, the Middle District of Florida, and the Eleventh Circuit when considering
petitioner’s previous § 2241 petitions. See Watson v. O’Brien, 2015 WL 1038989 (N.D.
W.Va. March 10, 2015) (Keeley, J) (denying Watson’s petition as meritless and
successive); Watson, 869 F.Supp.2d at 148-49 (holding that the United States Parole
Commission’s retroactive application of its own guidelines did not violate prisoner’s right
not to be subject to ex post facto laws); Watson v. Warden, FCC Coleman-USP I, 2015
WL 78775 (M.D. Fla. Jan. 6, 2015) (holding that Watson’s claim that the BOP
miscalculated his sentence is successive, citing Watson v. Warden, FCC Coleman-USP
I, 2012 WL 5465993 (M.D. Fla. May 3, 2012) and Watson v. Warden, FCC Coleman-USP
I, 521 F.App’x 899 (11th Cir. 2013)). Accordingly, and for the reasons more fully stated
in the R&R, Watson’s claims are dismissed as successive as they amount to an “abuse of
the writ.” Kuhlmann, 477 U.S. at 444 n.6.
Upon careful review of the record, this Court hereby ADOPTS the magistrate judge’s
Report and Recommendation [Doc. 28] for the reasons stated above. As such, the
petitioner’s Objections [Doc. 30] are OVERRULED and the respondent’s Motion for
Summary Judgment [Doc. 14] is hereby GRANTED. Accordingly, this Court hereby
DENIES and DISMISSES the petitioner’s § 2241 petition [Doc. 1] and this matter is
ORDERED STRICKEN from the active docket of this Court. As such, this Court DIRECTS
the Clerk to enter judgment in favor of the respondent.
It is so ORDERED.
The Clerk is directed to transmit copies of this Order to any counsel of record and
to mail a copy to the pro se petitioner.
DATED: May 11, 2017.
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?