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JAMES v. DeROSA

September 14, 2005.

HASSAN JAMES, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN C.J. DeROSA, et al., Respondents.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JEROME SIMANDLE, District Judge

OPINION

Petitioner Hassan James, a prisoner confined at the Federal Correctional Institution at Fort Dix, New Jersey, has submitted a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241.*fn1 I. BACKGROUND*fn2

On September 6, 2002, Petitioner was sentenced here in the District of New Jersey to a term of imprisonment of 52 months imprisonment to be followed by three years supervised release, pursuant to his conviction for conspiracy to utter counterfeit United States currency, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, and possession of counterfeit checks, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 513(a).

  Petitioner participated in the Residential Drug Abuse Treatment at FCI Fort Dix. See 18 U.S.C. 3621(e). On November 7, 2002, however, Petitioner was advised that he would not be eligible for early release upon successful completion of the program because a detainer had been lodged against him by the State of New Jersey, based upon a New Jersey sentence he was serving concurrently to the federal sentence. Petitioner successfully completed the Residential Drug Abuse Treatment program on May 3, 2004.

  Petitioner contends that the Respondent wardens and Bureau of Prisons have abused their discretion and failed to follow written procedures and policies by not considering him for early release in connection with his successful completion of the Residential Drug Abuse Treatment program.

  Respondents have answered that the Petition should be dismissed, because Petitioner failed to exhaust his administrative remedies, and they also have responded on the merits. Petitioner has replied that exhaustion of his administrative remedies would be futile.

  II. STANDARDS FOR A PRO SE PETITION

  United States Code Title 28, Section 2243 provides in relevant part as follows:
A court, justice or judge entertaining an application for a writ of habeas corpus shall forthwith award the writ or issue an order directing the respondent to show cause why the writ should not be granted, unless it appears from the application that the applicant or person detained is not entitled thereto.
  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 pro se habeas petition and any supporting submissions 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 General, 878 F.2d 714, 721-22 (3d Cir. 1989); United States v. Brierley, 414 F.2d 552, 555 (3d Cir. 1969), cert. denied, 399 U.S. 912 (1970). III. ANALYSIS

  A. Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies

  All parties are in agreement that Petitioner has not exhausted his administrative remedies.*fn3

  Although 28 U.S.C. § 2241 contains no statutory exhaustion requirement, a federal prisoner ordinarily may not bring a petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, challenging the execution of his sentence, until he has exhausted all available administrative remedies. See, e.g., Callwood v. Enos, 230 F.3d 627, 634 (3d Cir. 2000); Arias v. United States Parole Comm'n, 648 F.2d 196, 199 (3d Cir. 1981); Soyka v. Alldredge, 481 F.2d 303, 306 (3d Cir. 1973). The exhaustion doctrine promotes a number of goals: (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 (3) providing agencies the opportunity to correct their own errors fosters administrative autonomy.

 Goldberg v. Beeler, 82 F.Supp.2d 302, 309 (D.N.J. 1999), aff'd, 248 F.3d 1130 (3d Cir. 2000). See also Moscato v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, 98 F.3d 757, 761 (3d Cir. 1996). Nevertheless, exhaustion of administrative remedies is not required where exhaustion would not promote these goals. See, e.g., Gambino v. Morris, 134 F.3d 156, 171 (3d Cir. 1998) (exhaustion not required where petitioner demonstrates futility); Lyons v. U.S. Marshals, 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 irreparable harm"); Carling v. Peters, 2000 WL 1022959, *2 (E.D. Pa. 2000) (exhaustion not required where delay would subject petitioner to "irreparable injury").

  Similarly, exhaustion of administrative remedies is not required where the issue presented involves only statutory construction, because there is no need for an administrative agency to develop a factual record or to apply its expertise with respect to the circumstances presented. See Bradshaw v. Carlson, 682 F.2d 1050, 1052 (3d Cir. 1981) (citing U.S. ex re. Marrero v. Warden, Lewisburg Penitentiary, 483 F.2d 656, 659 (3d Cir. 1973), rev'd on other grounds, 417 U.S. 653 (1974)).

  Here, there is no dispute or uncertainty as to the operative facts. Petitioner was denied early release pursuant to established Bureau of Prisons policies. Respondents do not suggest that those policies left open the possibility of the exercise of discretion that would have permitted Petitioner to be granted early release. To the contrary, the sole issue is the validity of the policy categorically excluding Petitioner from consideration for early release, as described more fully below. Accordingly, it does not appear that the goals of the exhaustion policy would be ...


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