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Luis D. De La Cruz v. Donna Zickefoose

June 29, 2011

LUIS D. DE LA CRUZ, PETITIONER,
v.
DONNA ZICKEFOOSE, RESPONDENT.



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

NOT FOR PUBLICATION

OPINION

Petitioner Luis D. De La Cruz, a prisoner previously 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 The sole respondent is Warden Donna Zickefoose.

I. BACKGROUND

For a number of years, beginning at least in 1999 and continuing until his arrest in 2001, Petitioner Luis D. De La Cruz was involved in the distribution of heroin in and around Lawrence, Massachusetts. See United States v. De La Cruz, 514 F.3d 121, 125-26 (1st Cir. 2008). On February 14, 2006, following his conviction on various drug offenses, Petitioner was sentenced to a term of twenty years' imprisonment to be followed by five years' supervised release. Id. at 128.

At the time of his conviction, Petitioner was classified by the Bureau of Prisons as a deportable alien.*fn2

At the time of his conviction, Petitioner had not earned a high school diploma; therefore, he participated in the Spanish-language GED program from October 10, 2006 to February 28, 2007. On February 28, 2007, having completed 254 instructional hours, Petitioner withdrew from the GED class at the United States Penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia. He was placed in "GED unsatisfactory" status as of that date. On August 11, 2008, while confined at F.C.I. Fort Dix, in New Jersey, Petitioner re-enrolled in the literacy program. On November 5, 2008, Petitioner completed the GED program and earned his GED.

Based on his "GED unsatisfactory" status from February 28, 2007, till August 11, 2008, Petitioner was awarded 42 days good conduct time for the periods from March 22, 2006, through March 21, 2007, (the "2007 GCT") and from March 22, 2007, though March 21, 2008 (the "2008 GCT").*fn3

On April 16, 2010, the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement adjudicated Petitioner's N-600 Application for certificate of citizenship and administered the Oath of allegiance, thereby finalizing Petitioner's U.S. citizenship.

Here, Petitioner asserts that the Bureau of Prisons refused to award him the maximum 54 days good conduct time in 2007 and 2008, arbitrarily and in violation of his due process rights.*fn4

Respondent has answered that the 2007 GCT and 2008 GCT were properly calculated. This matter is now ready for decision.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

"Habeas corpus petitions must meet heightened pleading requirements." McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 856 (1994). A petition must "specify all the grounds for relief" and must set forth "facts supporting each of the grounds thus specified." See Rule 2(c) of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases in the U.S. District Courts (amended Dec. 1, 2004) ("Habeas Rules"), made applicable to § 2241 petitions through Rule 1(b) of the Habeas Rules.

Nevertheless, 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. The Statutory and Regulatory Framework

Federal law provides that federal prisoners may receivecredit toward the service of their sentences for satisfactory behavior, subject to (among other things) an inmate's completion of, or "satisfactory progress" toward, a GED ...


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