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Bonadonna v. Zickefoose

United States District Court, Third Circuit

November 26, 2013

PHILIP BONADONNA, Petitioner,
v.
DONNA ZICKEFOOSE, et al., Respondent.

Mr. Philip A. Bonadonna, 04722-016, FCI Fort Dix, Fort Dix, NJ, Petitioner pro se.

David Vincent Bober, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Office of the U.S. Attorney, Trenton, NJ, Attorney for Respondents.

OPINION

JEROME B. SIMANDLE, Chief District Judge.

Petitioner Philip A. Bonadonna, a prisoner currently 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. The sole respondent is warden Donna Zickefoose. Respondent filed a Response to the Petition and exhibits including the administrative record of the case (docket entry 9). Petitioner did not reply.

Because it appears from a review of the submissions and record that Petitioner does not have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 to assert his claims, the Petition will be dismissed.

I. BACKGROUND

Petitioner is currently incarcerated at FCI Fort Dix. He does not state the specifics of his conviction, only providing that he began serving a 60 year prison term pursuant to a judgment of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. (Petition, pages 3-4.) The Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") has assigned him a Public Safety Factor ("PSF") of "Greatest Severity" under their inmate classification system. (See Response to Petition, Attachment #1, Declaration of Robin Emmert.) BOP staff made the decision with respect to Petitioner's classification after reviewing Petitioner's Presentence Investigation Report which stated that Petitioner was "the United States leader of a large-scale drug trafficking [and was] responsible for trafficking 450 pounds of marijuana and 10 kilograms of heroin." (Id.)

On October 13, 2011, Petitioner initiated a request process at Fort Dix seeking removal of his PSF classification. Petitioner asserts that the PSF classification based on a 30 year old crime should be removed due to his "exemplary prison behavior." (Petition, page 5.) A PSF classification has no specific time limit. (Response to Petition, Attachment #1, Declaration of Robin Emmert.) (Petition, page 3.) Petitioner asserts that the BOP "abused its discretion when they denied his request to remove his PSF." (Id.)

II. DISCUSSION

A. Jurisdiction

Under 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c), habeas jurisdiction "shall not extend to a prisoner unless... [h]e is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3). A federal court has subject matter jurisdiction under § 2241(c)(3) if two requirements are satisfied: (1) the petitioner is "in custody" and (2) the custody is "in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3); Maleng v. Cook , 490 U.S. 488, 490 (1989). The federal habeas statute 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 , 490 U.S. at 490-91).

This Court has subject matter jurisdiction under § 2241 to consider a petition where the petitioner challenges the fact or duration of his federal sentence, where the petitioner was in custody in New Jersey at the time he filed the Petition, see Burkey v. Marberry , 556 F.3d 142, 145 (3d Cir. 2009); Woodall v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons , 432 F.3d 235, 242-44 (3d Cir. 2005), and he filed his petition in the district of confinement and named the Warden as respondent, see Burkey at 145.

B. The Petition Will Be Dismissed

Petitioner brings his petition challenging his custody classification. A habeas petition is the proper mechanism for an inmate to challenge the "fact or duration" of his confinement, Preiser v. Rodriguez , 411 U.S. 475, 498-99 (1973), including challenges to prison disciplinary proceedings that affect the length of confinement, such as deprivation of good time credits, Muhammad v. Close , 540 U.S. 749 (2004) and Edwards v. Balisok , 520 U.S. 641 (1997). See also Wilkinson v. Dotson , 544 U.S. 74 (2005). Habeas corpus is an appropriate mechanism, also, for a federal prisoner to challenge the execution of his sentence. See Coady v. Vaughn , 251 F.3d 480, 485-86 (3d Cir. 2001); Barden v. Keohane , 921 F.2d 476, 478-79 (3d Cir. 1990). In addition, where a prisoner seeks a "quantum change" in the level of custody, ...


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