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Maffucci v. Ortiz

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

May 5, 2017

WARDEN ORTIZ, Respondent.

          Matthew S. Maffucci Watkins House, Petitioner Pro se

          Jessica Rose O'Neill Office of the U.S. Attorney District Of New Jersey, Counsel for Respondent


          NOEL L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.

         On or about August 6, 2016, Petitioner Matthew S. Maffucci (“Petitioner”), a prisoner then confined at the Federal Correctional Institution (“FCI”) in Fort Dix, New Jersey, filed this Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, challenging an institutional disciplinary decision. (ECF No. 1.) After the Court administratively terminated this matter for failure to submit the required $5 filing fee or a complete in forma pauperis application, Petitioner submitted the filing fee, as well as an Amended Petition. (ECF No. 5.) Respondent Warden Ortiz (“Respondent”) submitted an Answer on February 21, 2017 (ECF No. 7), and Petitioner submitted his Reply thereafter (ECF No. 9). The matter is now fully briefed and the Court has considered all submissions by the parties. For the reasons that follow, the Petition will be denied.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On February 7, 2015, while he was a prisoner at FCI Fort Dix, Petitioner was selected for a random urinalysis test. (Answer, Declaration of Tara Moran (“Moran Decl.”), Ex. 4, Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) Incident Report.) Officer Wright notified Petitioner at 7:15 PM that he had two hours to provide a urine sample for a drug test. (Id.) After several attempts, Petitioner ultimately did not provide a sample. (Id.)

         The officer issued an Incident Report, charging Petitioner with Refusing to Provide a Urine Sample in violation of Code 110. (Id.) The next day, the incident report was provided to Petitioner and he stated that the incident report was accurate as written. (Id.) He further stated that he could not urinate while being observed and that he was not taking any medication, nor did he have any medical condition, which would make it difficult to urinate. (Id.)

         FCI Fort Dix staff investigated the incident report, and a hearing was held before a Unit Discipline Committee (“UDC”) on February 11, 2015. (Id.) At the hearing, Petitioner stated again that he could not provide a urine sample. (Id.) At the conclusion of the hearing, the UDC referred the incident report to the Discipline Hearing Officer (“DHO”) for disposition, and it recommended “sanction that is deemed appropriate by the DHO in order to deter future infraction.” (Id.)

         On February 19, 2015, the DHO conducted a hearing. (Moran Decl., Ex. 7, DHO Report.) At the hearing, Petitioner again stated that he “could not go” during the urinalysis test. (Id.) The DHO also considered a memorandum submitted by Senior Officer M. Martinez and the Incident Report. (Id.) At the conclusion of the hearing, the DHO determined Petitioner committed the prohibited act of Refusing to take a Drug/Breathalyzer test. (Id.) As a result of the DHO's findings, Petitioner was sanctioned with a loss of 40 days of good conduct time, 15 days of disciplinary segregation (suspended 90 days), and 30 days of commissary restriction. (Id.)

         Petitioner appealed the decision of the DHO to the Northeast Regional Office of the Bureau of Prisons on March 5, 2015. (Moran Decl., Ex. 2, Regional Appeal.) Petitioner argued that he did not refuse to provide a urine sample; rather, he was unable to provide one. (Id.) He also argued that he had recently started a medication which lists “trouble urinating” as a possible side effect. (Id.) On April 7, 2015, the Regional Director denied the appeal, noting the Petitioner did not notify staff at the time of the urinalysis test that he was taking medication or that he had medical conditions affecting his urination. (Id.) On May 4, 2015, Petitioner appealed to the Central Office. (Moran Decl., Ex. 3, Central Office Appeal.) In this appeal, Petitioner again claimed he did not refuse, but instead suffers from medical and psychological conditions which caused his inability to urinate. (Id.) Additionally, he again argued that medication may have caused the inability to urinate. (Id.) On May 24, 2015, the Central Office denied the appeal, noting Petitioner did not raise these issues during the investigative phase of the incident report or at the disciplinary hearing. (Id.)

         On November 5, 2016, Petitioner filed the instant Amended Petition. (ECF No. 5.) He raises three grounds for relief:

(1) Warden Ortiz violated Petitioner's Eighth Amendment rights when he punished him for being disabled by causing him to physical pain as a result of drinking excessive amounts of water;
(2) Warden Ortiz violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when he denied Petitioner a reasonable accommodation for his disability;
(3) Warden Ortiz violated Petitioner's rights when he revoked 40 days of Petitioner's Good Time Credit for ...

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