United States District Court, D. New Jersey
Hasan Alfred, Petitioner pro se
Caroline A. Sadlowski, AUSA Kristen Lynn Vassallo, AUSA
Office of the U.S. Attorney District of New Jersey Attorney
for Respondent David Ortiz
B. SIMANDLE U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Jamal Hasan Alfred's
petition for writ of habeas corpus challenging a disciplinary
proceeding at FCI Fort Dix. Petition, Docket Entry 1.
Respondent David Ortiz opposes the petition.1 Answer, Docket
Entry 8. The petition is being decided on the papers pursuant
to Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 78(b). For the reasons set forth below,
the petition is denied.
is a convicted and sentenced federal prisoner presently
incarcerated in FCI Fort Dix, New Jersey. On April 11, 2015,
Petitioner was leaving the Fort Dix kitchen area when a
corrections officer conducted a random pat-down search.
According to the Incident Report, the officer found
Petitioner “had 3 ten pound bags of liquid eggs,
secured to his body with a home-made waist band with his
number on it, hidden under his clothes and jacket.”
Incident Report, Respondent's Document 2a, § 11. He
was charged with violating Code 219, stealing. Id.
§ 9. See also 28 C.F.R. § 541.3.
Petitioner received a copy of the report on April 11, 2015 at
2:35 pm. Incident Report §§ 15-16. Petitioner
declined to make a statement after being advised of his
rights, and the matter was referred to the Unit Discipline
Committee (“UDC”) for a hearing. Id.
conducted a preliminary review and concluded that Petitioner
had committed the offense of stealing. Id. §
20. It recommended the loss of Petitioner's job,
preferred housing, and 1 Jordan Hollingsworth was warden of
FCI Fort Dix at the time the petition was filed. The Court
substitutes current warden David Ortiz as respondent.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 25(d). good time credits. Id. The UDC
referred the report to a Discipline Hearing Officer
(“DHO”) for a full hearing. Id.
Petitioner received notice of the DHO hearing on April 14,
2015. Notice of Discipline Hearing, Respondent's Document
2c. He indicated he wanted Officer Collins from Food Service
to appear as his staff representative. Id. He waived
his right to present witnesses. Id.
hearing was held on April 28, 2015. DHO Report,
Respondent's Document 2d § I.B. When Petitioner
arrived at the hearing, the DHO informed him that Officer
Collins had declined to act as Petitioner's
representative. Officer Collins indicated “it would be
detrimental for inmate Alfred, Jamal Hasan to have [him] as a
representative do [sic] to the knowledge of prior
stealing.” Duties of Staff Representative,
Respondent's Document 2e. The DHO offered to reschedule
the hearing so Petitioner could obtain another
representative, but Petitioner declined the offer. DHO Report
§ II.C. He instead elected to waive staff representation
and to proceed with the hearing as scheduled. Id.
did not call any witnesses during the hearing. He argued:
“‘There was not ten pounds of liquid eggs, [the
reporting officer] is exaggerating. The strap belt was
medically issued to me.'” Id. §
III.B. The DHO considered this argument as well as the
Incident Report and photographs of the three liquid egg
containers and the strap belt. Id. § III.D;
Photo Sheet. After considering Petitioner's argument and
the documentary evidence, the DHO concluded Petitioner had
committed the offense of stealing. DHO Report § V. He
sanctioned Petitioner to the loss of 27 days good-time
credit, loss of commissary privileges for 60 days, and the
loss of his job and preferred housing for one year.
Id. § VII.
appealed the findings via the Bureau of Prisons'
(“BOP”) administrative remedy process. He denied
the DHO's assertion that he admitted to stealing.
“I assert that I am innocent of the charge against me.
. . . I was accused of having ‘3 ten pound bags of
liquid eggs secured to [my] body.' However, as I stated
to the Hearing Officer, ‘I did not have three 10 pound
bags of eggs. In fact, there are no 10 pound bags of
eggs.'” Regional Appeal, Respondent's Document
1b (alteration in original). He attached a label from a
scrambled egg mix indicating it weighed 5 pounds.
Id. He also argued his due process rights were
violated when Officer Collins declined to represent him and
told the DHO about having knowledge about Petitioner's
prior acts of theft. Id. The Regional Director
denied the appeal, as did the Central Office.
filed this habeas corpus petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241 on May 13, 2016. Respondent submitted its answer
on December 9, 2016. Petitioner did not submit a traverse.
The matter is now ripe for decision.
prisoners serving a term of imprisonment of more than one
year have a statutory right to receive credit toward their
sentence for good conduct. When such a statutorily created
right exists, a prisoner has a constitutionally protected
liberty interest in good time credit.” Denny v.
Schultz,708 F.3d 140, 143-44 (3d Cir. 2013) (internal
citations and quotation marks omitted). “Due process
protections attach in prison disciplinary proceedings in
which the loss of good-time credits is at stake.”
McGee v. Schism, 463 F. App'x 61, 63 (3d Cir.
2013) (per curiam). In assessing whether ...