United States District Court, D. New Jersey
B. KUGLER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Edward Kaplan (“Petitioner”) is a federal
prisoner currently incarcerated at FCI Fort Dix, in Fort Dix,
New Jersey. He is proceeding pro se with a petition
for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241.
Specifically, Petitioner alleges that a Bureau of Prisons
(“BOP”) counselor acted outside his scope of
authority when he set a payment schedule amending
Petitioner's quarterly payment schedule under the Inmate
Financial Responsibility Program (“IFRP”) and
then improperly placed Petitioner in refusal status when
Petitioner rejected the amended payment schedule. The
petition is ripe for disposition, and for the reasons
outlined below, the petition will be denied.
October 8, 2010, Petitioner was sentenced in the United
States District Court for the Eastern District of
Pennsylvania to 120 months of incarceration for the following
offenses: one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, in
violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846; three counts of
distribution and possession with intent to distribute cocaine
and aiding and abetting, in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(B), (b)(1)(C), and 18 U.S.C.
§ 2; and one count of distribution and possession with
intent to distribute cocaine near a school, in violation of
21 U.S.C. § 860. (ECF No. 3, Ex. 5 at pp. 1-2).
of his sentence, the District Court ordered Petitioner to pay
an assessment of $400.00 and a fine of $25, 000.00.
(Id. at p. 6). Regarding the payment of the special
assessment and fine, the District Court noted:
The fine is due immediately. It is recommended that the
defendant participate in the Bureau of Prisons Inmate
Financial Responsibility Program and provide a minimum
payment of $25.00 per quarter towards the fine. In the event
the fine is not paid prior to the commencement of
supervision, the defendant shall satisfy the amount due in
monthly installments of not less than $100.00, to commence 30
days after release from confinement.
(Id. at p. 7). The District Court did not order
Petitioner to pay any restitution. (Id. at p. 6).
October 23, 2013, while confined at FCI Schuylkill,
Petitioner entered into an IFRP plan wherein he agreed to pay
$25.00 per quarter to satisfy his financial obligation. (ECF
No. 3, Ex. 7). The plan provided that Petitioner was to begin
making payments in December 2013. (Id.). On August
11, 2015, Petitioner was transferred to FCI Fort Dix. (ECF
No. 3, Ex. 6). Petitioner continued on the same financial
plan whereby he continued to make a minimum $25.00 payment
per quarter. (ECF No. 3, Ex. 9; ECF No. 4, Exs. 5-8).
November 25, 2015, Petitioner was offered a revised IFRP plan
for payments of $125 per month toward his monetary penalties.
(ECF No. 3, Ex. 8). Respondents contend that the payment
amount was arrived at by considering Petitioner's
financial capacity, specifically his six-month deposit
balance and account balance. (ECF No. 3 at pp. 4-5).
Petitioner voiced his disagreement with the revised payment
amount and refused to sign the plan. (ECF No. 3, Ex. 8). As a
result, Petitioner was placed in “FRP Refuse”
status. (ECF No. 3, Ex. 9).
pursued an administrative appeal of his sanction. Petitioner
filed a BP-8 informal resolution form with his counselor
requesting to be removed from “FRP Refuse”
status. (ECF No. 1, Ex. 1). On October 4, 2016, Petitioner
filed a BP-9 with the Warden requesting to be taken off
“FRP Refuse” status and asserting that his
counselor did not have authority to increase his IFRP
payments or renegotiate an existing IFRP plan. (ECF No. 1,
Ex. 2). On October 20, 2016, the Warden denied
Petitioner's request. (ECF No. 1, Ex. 3). On November 6,
2016, Petitioner appealed to the Regional Director by
submitting a BP-10 form. (ECF No. 1, Ex. 4). The Regional
Director denied Petitioner's appeal on December 6, 2016.
(ECF No. 1, Ex. 5). On December 29, 2016, Petitioner appealed
to the Central Office, however his appeal was rejected as
incomplete on January 9, 2017. (ECF No. 1, Exs. 5-6).
Petitioner re-filed his corrected BP-11 with the Central
Office on February 15, 2017. (ECF No. 3 at p. 5). On April
13, 2017, the Central Office denied Petitioner's appeal.
(ECF No. 6, Ex. 1).
filed his habeas petition on February 23, 2017, arguing that
the sentencing court failed to establish a payment schedule
for Petitioner's fine and authority to establish a
payment schedule may not be delegated to the BOP. (ECF No. 1
at pp. 6-7, 11-12). Additionally, Petitioner argues that his
counselor at FCI Fort Dix acted outside the scope of his
authority by altering Petitioner's financial plan and
placing Petitioner in refusal status for failing to sign the
new plan. (Id. at p. 7). In response, Respondent
contends that Petitioner failed to properly exhaust his
administrative remedies because Petitioner filed his habeas
petition prior to receiving a final response from his appeal
to the Central Office. (ECF No. 3 at pp. 5-6). Additionally,
Respondent argues that Petitioner's claims fail on the
merits as the BOP properly determined a payment schedule for
Petitioner's monetary penalty. (Id. at pp.
7-11). In response, Petitioner filed a “motion to
amend” his petition, which the Court construes as a
traverse. (ECF No. 4).
habeas corpus review under § 2241 allows a federal
prisoner to challenge the “execution of his
sentence.” Woodall v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons,
432 F.3d 235, 241 (3d Cir. 2005). A habeas corpus petition
may be brought by a prisoner who seeks to challenge either
the fact or duration of his confinement in prison.
Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 494 (1973),
Telford v. Hepting, 980 F.2d 745, 748 (3d Cir.
1993). Federal habeas corpus review is available only
“where the ...