United States District Court, D. New Jersey
FRANCISCO E. LOPEZ-NEGRON, Petitioner,
DAVID ORTIZ, Respondent.
B. KUGLER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Francisco E. Lopez-Negron, 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. Respondent filed an
Answer opposing relief (ECF No. 6), and Petitioner did not
file a reply. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will
dismiss the Petition.
case arises from a disciplinary hearing during
Petitioner's incarceration at FCI Fort Dix. On February
6, 2016, officials observed Petitioner place what appeared to
be a cellphone in a jacket hanging on Petitioner's bunk.
After conducting a search of the jacket, officials recovered
a cell phone and issued an incident report charging
Petitioner with possession of a hazardous tool, in violation
of Bureau of Prisons Code 108,  delivered the report to
Petitioner, and advised him of his rights.
same day, the investigating official referred the incident
report to the Unit Discipline Committee (“UDC”).
On February 11, 2016, after an initial hearing before the
UDC, the UDC referred the incident report to a Discipline
Hearing Officer (“DHO”), and again advised
Petitioner of his rights.
February 26, 2016, the DHO held a hearing and again advised
Petitioner of his rights. Petitioner confirmed that he did
not want a staff representative and did not wish to call any
witnesses. At the hearing, Petitioner stated that the jacket
and cell phone did not belong to him.
considered Petitioner's statements in reaching a
decision, as well as: the incident report; the chain of
custody log for the cell phone; a memorandum from a second
officer who observed Petitioner place the phone in the
jacket; and a photo of the cellphone.
considering all of the evidence, the DHO concluded that
Petitioner committed the act of possessing a dangerous tool,
in violation of Code 108. The DHO then issued the following
sanctions: (1) revocation of forty days of good conduct time;
(2) fifteen days of disciplinary segregation; (3) loss of
email privileges for twelve months; and (4) loss of phone
privileges for twelve months.
parties dispute what transpired next. According to
Petitioner, he mailed his appeal to the regional
director of the Bureau of Prisons
(“BOP”), on May 13, 2016, within the twenty-day
time limit to appeal. Petitioner did not receive a response
and assumed that the regional director denied his appeal.
Thereafter, Petitioner filed an appeal of that assumed
denial, to the BOP central office, who rejected his appeal
for, among other things, failing to first appeal to the
regional director. Petitioner appears to have filed a second
appeal at the central office level and received a similar
November 7, 2016, Petitioner filed another appeal to the
regional director, who denied the filing as untimely.
Petitioner contends that the post office or the regional
director's office itself, must have lost his original and
timely May 13, 2016, appeal.
then filed the instant Petition, requesting that the Court
issue an order directing the regional director to decide
Petitioner's administrative appeal on the merits.
Respondent filed an Answer (ECF No. 6), and Petitioner did
not file a reply.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
hold pro se pleadings to less stringent standards
than more formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. See
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976). Courts must
construe pro se habeas petitions and any supporting
submissions liberally and with a measure of tolerance.
See Royce v. Hahn, 151 F.3d 116, 118 (3d Cir. 1998).
Court does not dismiss the petition at the screening stage,
the Court “must review the answer, any transcripts and
records . . . to determine whether” the matter warrants
an evidentiary hearing. Rule 8(a) of the Rules Governing
Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts (made
applicable to proceedings under § 2241 by Rule 1(b)).
“Whether to order a hearing is within the sound
discretion of the trial court, ” and depends on whether
the hearing “would have the potential to advance the
petitioner's claim.” Campbell v. Vaughn,209 F.3d 280, 287 (3d Cir. 2000); States ...