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Daniels v. Beasley

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Abilene Division

May 2, 2017

KEVIN DANIELS, Petitioner,
v.
GENE BEASLEY, Warden FCI-Forest City, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Reed O'Conner, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 filed by Petitioner Kevin Daniels, a federal prisoner who was confined at the FCI-Big Spring in Big Spring, Texas, at the time petition was filed.[1] In addition to an amended § 2241 petition, the Court has a response from the Respondent with an Appendix containing the documents related to the disciplinary case challenged in this proceeding. Amend. Pet., ECF No. 10; Response, ECF No.13; Response Appendix (App.), ECF No. 14. Petitioner also filed a reply. Reply, ECF No. 16. After considering all of the pleadings and relief sought by Petitioner, and the applicable law, the Court has concluded that the § 2241 petition must be denied.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Petitioner Kevin Daniels was convicted in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas in cause number 1:08-CR-285-LY, of possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A) and 851, for which he received a sentence of imprisonment of 240 months; along with a conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 942(a)(2), for which he received a concurrent sentence of 120 months. App. at 4-5.[2] By an Executive Grant of Clemency entered on the docket of Daniels's criminal case on October 13, 2016, his total imprisonment term was reduced to 175 months.[3] His projected good conduct time release date is January 27, 2021. See www.bop.gov search of Kevin Daniels, No. 18178-280, last visited May 2, 2017.

         On June 27, 2014, Daniels went to the commissary window at FCI-Big Spring and was told by a correctional officer that it was not his scheduled day to be allowed to shop at the commissary. App., at 12, § 11. The incident report prepared after the event records that Daniels yelled and cursed at the officer and threw his shopping list at the officer, striking the officer's right hand. Id. The incident report charged Daniels with “assaulting any person, ” in violation of Bureau of Prisons (BOP) disciplinary code 224, and “insolence toward a staff member, ” in violation of BOP disciplinary code 312. Id. at 12, §§ 9-10.

         An investigation of the incident report was conducted later that day. Id. at 13, § 22. Daniels was advised of his rights and voluntarily made a statement to the investigator:

I did not say that stuff and I didn't assault him in any way. We were at the Commissary window and I was getting my list back. The list hit the lip on the window and bounced back. Then he started yelling at me that I assaulted him and I needed to give him my ID, which I did right away.

Id. at 13, §§ 23-24. Daniels did not identify any witnesses. Id. at 13, § 25.

         A few days later, Daniels appeared before a Unit Disciplinary Committee (UDC) . Id. at 12, § 21.) He also provided a statement to the UDC regarding the charges, which was recorded as:

Not true. He did advise me about my shopping days. I said, “I can't believe this shit” but not towards him, and as I was grabbing my list from the window to walk away, it hit the window and bounced back.

Id. at 12, § 17. The UDC then referred the charge to a Disciplinary Hearing Officer (DHO) for final hearing and disposition. Id. at 12, §§ 18(B) & 19. The records show that Daniels was provided advance written notice of his rights before the DHO and was given the opportunity to request witnesses and a staff representative. Id. at 15-17. Daniels requested a staff representative, but he did not request any witnesses. Id. at 17.

         Several weeks later, on July 25, 2014, Daniels and his staff representative appeared before the DHO. Id. at 20, §§ I(B) & II(B). Daniels made a statement to the DHO, which the DHO recorded as, “He said it wasn't my day. I said ‘I can't believe this shit.' The paper came out of my hand through the window. It hit the window and slid through and hit his hand I guess.” Id. at 20, § III(B).

         The DHO considered both the reporting employee's account of the incident and the statement given by Daniels, but found the reporting employee's account to be more credible. Id. at 21, §V. The DHO also concluded that the fact that Daniels was upset enough to throw the commissary list at all indicated that he intended to throw it at the reporting employee and that the paper hit the officer in the hand constituted an assault. Id. Based on the evidence presented, the DHO concluded that Daniels violated disciplinary code 224, assault. Id. at 20, § IV(B); 21, § V. The DHO described in writing the evidence relied upon in reaching this conclusion. Id. at 21, § V. Based on these findings, the DHO disallowed 27 days of Daniels' good conduct time credit, suspended his commissary and telephone privileges for 365 days, and directed that he spend 30 days in disciplinary segregation. Id. at 21, § VI. The DHO suspended the disciplinary segregation sanction. Id. The DHO also provided an explanation of the reasons for the sanctions. Id. at 21, § VII.

         II. ...


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