United States District Court, W.D. Texas, El Paso Division
BILLY R. MELOT, Reg. No. 51537-051, Petitioner,
THOMAS E. BERGAMI, Warden, Respondent.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
R. MARTINEZ, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
day, the Court considered Petitioner Billy R. Melot's
[hereinafter "Petitioner"] pro se "Petition
for a Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241"
(ECF No. 1-2) [hereinafter "Petition"], received on
April 8, 2019, in the above-captioned cause. Therein,
Petitioner asked the Court to intervene on his behalf and
order Respondent Warden Thomas E. Bergami [hereinafter
"Respondent"] to grant him an early release from
prison to home confinement pursuant to the Elderly Offender
Home Detention Program (EOHDP), 34 U.S.C. § 60541(g).
Pet. 8, Apr. 8, 2019, ECF No. 1-2. After due consideration,
the Court is of the opinion that the Petition should be
denied, for the reasons that follow.
is a prisoner at the La Tuna Federal Correctional Institution
in Anthony, Texas. Id. at 1. FCI La Tuna is located
within the Western District of Texas. 28 U.S.C. §
124(d)(3). Petitioner is serving a fourteen-year term of
imprisonment for corruptly endeavoring to impede the
administration of the Internal Revenue Code; willfully
attempting to evade or defeat taxes; willfully failing to
file tax returns; and making false statements to the U.S.
Department of Agriculture. Am. J. Crim. Case, Aug. 19, 2016,
ECF No. 310, United States v. Melot,
2:09-CR-2258-l-MCA (D.N.M.); United States v. Melot,
732 F.3d 1234 (10th Cir. 2013). His projected release date is
August 30, 2022. See https://www.bop.gov/inmateloc/
(search for Reg. No. 51537-051) (last visited Apr. 22, 2019).
Petition, Petitioner maintains that he meets "all
criteria" for early release to home confinement under
the EOHDP. Pet. 7. Specifically, he explains that he
"will have served two-thirds of [his] nominal sentence
on . . . August 20, 2019." Pet'r's Pet. for
Review and Decl. J. 1, Apr. 8, 2019, ECF No. 1-3.
Additionally, he claims that he is a 67-year old, non-violent
offender who "will move to home confinement in Hobbs,
New Mexico, where [he] will be closely supervised and cared
for by [his] wife, Katie Melot." Id. at 3.
states that he applied for early release to home confinement
pursuant to the EOHDP on or about January 31, 2019.
Id. at 2. However, Respondent denied
Petitioner's request on March 25, 2019, because
Petitioner received a disciplinary action for an attempted
He cited my internal BOP disciplinary action for events that
occurred in July 2015. At that time, I was cited for a
violation of BOP disciplinary codes for having climbed an
internal fence and being out of bounds when an officer
ordered me to cease movement. In the disciplinary
proceedings, my actions were characterized as an
"attempted escape" and I was sanctioned under the
BOP disciplinary rules and regulations.
Id. Petitioner concedes that he "was sanctioned
under the BOP disciplinary rules and regulations" with
the loss of 42 days of good conduct credit. Id. He
argues that Respondent violated his due process and equal
protection rights when Respondent denied the request for
early release pursuant to the EOHDP.
U.S.C. § 2241
section 2241 petition for habeas corpus on behalf of a
sentenced prisoner attacks the manner in which his sentence
is carried out or the prison authorities' determination
of its duration." Pack v. Yusuff, 218 F.3d 448,
451 (5th Cir. 2000) (citations omitted). To prevail, a §
2241 petitioner must show that he is "in custody in
violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the
United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c) (2012). A
§ 2241 petitioner may make this attack only in the
district court with jurisdiction over his custodian.
United States v. Cleto, 956 F.2d 83, 84 (5th Cir.
its initial screening of a habeas corpus petition, a
reviewing court accepts a petitioner's allegations as
true. 28 U.S.C. § 2243; Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007). Additionally, a
reviewing court evaluates a petition presented by a pro se
petitioner under more a lenient standard than it would apply
to a petition submitted by counsel. Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). A court must "award
the writ or issue an order directing the respondent to show
cause why the writ should not be granted, unless it plainly
appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the
petitioner is not entitled to relief." Rule 4 of the
Rules Governing § 2254 Cases in the United States
District Courts (applicable to § 2241 petitions pursuant
to Rule 1(b)).
U.S.C. § 60541(g)
to the EOHDP, the Attorney General "shall conduct a
pilot program to determine the effectiveness of
removing eligible elderly offenders and eligible terminally
ill offenders from Bureau of Prisons facilities and placing
such offenders on home detention until the expiration of the
prison term to which the offender was sentenced." 34
U.S.C. § 60541(g)(1)(A) (emphasis added). In addition,
"the Attorney General may release some or all
eligible elderly offenders and eligible terminally ill
offenders from Bureau of Prisons facilities to home
detention, upon written request from either the Bureau of
Prisons or an eligible elderly offender or eligible
terminally ill offender.". Id. §
60541(g)(1)(B) (emphasis added). In order to qualify for the
pilot EOHDP, the elderly offender must (1) be "not less
than 60 years of age"; (2) not have a conviction for a
crime of violence or sex offense; (3) have "served 2/3
of the term of imprisonment to which the offender was
sentenced"; (4) "not escaped, or attempted to
escape, from a Bureau of Prisons institution"; (5) save
the Bureau of Prisons money through his home ...