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Brown v. Wilson

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Fort Worth Division

September 11, 2019

TERRENCE M. BROWN, Petitioner,
v.
ERIC D. WILSON, Warden FMC-Fort Worth, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          MARK T. PITTMAN, 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 Terrence M. Brown (“Brown”), a federal prisoner then confined at FMC-Fort Worth in Fort Worth, Texas.[1] In addition to the form § 2241 petition (ECF No. 1), Brown filed a brief with exhibits (ECF No. 2). The Court also has a response with an appendix (ECF Nos. 12, 13), and Brown's reply (ECF No. 14). Brown seeks restoration of 54 days of good conduct time credit that were removed as a result of a finding of guilt on two disciplinary code charges. Pet. at 7, ECF No.1. After considering the pleadings and relief sought by Brown and the applicable law, the Court finds that the § 2241 petition must be DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Brown is housed in the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) serving an 87-month term of imprisonment for conspiracy to commit wire fraud. App. 3-4, Charles Bickle Declaration, ECF No. 13.[2] On July 5, 2017, while Brown was incarcerated at FCI- Bastrop, in Bastrop, Texas, he received an incident report charging him with the violation of BOP Disciplinary Code 296, using mail for abuse, and Code 299, conduct which disrupts, most like Code 204, extortion of blackmail. App. 17, Incident Report, §§ 10, ECF No. 13. Both charges arose from an e-mail Brown sent through the BOP internal mail system on July 4, 2017, to Unit Manger Wohld that was received the next day. Brown Brief 57, ECF No. 2. On the same day the e-mail was received, Wohld filed an incident report listing this description of the incident:

On July 5, 2017, at approximately 10:40 a.m., I received and opened an Electronic Notice to Staff from inmate Brown, Terrence Matthew, reg. no. 08524-031. Inmate Brown states, “Happy Fourth of July, today is truly your Independence Day. I am hereby respectfully asking for your immediate resignation from the Federal Bureau of Prisons. In exchange for your resignation I am willing to agree not to pursue your termination and formal criminal charges against you for the felony you have now committed.” Inmate Brown further states, “When you falsified the date of your response to my Attempt at Informal Resolution in an attempt to create a defense in the lawsuit served upon you just hours before your falsification, you committed a felony offense I can now prove this crime was committed and am going to seek a Third Party Sentence Reduction under Rule 35 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure in exchange for my cooperation against you. I will agree not to pursue such action if you submit your resignation by July 7, 2017. If no such action is taken, then I will reach out to a Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation next week to pursue criminal charges and your immediate termination.” Inmate Brown's action[s] are an attempt to extort me in my current position based on my duties as his assigned Unit Manager. It is clear inmate Brown is using threats and coercion in an attempt to force my resignation under false pretense. Inmate Brown is also using the inmate Trulinks system to further these actions.

App. 17, § 11, ECF No. 13.

         An investigation of the incident report was completed the same day. App. 18, § 27, ECF No. 13. Brown did not request a witness. Id. § 25. After advising Brown of his rights and providing him with a copy of the incident report, the investigating lieutenant asked Brown if he wished to make a statement. Id. § 24. The investigator recorded Brown's statement as:

I am in prison for signing something that is not true. So when I see staff members sign documents that is based on something that is not true, I take that serious because it is a crime. My actions were not to extort or blackmail her, it was only to show that what she is doing is wrong and a crime.

Id.

         Brown subsequently appeared before a Unit Disciplinary Committee (UDC) on July 7, 2017. App. 17, § 21, ECF NO. 13. He provided the following statement to the UDC: “Inmate Brown stated there was no blackmail or extortion concerning (illegible) communications to her nor anything false.” Id., § 17. The UDC referred the charge to a Disciplinary Hearing Officer (DHO) for final hearing and disposition. Id., § 18(B). Brown was provided written notice of his rights before the DHO and given the opportunity to request witnesses and a staff representative. App.4, ¶¶ 6 and 7, ECF No. 13; App. 21, 23, ECF No. 13. Brown requested a staff representative but did not request any witnesses. App. 23, ECF No. 13.

         Brown next appeared for the hearing before the DHO on July 27, 2017. App. 4, ¶ 8, ECF No. 13. A staff representative appeared with him. App. 23, § II, ECF No. 13. Brown gave a statement recorded as:

I woke up on July fourth and was offended cause I am truly in prison for no fault of my own. I wrote I was serious in the e-mail, but later in the day I thought about sending a second e-mail but I didn't. I did report Ms. Wohld's wrongdoing later that day because I thought she would use my lawsuit against her against me and that she obviously would not resign.

App. 25, § III (B), ECF No. 13.

         Based on the evidence presented, the DHO concluded that the greater weight of the evidence supported a finding that Brown violated Code 299, conduct disruptive to security or orderly running of a BOP facility (high severity), most like Code 204 (extortion or blackmail), and Code 296, use of the mail for abuses other than criminal activity. Id., § VI. The DHO described to Petitioner the evidence relied upon in reaching this conclusion. Id. § V. That is, the DHO considered the reporting employee's account of the incident, Petitioner's verbal and handwritten statements, and the e-mail to Unit Manager Wohld dated July 4, 2017. Id.; Brown Brief 57, ECF No. 2. The DHO sanctioned Petitioner to 7 days of disciplinary segregation, disallowed 27 days of good conduct time, and 120 days loss of commissary and visitation privileges for violating Code 299, most ...


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