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Martinez v. Johns

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Waycross Division

October 31, 2017

ANGEL CARDENAS MARTINEZ, Petitioner,
v.
TRACY JOHNS, Warden, [1]Respondent.

          ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          R. STAN BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Petitioner Angel Cardenas Martinez (“Martinez”), an inmate at D. Ray James Correctional Facility in Folkston, Georgia, filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. (Doc. 1.) I have conducted a preliminary review of Maritnez's claims as required by Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases.[2] For the reasons which follow, I RECOMMEND that the Court DISMISS Martinez's Petition and CLOSE this case. I also RECOMMEND the Court DENY Martinez in forma pauperis status on appeal.

         BACKGROUND

         In his Petition, Martinez takes issue with the Federal Bureau of Prisons' (“BOP”) calculation of his current sentence. He states that he was sentenced in the United Stated District Court for the Middle District of Florida in Case Number 8:15-cr-115, on March 15, 2016. (Doc. 1, p. 1.) He contends that the Middle District of Florida gave him bail, and he was out on pretrial release from April 21, 2015 to September 2, 2015. (Id. at p. 7.) During this time, he was subject to conditions including weekly drug testing, daily telephonic reporting to his pretrial services officer, and a curfew that required him to be at his home from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. every day. (Id.) During the hours he was not subject to a curfew, Williams worked as a carpenter for a construction company. (Id.) Williams maintains that his time on release constitutes “home detention, ” and he argues that the BOP has erroneously failed to give him credit towards his sentence for the time that he was subject to these conditions. (Id. at pp. 6, 8.) He requests that this Court order that he be given 165 days credit toward his federal sentence for the time he spent in “home detention.” (Id.)

         DISCUSSION

         I. Standard of Review

         Pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules governing petitions brought under 28 U.S.C. § 2254:

The clerk must promptly forward the petition to a judge . . ., and the judge must promptly examine [the petition]. If it plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court, the judge must dismiss the petition and direct the clerk to notify the petitioner.

         Under Rule 2(c), “[h]abeas corpus petitions must meet heightened pleading requirements.” McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 856 (1994) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 2254 Rule 2(c)). While pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a), complaints in a civil case must contain only “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” petitions for habeas corpus must “specify all the grounds for relief available to the petitioner” and “state the facts supporting each ground.” Rule 2 of Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases. In other words, habeas petitions must contain “‘fact pleading' as opposed to ‘notice pleading.'” Hittson v. GDCP Warden, 759 F.3d 1210, 1265 (11th Cir. 2014) (internal quotations and citations omitted). “To properly fact plead, ‘a petitioner must state specific, particularized facts which entitle him or her to habeas corpus relief for each ground specified. These facts must consist of sufficient detail to enable the court to determine, from the face of the petition alone, whether the petition merits further habeas corpus review.'” Arrington v. Warden, GDCP, No. CV 117-022, 2017 WL 4079405, at *2 (S.D. Ga. Sept. 14, 2017) (quoting Adams v. Armontrout, 897 F.2d 332, 334 (8th Cir. 1990)). Therefore, a habeas petitioner cannot merely levy conclusory allegations but must support his claims with specific factual detail. Id. (citing James v. Borg, 24 F.3d 20, 26 (9th Cir. 1994)).

         II. Martinez Failed to Exhausted his Administrative Remedies

         A. Legal Requirements for Exhaustion

         The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has held that a Section 2241 petitioner's failure to exhaust administrative remedies is not a jurisdictional defect. Santiago-Lugo v. Warden, 785 F.3d 467, 474 (11th Cir. 2015); see also Fleming v. Warden of FCI Tallahassee, 631 F. App'x 840, 842 (11th Cir. 2015) (“[Section] 2241's exhaustion requirement was judicially imposed, not congressionally mandated, and . . . nothing in the statute itself support[s] the conclusion that the requirement [is] jurisdictional.”). Nevertheless, the Eleventh Circuit has noted “that the exhaustion requirement is still a requirement” and that courts cannot “disregard a failure to exhaust . . . if the respondent properly asserts the defense.” Santiago-Lugo, 785 F.3d at 475. Failure to exhaust administrative remedies is an affirmative defense, and inmates are not required to specially plead or demonstrate exhaustion in their complaint. Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 216 (2007). However, the normal pleading rules still apply, and dismissal is appropriate when an affirmative defense appears on the face of a complaint-making it clear that a prisoner cannot state a claim for relief. Id. at 214-15. Thus, when a party admits in his complaint or petition that he has not exhausted the grievance process, dismissal is warranted. See Okpala v. Drew, 248 F. App'x 72, 73 (11th Cir. 2007) (per curiam); Cole v. Ellis, No. 5:10-CV-00316-RS-GRJ, 2010 WL 5564632, at *3 (N.D. Fla. Dec. 28, 2010); Rashid v. Liberty Cty. Jail, No. CV410-092, 2010 WL 3239241, at *1 n.1 (S.D. Ga. May 3, 2010) (“Nothing in Jones . . . forbids the Court from dismissing a complaint pursuant to [42 U.S.C.] § 1997e(a) if it is clear from the face of the complaint that the prisoner has not exhausted all administrative remedies available to him.”).

         The requirement that exhaustion of remedies occur “first in an agency setting allows ‘the agency [to] develop the necessary factual background upon which decisions should be based' and giv[es] ‘the agency a chance to discover and correct its own errors.'” Green v. Sec'y for Dep't of Corr., 212 F. App'x 869, 871 (11th Cir. 2006) (first alteration in original) (quoting Alexander v. Hawk, 159 F.3d 1321, 1327 (11th Cir. 1998)). Furthermore, requiring exhaustion in the prison setting “eliminate[s] unwarranted federal-court interference with the administration of prisons” and allows “corrections officials time and opportunity to address complaints internally before allowing the initiation of a federal case.” Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 93 (2006).[3]

         The United States Supreme Court has noted exhaustion must be “proper.” Id. at 92. “Proper exhaustion demands compliance with an agency's deadlines and other critical procedural rules because no adjudicative system can function effectively without imposing some orderly structure on the course of its proceedings.” Id. at 90-91. In other words, an institution's requirements define what is considered exhaustion. Jones, 549 U.S. at 218. It is not the role of the court to consider the adequacy or futility of the administrative remedies afforded to the inmate. Higginbottom v. Carter, 223 ...


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