United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Brunswick Division
ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
STAN BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Eric Sampson (“Sampson”), who is currently
incarcerated at the Federal Correctional
Institution-Satellite Low in Jesup, Georgia, filed a Petition
for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241.
(Doc. 1.) Respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. 6.)
Sampson filed a Response. (Doc. 8.) For the reasons which
follow, I RECOMMEND the Court
GRANT Respondent's Motion,
DISMISS Sampson's Section 2241 Petition,
DIRECT the Clerk of Court to
CLOSE this case and enter the appropriate
judgment of dismissal, and DENY Sampson
in forma pauperis status on appeal.
jury trial, Sampson was convicted in the Western District of
North Carolina of conspiracy to sell, distribute, or dispense
controlled substances, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846.
Jury Verdict, United States v. Sampson,
3:95-CR-31-02, (W.D. N.C. Dec. 1, 1995), ECF No. 190. On June
21, 1996, Sampson was sentenced to life imprisonment and ten
(10) years' supervised release. J., United States v.
Sampson, 3:95-CR-31-02 (W.D. N.C. June 21, 1996), ECF
No. 217. Sampson's sentence was later reduced to 360
months' imprisonment. Order, United States v.
Sampson, 3:95-CR-31-02 (W.D. N.C. May 21, 2009), ECF No.
318. He has a projected release date, via good conduct time,
of March 15, 2021. (Doc. 6, p. 1.) Sampson filed this Section
2241 to challenge his assigned Public Safety Factor
(“PSF”) of “greatest severity.” (Doc.
Petition, Sampson contends the Bureau of Prisons
(“BOP”) misapplied and misinterpreted Program
Statement 5100.08 by assigning the “greatest
severity” PSF to him. (Doc. 1, p. 4.) Sampson asserts
he was a supervisor or manager in the drug conspiracy and not
an organizer or leader. Sampson notes the Program Statement
provides that an individual is held accountable in drug
conspiracy cases based on the sentencing court's
statement of reasons, and BOP personnel will only look to the
Pre-Sentence Investigation report (“PSI”) if the
statement of reasons is not available, to determine an
inmate's PSF. (Id. at p. 5.) Sampson asserts his
case manager ignored the “facts” involved in his
case. (Id.) Thus, Sampson maintains that, due to the
misapplication and misinterpretation of BOP policy, he has
been subjected to the “wanton infliction of mental and
emotional pain[.]” (Id. at pp. 1, 6.) Sampson
requests that his PSF be changed to reflect “moderate
severity” and compensatory damages. (Id. at p.
raises several reasons why Sampson's Petition should be
dismissed, which the Court addresses in turn.
Whether Sampson can Proceed Pursuant to Section 2241
contends Sampson's claim concerning the application of
the “greatest severity” PSF to his custody
classification cannot form the basis of his Section 2241
Petition because Sampson's claim does not relate to the
execution of his sentence. (Doc. 6, p. 3.) Instead,
Respondent asserts Sampson's opposition to his PSF
“amounts to an impermissible challenge to the
conditions of his confinement, which is not cognizable under
§ 2241.” (Id.) Respondent states this
Court, as well as other courts around the country, have
dismissed Section 2241 petitions in which a petitioner
challenges his PSF. (Id.) In support of this
premise, Respondent cites to this Court's decisions in
Wrobel v. Johns, No. 5:16-cv-36, 2016 WL 7242576
(S.D. Ga. Nov. 1, 2016), report and recommendation
adopted, 2016 WL 7242725 (Dec. 14, 2016), and Caba
v. United States, No. CV310-082, 2010 WL 5437269 (S.D.
Ga. Nov. 30, 2010), report and recommendation
adopted, 2010 WL 5441919 (S.D. Ga. Dec. 27, 2010).
Caba, (which this Court relied upon in ruling on the
Section 2241 petition in Wrobel), this Court
determined a petitioner's allegations concerning his
security classification- specifically the BOP's
“imposition of a PSF of ‘Alien'”-was a
challenge to the conditions of the petitioner's
confinement and were not cognizable in a Section 2241
petition. 2010 WL 5437269, at *2. However, this Court has
since determined a petitioner can challenge his security
classification or place of confinement via Section
2241. Baranwal v. Stone, No. CV
314-098, 2015 WL 171410, at *2 (S.D. Ga. Jan. 13, 2015);
Herrera v. Johns, Civil Action No. CV513-031, 2013
WL 5574455, at *1 n.1 (S.D. Ga. Oct. 8, 2013). Other courts
have reached this same conclusion. See United States v.
Saldana, 273 Fed.Appx. 845 (11th Cir. 2008) (per
curiam); Becerra v. Miner, 248 Fed.Appx. 368 (3d
Cir. 2007) (per curiam); Burris v. Beasley, No.
2:18-CV-9-JM-BD; 2018 WL 1464668, at *1 (E.D. Ark. Mar. 7,
2018); Sampson-Molina v. United States, Civ. No.
09-1080-CV-W-NKL-P, 2010 WL 1486055, at *2 (W.D. Mo. Apr. 14,
in the Fifth Circuit note the distinction between a Section
2241 and a civil rights action “becomes
‘blurry' when an inmate challenges an
unconstitutional condition of confinement or prison procedure
that affects the timing of his release from custody.”
Pham v. Wagner, No. 5:14-CV-67(DCB)(MTP), 2016 WL
5852553, at *2 (S.D.Miss. Oct. 6, 2016) (citing Carson v.
Johnson, 112 F.3d 818, 820-21 (5th Cir. 1997)). As a
result, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has
“‘adopted a simple, bright-line rule for
resolving such questions.' If a favorable determination
of an inmate's claims would not automatically entitle the
inmate to accelerated release, the proper vehicle is a civil
rights suit.” Id. (quoting Carson,
112 F.3d at 820-21). If a petitioner is not seeking immediate
or early release from custody and is instead seeking to have
his PSF removed so that he will be eligible for programs that
could reduce his sentence, he has not alleged that a
favorable determination would automatically entitle him to a
speedier release from custody. Thus, the proper vehicle for
raising his claims would be a civil rights suit.
Id.; see also Boyce v. Ashcroft, 251 F.3d
911, 914 (10th Cir. 2001) (“Prisoners who raise
constitutional challenges to other prison decisions-including
transfers to administrative segregation, exclusion from
prison programs, or suspension of privileges, e.g.,
conditions of confinement, must proceed” with a civil
the Fifth Circuit's test to be proper for resolving this
question. Based on that test, Sampson cannot pursue his
claims in this Section 2241 Petition because he is not
seeking immediate or early release from custody. While a
favorable determination may entitle him to participate in
programs that could reduce his sentence (not that he makes
such an assertion), a favorable determination does not
automatically entitle him to a speedier release from custody.
Therefore, the Court should GRANT
Respondent's Motion to Dismiss and
DISMISS Sampson's Petition for lack of
jurisdiction. Even if this Court had jurisdiction over
Sampson's Petition, his claims would still be subject to
dismissal for the reasons discussed in the next Section of
Whether the BOP's PSF Assignment is Entitled to
alleges the BOP's classification decisions, such as the
assignment of a PSF to an inmate, are within the BOP's
discretion, as given to the BOP by Congress. (Doc. 6, p. 4.)
Because Congress gave the BOP discretion how it applies
custody classifications, Respondent urges the Court not to
disturb the PSF applied to Sampson. (Id.) Sampson
implies no deference is owed to the BOP's classification
decision because its decision was ...