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Sneed v. Fox

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

November 13, 2014

TRAVIS JUSTIN SNEED, Petitioner,
v.
JACK FOX, Respondent.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

MARY ALICE THEILER, Chief Magistrate Judge.

INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY CONCLUSION

Petitioner Travis Sneed is a federal prisoner who is currently confined at the Federal Detention Center at Seatac, Washington ("FDC Seatac"). He has filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 in which he alleges violations of his constitutional rights arising out of disciplinary proceedings which resulted in his expulsion from the Bureau of Prisons' Residential Drug Abuse Treatment Program. Respondent has filed a return and motion to dismiss, and petitioner has filed a response to respondent's return. The Court, having reviewed the petition, all briefing of the parties, and the balance of the record, concludes that petitioner's petition for writ of habeas corpus should be denied and this action should be dismissed with prejudice.

BACKGROUND

On August 9, 2011, petitioner was sentenced in the United States District Court for the District of Idaho to 63 months imprisonment following his earlier entry of guilty pleas to one count of Interstate Transportation in Aid of Racketeering and to three counts of Wire Fraud. ( See Dkt. 17, Attach. L.) The sentencing court also imposed a three year term of supervised release which included numerous special terms and conditions, among them that petitioner (1) not be self-employed, or employed by friends, relatives, or associates without the approval of the supervising probation officer (2) not possess or use any computer with access to any internet/online computer service without approval of the supervising probation officer; and (3) not engage in employment involving the internet/web without the approval of the supervising probation officer. ( Id., Attach. L at 3, 5.)

While in custody, petitioner was accepted into the Bureau of Prisons' ("BOP") Residential Drug Abuse Treatment Program ("RDAP"). ( See Dkt. 1 at 4.) RDAP is the program created by the BOP to fulfill the Congressional mandate, set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3621(e), that residential drug abuse treatment be provided to all eligible prisoners. See 28 C.F.R. § 550.53. Prisoners who successfully complete an RDAP program may be eligible for early release from confinement. See 18 U.S.C. § 3621(e)(2) and 28 C.F.R. § 550.55. In order to successfully complete RDAP, an inmate must complete each of three components: a unit-based component (minimum 6 months), follow-up services, and the transitional abuse treatment (TDAT) component. 28 C.F.R. § 550.53(a). TDAT is a community-based drug abuse treatment program. 28 C.F.R. § 550.53(a)(3). The BOP has the discretion to determine which prisoners are eligible to participate in the RDAP program. 18 U.S.C. § 3621(e)(5)(B). The BOP also has discretion to determine which prisoners will receive a sentence reduction upon successful completion of the program. § 3621(e)(2)(B).

Petitioner successfully completed the residential component of the RDAP program while confined at the Federal Correctional Institution in Sheridan, Oregon and, on December 3, 2013, petitioner was transferred to the Port of Hope Residential Reentry Center ("RRC") in Nampa, Idaho in order to complete the Transitional Drug Abuse Treatment TDAT component of the program. ( See Dkt. 17, Attach. E and F.) It had been determined by that time that petitioner would be eligible for early release benefits under § 3621(e) upon successful completion of all three components of the RDAP program. ( See id., Attach E.)

As a resident at the RRC, petitioner was required to comply with all rules and regulations identified by the facility, including full-time, employment, counseling, drug and alcohol testing, special conditions of supervision, and programming expectations. ( See id., Attach. F-64 to F-67.) Petitioner had some difficulties adjusting to the RRC and struggled, in particular, with the employment and computer restrictions imposed by the sentencing court as conditions of his supervised release. ( Id., Attach. F-25 to F-26.)

Petitioner expressed concern to RRC staff that the restrictions on employment were not realistic given his skill-sets and the amount of restitution he owed. ( See id., Attach. F-26.) Petitioner also indicated to staff that he was unwilling to work in any field involving manual labor and that he wanted to have the restrictions lifted so he could "have a job he feels he is worth." ( Id., Attach. F-55.) Petitioner ultimately did find employment with Bledsoe Construction and began his job doing construction clean-up on December 17, 2013. ( Id., Attach. F-79, F-83.)

On December 19, 2013, petitioner submitted a written request to RRC staff asking that he be provided with contact information for the local U.S. Attorney and the FBI because he wanted to report a crime. (Dkt. 17, Attach. F-38.) Victoria Beazer, the acting director of the RRC at that time, received petitioner's request the following day, December 20, 2013, and placed a call to Kevin Straight, Residential Reentry Manager ("RRM") for the BOP. ( Id., Attach. F-36.) Ms. Beazer put petitioner on the phone with Mr. Straight, and petitioner explained that he had seen a co-worker viewing child pornography and he wanted to turn that person into the authorities. ( Id. ) Mr. Straight, expressing some hesitation at even entertaining petitioner's report, reminded petitioner that he was supposed to be focusing on his programming. ( Id. ) Petitioner then began arguing with Mr. Straight about why he wanted to report the incident. ( Id. ) Despite his apparent reservations, Mr. Straight directed Ms. Beazer to call the local police and allow petitioner to give a statement. ( Id. )

Petitioner returned to Ms. Beazer's office a short time later and reported that the coworker he was referring to was actually another inmate. ( Id. ) Ms. Beazer called Mr. Straight again to pass along this new information, and Mr. Straight instructed Ms. Beazer to check the computer. ( Id. ) Mr. Straight also instructed petitioner to give a statement to the police when they arrived and admonished him to be truthful. ( Id. ) Petitioner indicated during this second conversation with Mr. Straight that he was seeking "relief eligibility" for having reported the crime. ( Id. ) Ms. Beazer, along with Federal Monitor Ben Maupin, subsequently checked the computer but did not find any child pornography. ( Id. ) When the police arrived, petitioner gave them his statement and the police confiscated the computer.[1] (Dkt. 17, Attach F-36.)

Ms. Beazer's progress notes detailing the encounter with petitioner on December 20, 2013, reflect that petitioner had been spoken to on several occasions regarding his need to focus on his own programming goals instead of arguing and debating issues that had already been discussed and decided. ( Id. ) Petitioner was reminded, in light of these previous warnings, that he was on TDAT and had received a year off his sentence, and that continued non-compliance with programming would result in disciplinary action. ( Id. ) Mr. Straight then placed petitioner on Level 2 restrictions for 30 days because of his continued non-compliance with programming goals. ( Id. )

The following day, December 21, 2013, petitioner noticed that his regular Saturday church had been cancelled from his itinerary and he asked a monitor at the RRC about the cancellation. (Dkt. 1-2 at 21.) The monitor suggested that petitioner address his concerns with Ms. Beazer. (Dkt. 1-2 at 21.) According to petitioner, he asked Ms. Beazer about the church cancellation and she explained that he was not allowed to leave the facility except for work for 30 days and that he would need to speak to Mr. Straight if he wanted more information. ( Id. ) Ms. Beazer's notes of this encounter reflect that petitioner approached her and asked to be removed from Level 2 "because you owe me." (Dkt. 17, Attach. F-36.) Ms. Beazer advised petitioner that the restrictions would not be removed unless Mr. Straight approved. ( Id. ) Ms. Beazer then reminded petitioner that his constant arguing and debating every decision was what kept getting him in trouble with staff. (Dkt. 17, Attach. F-36.)

Ms. Beazer's notes indicate petitioner next requested that he be removed from Level 2 after two weeks and Ms. Beazer once again advised him that he would not be removed from Level 2 until such a removal was authorized by Mr. Straight. ( Id. ) Petitioner then told Ms. Beazer that he had done her a favor and if it were not for him the other inmate - the one petitioner had reported to RRC staff and to police - would still be there. ( Id. ) Ms. Beazer reported this conversation to Mr. Straight and then issued an incident report charging petitioner with violating disciplinary code 298A most like 204, interfering with staff/extortion. ...


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