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Danielczyk v. Federal Bureau of Prisons

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division

June 23, 2015

William P. Danielczyk, Jr., Petitioner,
Federal Bureau of Prisons, Respondent.


JAMES C. CACHERIS, District Judge.

William P. Danielczyk, Jr., a federal inmate housed in the Eastern District of Virginia and proceeding pro se, filed this petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, alleging lack of due process in institutional disciplinary proceedings. On February 11, 2015, respondent filed a motion for summary judgment with a supporting memorandum of law and exhibits. Petitioner was advised of his right to file responsive materials, as required by Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975) and Local Civil Rule 7(K). After receiving an extension of time, petitioner submitted a response in opposition to the motion to dismiss, two general affidavits, and a declaration on April 2, 2015. Respondent replied to petitioner's response on April 6, 2015. Accordingly, this matter is ripe for disposition. For the reasons which follow, respondent's Motion for Summary Judgment will be granted, and summary judgment will be entered in its favor.

I. Background

The following material facts are uncontroverted. Petitioner is currently confined at FCI Petersburg as the result of two convictions entered in the Eastern District of Virginia. See United States v. Danielczyk, Case No. 11cr85 (JCC) (plea of guilty to contributions in the name of another entered 2/26/13); United States v. Danielczyk, Case No. 14cr146 (JCC) (plea of guilty to willful failure to collect and pay taxes and theft or embezzlement from an employee benefit plan entered June 10, 2014). His projected release date is December 15, 2015. Resp. Ex. 1 at ¶ 4.[1]

On October 22, 2013, while confined at FCI Talledega, petitioner was charged by incident report with the prohibited act of refusing to provide a urine sample. Id. at ¶ 9. The incident report reflects that petitioner was told at 9:48 p.m. that he had two hours to provide a urine sample, and he failed to do so. Att. 5. Petitioner received a copy of the incident report on October 23, 2013, and on that same day the charge was referred to the institution's Discipline Hearing Officer ("DHO"). Id. at ¶¶ 9-10. Also on that same day, petitioner received copies of both the "Inmate Rights at Discipline Hearing" and the "Notice of Discipline Hearing Before the [DHO]." Id. at ¶ 11. Petitioner indicated that he did not wish to have either a staff representative or witnesses at the DHO hearing. Id . He told the investigator that he had been unable to provide a urine sample due to an enlarged prostate, and the investigator commented that "further medical documentation could support that the inmate has prostate problems...." Id.

A disciplinary hearing was conducted on October 28, 2013. Id. at ¶ 12. Petitioner appeared before the DHO and stated that he had a prostate problem and didn't refuse to go, he "just couldn't go on demand." Att. 5, DHO Report. Among the evidence considered by the DHO was a memorandum from a nurse which stated that petitioner's only chronic medical condition was bursitis/tendinitis of his Achilles, and that he had neither complained of any urinary retention since his arrival at the institution nor taken any medication that would cause urinary retention. Id . After reviewing all the evidence, the DHO gave greater weight to the report and e-mails from medical staff, and determined that the elements of the charged offense had been satisfied. Id . Petitioner was sanctioned with the loss of 41 days good conduct time, 45 days of disciplinary segregation, and one year loss of general visitation privileges followed by another year of restricted visitation privileges. He received a copy of the final DHO report on October 31, 2013. Id. at ¶ 14.

On November 23, 2013, petitioner received a second incident report while still confined at FCI Talledega, again charging him with the prohibited act of refusing to provide a urine sample. Id. at ¶ 15. The act giving rise to the charge had occurred that same day, and petitioner also was provided with a copy of the report. Id . On November 25, 2013, petitioner again received copies of "Inmate Rights at Discipline Hearing" and "Notice of Discipline Hearing Before the [DHO]." Id. at ¶ 17. He indicated that he did not wish to have a staff representative present at the DHO hearing, but he did wish to call a psychologist and a physician's assistant as witnesses. Id.

The disciplinary hearing was conducted on December 16, 2013. Petitioner called two witnesses in person who stated that his medication would not prevent him from urinating. One witness, Dr. Rozier, provided a memorandum stating that petitioner had self-reported that his uncle would watch him urinate as a child, and another doctor stated in a document that petitioner had a diagnosis of benign prostate hypertrophy for which he had received medication in the past, and which might affect his ability to urinate. Att. 6, DHO Report. After reviewing the evidence, the DHO found that the offense elements had been met, and petitioner was sanctioned with the loss of 41 days of good time credit, 60 days of disciplinary segregation, 1 year loss of commissary privileges, and 2 years loss of general visiting privileges followed by 2 years loss of restricted visiting privileges. Id.[2]

In this petition for habeas relief pursuant to § 2241, Danielczyk essentially argues that his right to due process was violated because: 1) the PSI and a physician's letter clearly stated that he has an enlarged prostate; 2) his requests for medical records and a medical examination were denied; 3) he took two urine tests after the incidents at issue and both were "clean, " thus showing that he can provide a urine sample when his physical and psychological issues ate taken into consideration; and 4) he suffers from emotional issues stemming his youth when his "pedophile uncle" would watch him urinate.

Respondent acknowledges that petitioner has exhausted his administrative remedies with regard to both disciplinary infractions. See Carmona v. United States Bureau of Prisons, 243 F.3d 629, 634 (2d Cir. 2001); Williams v. O'Brien, 792 F.2d 986, 987 (10th Cir. 1986). Accordingly, this matter is now ripe for review on the merits.

II. Standard of Review

Summary judgment "shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. The moving party bears the burden of proving that judgment on the pleadings is appropriate. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986) (moving party bears the burden of persuasion on all relevant issues). To meet that burden, the moving party must demonstrate that no genuine issues of material fact are present for resolution. Id. at 322. Once a moving party has met its burden to show that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, the burden then shifts to the non-moving party to point out the specific facts which create disputed factual issues. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Matsushita Electrical Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). In evaluating a motion for summary judgment, a district court should consider the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all reasonable inferences from those facts in favor of that party. United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962). Those facts which the moving party bears the burden of proving are facts which are material. "[T]he substantive law will identify which facts are material. Only disputes over facts which might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. An issue of material fact is genuine when "the evidence... create[s] [a] fair doubt; wholly speculative assertions will not suffice." Ross v. Communications Satellite Corp., 759 F.2d 355, 364 (4th Cir. 1985). Thus, summary judgment is appropriate only where no material facts are genuinely disputed and the evidence as a whole could not lead a rational fact finder to rule for the non-moving party. Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587.

III. Analysis

The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment provides that no State shall "deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." U.S. Const. amend. XIV, § 1. It is well established that prisoners cannot be subjected to arbitrary discipline by prison officials. See Howard v. Smyth, 365 F.2d 428 (4th Cir. 1966). When a loss of statutory goodtime credits or solitary confinement is at issue, the Supreme Court has mandated procedural safeguards for prison disciplinary hearings, including advance written notice of charges, written findings, and an opportunity, when consistent with institutional safety and correctional goals, for the inmate to call witnesses and present evidence in his defense. Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 563-67 (1974); Baker v. Lyles, 904 F.2d 925, 929 (4th Cir. 1990). ...

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