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Davis v. Wilson

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

December 5, 2017

JOHN GUY DAVIS, III, Petitioner,
v.
ERIC WILSON, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Robert E. Payne Senior United States District Judge

         This matter is before the Court pursuant to John Guy Davis, Ill's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 ("§ 2241 Petition, " ECF No. I).[1] Respondent has filed a Motion to Dismiss, or in the alternative, a Motion for Summary Judgment. ("Motion for Summary Judgment, " ECF No. 6).[2] Davis has responded. (ECF No. 10.) The matter is ripe for disposition.

         In his § 2241 Petition, Davis, a federal inmate incarcerated in Petersburg, Virginia, contends that he "is being barred from a reduced sentence based on an invalid agency policy [of] the Bureau of Prisons [("BOP")]. . . . (BOP) denied [Davis] the 'one-year-off' for completing [the Residential Drug Abuse Program] that participants usually receive." (§ 2241 Pet. 3.) As relief, Davis requests that the Court "rule that the [BOP] through FCC Petersburg is relying on [an] invalid agency policy - which violates [the Administrative Procedure Act ("APA")] - to wrongfully bar [Davis] from the one year reduction in sentence for which he should otherwise be eligible under 18 U.S.C. § 3621." (Id. at 7.)[3] Respondent asserts that Davis's § 2241 Petition should be dismissed because Davis lacks standing and because Davis's substantive challenge against the BOP's Residential Drug Abuse Program ("RDAP") is meritless. (Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. 5, 7, ECF No. 7.) For the following reasons, Respondent's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 6) will be granted, and Davis's § 2241 Petition (ECF No. 1) will be dismissed without prejudice because at this juncture, the action is not ripe for judicial disposition.

         I. SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

         Summary judgment must be rendered "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The party seeking summary judgment bears the responsibility to inform the court of the basis for the motion, and to identify the parts of the record which demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). * [W]here the nonmoving party will bear the burden of proof at trial on a dispositive issue, a summary judgment motion may properly be made in reliance solely on the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file." Id. at 324 (internal quotation marks omitted). When the motion is properly supported, the nonmoving party must go beyond the pleadings and, by citing affidavits or '''depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, ' designate 'specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'" Id. (quoting former Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c) and 56(e) (1986)).

         In reviewing a summary judgment motion, the court "must draw all justifiable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party." United States v. Carolina Transformer Co., 978 F.2d 832, 835 (4th Cir. 1992) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986)). However, a mere scintilla of evidence will not preclude summary judgment. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251 (citing Improvement Co. v. Munson, 81 U.S. (14 Wall.) 442, 448 (1872)). " * [T] here is a preliminary question for the judge, not whether there is literally no evidence, but whether there is any upon which a jury could properly proceed to find a verdict for the party . . . upon whom the onus of proof is imposed.'" Id. (quoting Munson, 81 U.S. at 448).

         In support of its Motion for Summary Judgment, the Government submits a Declaration of Scharles C. Tinsley, Drug Abuse Program Coordinator at FCI Petersburg Low ("Tinsley Decl., " ECF No. 7-1), and several records pertaining to Davis's RDAP eligibility and participation (Tinsley Decl. Attach. 1-5, ECF No. 7-2 through 7-6).

         As a general rule, a non-movant must respond to a motion for summary judgment with affidavits or other verified evidence. Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 324. With his Reply, Davis submitted an Affidavit ("Davis Aff., " ECF No. 10-1). Davis also swore to the contents of his Reply under penalty of perjury. (Reply 11.) In light of the foregoing submissions and principles, the following facts are established for the purposes of the motion for summary judgment. All permissible inferences are drawn in Davis's favor.

         II. SUMMARY OF FACTS

         On June 10, 2014, Davis was sentenced by the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina to 60 months' imprisonment for manufacturing marijuana in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B). (Tinsley Aff. Attach. 1 at 3, ECF No. 7-2.) At sentencing, the district court adopted Davis's Pre-Sentence Investigation Report and accepted its recommendation of a two-level increase in Davis's base offense level pursuant to United States Sentencing Guideline § 2D1.1, (Tinsley Aff. ¶ 5), finding that "a dangerous weapon (including a firearm) was possessed" at the time of his offense. (Id. Attach. 2 at 2, ECF No. 7-3.)

         On November 7, 2014, Davis was found to qualify for the BOP's RDAP. (Tinsley Aff. ¶ 6.) Pursuant to RDAP's policy, Davis's records were submitted to the BOP's Designation and Sentence Computation Center ("DSCC") for a determination of whether he qualified for early release upon successful completion of RDAP. (Id.; see Tinsley Aff. Attach. 3 at 2, ECF No. 7-4.) The DSCC determined that Davis's current offense conviction "involved the carrying, possession, or use of a firearm or other dangerous weapon or explosive[]" and "by its nature or conduct [Davis's offense conviction], presents a serious potential risk of physical force against the person or property or another." (Tinsley Aff. Attach. 4 at 2, ECF No. 7-5.) Therefore, the DSCC concluded that Davis was ineligible for early release even if he were to complete successfully RDAP. (Tinsley Aff. Attach. 4 at 3.) Davis has neither completed nor enrolled in RDAP.[4] (See Tinsley Aff. ¶ 7; Tinsley Aff. Attach. 5 at 3, ECP No. 7-6.)

         III. DAVIS'S STANDING TO BRING THIS § 2241 PETITION

         Essentially, Davis argues that RDAP's policy of disallowing early release for felons who have been convicted or sentenced because of firearm offenses is arbitrary and capricious in violation of the APA. (§ 2241 Pet. 8-15.) However, the Court must consider his ability to bring this § 2241 Petition before it can reach the merits of Davis's argument.

         In its Memorandum in Support of its Motion for Summary Judgment, the Government contends that Davis's § 2241 Petition is non-justiciable because Davis lacks standing. (Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. 5-7.) The Government argues that because Davis has not completed RDAP he is unable to show both that he has a redressable injury and that the action is ripe for disposition. (Id.) As discussed below, the Court agrees that this action is not ripe because Davis has neither ...


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