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Anderson v. Williams

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

March 3, 2017




         Petitioner, Dexter Anderson, has filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 challenging his security classification and conditions of confinement at the Federal Correctional Institution at Danbury (“FCI-Danbury”). See Pet. Writ Habeas Corpus, ECF No. 1. Respondent, Warden D.K. Williams of FCI-Danbury, has moved to dismiss the petition under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). For the reasons set forth below, the motion will be GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

         I. Factual Allegations

         On April 23, 2004, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, a jury found Mr. Anderson guilty of one count of conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of crack cocaine, one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine, one count of possession of a firearm by a felon and five counts of distribution of cocaine. See Mem. Supp. Pet., ECF No. 2 at 1-2. Under the Sentencing Guidelines then in effect, Mr. Anderson's “offense level of 44 and [] criminal history category of III” mandated a sentence of life imprisonment. Id. at 2; see also United States v. Anderson, 365 F. App'x 17, 18 (7th Cir. 2010).

         On November 23, 2004, the district judge decided not to impose the life sentence called for by the Sentencing Guidelines because he concluded that “a life sentence was too severe absent violent conduct.” See Anderson, 365 F. App'x at 18. Applying Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296 (2004), and United States v. Booker, 375 F.3d 508 (7th Cir. 2004), aff'd, 543 U.S. 220 (2005), the district court declined to treat the guidelines as mandatory and imposed a non-guideline sentence of 300 months, followed by twenty years of supervised release. Id. The court determined that “a sentence above the statutory minimum was necessary to reflect [the petitioner's] aggravating conduct” including his attempt “to retrieve a loaded gun during his arrest.” See id.

         On June 9, 2006, the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the judgment of conviction and sentence. See United States v. Anderson, 450 F.3d 294 (7th Cir. 2006). Since then, Mr. Anderson has filed three motions to reduce his sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). A judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin denied all three motions and the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the denials of those motions. See United States v. Anderson, 549 F. App'x 556, 557 (7th Cir. 2013); United States v. Anderson, 488 F. App'x 129, 131 (7th Cir. 2012). Anderson, 365 F. App'x at 19.

         A. Custody Designation at the Bureau of Prisons

         The Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) is responsible for determining the classification and placement of prisoners, 18 U.S.C. § 3621, and created policies and procedures to guide it in carrying out that mandate. BOP policies indicate how to determine each inmate's “custody level, ” which indicates how much staff supervision a particular inmate requires. See Policy Statement 5100.08 (“PS 5100.08”), Ch. 6, p. 1.[1] Male correctional institutions are classified into five different security levels: Minimum, Low, Medium, High, and Administrative. Id. at Ch. 1 at 1. According to PS 5100.08, the “security designation” or “security level” of each inmate is based on several factors, including records from the inmate's sentencing, background information from the Judgment and reports completed by the Probation Office, the inmate's history of escapes or attempts, and Public Safety Factors (“PSFs”) designated by Bureau officials. See Id. at Ch. 4, p. 7-14.

         The BOP uses PSFs to account for “certain demonstrated behaviors which require increased security measures to ensure the protection of society.” PS 5100.08, Ch. 2, p. 4. BOP officials normally apply PSFs before an inmate's initial assignment to an institution, however, “additions or deletions may be made at anytime thereafter.” Id. at Ch. 5, p. 7. The “sentence length” PSF applies to male inmates with more than ten years remaining to serve, who must be housed in at least a low security level institution, and inmates with more than twenty years remaining in their sentence, who will be housed in at least a medium security level institution. Id. at Ch. 5, p. 9. The “greatest severity offense” PSF applies to inmates whose “current term of confinement falls into the ‘“greatest severity” range, which applies to certain identified offenses including “assault.” See id.; see also Offense Severity Scale, PS 5100.08 Appendix A. When an inmate's record contains this PSF, the inmate must be kept in an institution whose security level is at least “low security.” Id. at Ch. 5, p. 7.

         The BOP also designates the “Management Security Level” (“MSL”) of each prisoner. The MSL “takes precedence over … the scored security level and the application of Public Safety Factors” to determine an inmate's placement. Id. at Ch. 5, p. 2. MSL's include “Work Cadre, ” which applies to inmates allowed to perform work outside the perimeter of the institution, and “Medical, ” which applies to inmates who are designated to certain facilities based on their medical needs. Id. at Ch. 5, p. 4. The BOP can also apply the MSL designations of “lesser security” and “greater security, ” which override an inmate's security classification. Id. at p. 5.

         B. Mr. Anderson's Custody Determination

         After sentencing, the Federal Designation and Sentencing Computation Center (the “Center”) determined Mr. Anderson's security designation and custody classification based on a number of factors. See Decl. Supp. Pet Writ Habeas Corpus, ECF No. 3, ¶ 18 (hereinafter “Anderson Decl.”). The Center assigned Mr. Anderson a PSF of “sentence length” and concluded that the severity of his offense was moderate and his security score level was medium. See Id. Based on these determinations and other factors the Center designated Mr. Anderson to a medium security prison facility. See id.

         Mr. Anderson was initially confined at the Federal Correctional Institution in Pekin, Illinois. Anderson Decl. ¶ 5; see also Security/Designation Form, Ex. 3.[2] In June 2008, due to a change in Mr. Anderson's management security level, FCI-Pekin officials transferred him to the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, Minnesota (“FMC-RCH”), a low security prison facility. See Id. at ¶ 6; see also Custody Classification Form (May 27, 2010), Ex. 10, p. 20. In September 2010, prison officials transferred Mr. Anderson to an institution in Beaumont, Texas (“FCI-Beaumont”), citing his medical needs. Anderson Decl. ¶ 17. In April 2012, Mr. Anderson was allegedly designated to be transferred to FMC-RCH. Id. at ¶¶ 18-19. Eventually, prison officials did not follow through with this request and transferred him to a low security institution in Milan, Michigan (“FMC-Milan”). Id. at ¶ 21. In July 2014, the BOP transferred Mr. Anderson to his current placement in FCI-Danbury. Id.

         C. Alleged Retaliation against Mr. Anderson

         Mr. Anderson alleges that “BOP officials … played a role in retaliating against [him] for exercising his First Amendment rights by either adding a PSF or refusing to remove the PSF for “greatest severity.” Mem. Supp. Pet., 11. Mr. Anderson points to several incidents in which he complained to or challenged prison officials, prompting the alleged retaliation. First, Mr. Anderson allegedly filed an administrative remedy complaint against Julie Clark, his case manager at FMC-RCH.[3] See Anderson Decl. ¶ 6. Mr. Anderson alleges that he filed an administrative complaint against Ms. Clark because she “became very personal and disrespectful” towards him and “would say things … that [he] thought were inappropriate.” Id. at ¶ 8.

         Second, Mr. Anderson filed a federal lawsuit alleging that BOP staff violated his constitutional rights by “interfering with his medical treatment and retaliating against me.” Anderson Decl. ¶ 18. He alleges that staff-members at FMC-RCH became aware of this lawsuit by April 2012, when he returned to FMC-RCH after his 18 months of confinement at BML. Id. at ¶ 19.

         Mr. Anderson alleges that Ms. Clark and other prison officials retaliated against him in various ways after becoming aware of his federal lawsuit and administrative remedy complaint against Ms. Clark. See Anderson Decl. ¶¶ 9-15. First, he alleges that Ms. Clark retaliated against him by adding a PSF of “greatest severity” to his file. Id. at ¶ 13. Because of this additional PSF, Mr. Anderson became a “medium security prisoner.” Id. The BOP allegedly “lodged” a management variable against Mr. Anderson to override the increase in his security status so that he could remain in a low security prison. Id. Despite the BOP's override, Mr. Anderson alleges that the continued application of the “greatest severity” PSF will have an impact on his future. Mem. Supp. Pet., 16. He alleges that the PSF will “ultimately interfere” with his eligibility for Halfway Houses or furloughs. Id.

         Mr. Anderson also alleges that Ms. Clark shared information about him with U.S. Marshals, who shared it with a U.S. Attorney who used the information during a hearing on Mr. Anderson's motion to reduce his sentence. Anderson Decl. ¶ 9. He alleges that Ms. Clark shared his information with other BOP staff, prompting them to treat him like a “very dangerous prisoner” during medical trips. Id. at ¶¶ 10-13.

         In September 2010, prison officials at FMC Rochester transferred Mr. Anderson to the low security facility at FCI-Beaumont in Beaumont, Texas. Anderson Decl. ¶ 17. In 2011, a case manager at FCI-Beaumont removed the PSF factor of “greatest severity” and reduced Mr. Anderson's offense level to moderate. See Male Custody Classification Form (Feb. 8, 2011), Ex. 11 (p. 31).

         On April 3, 2012, prison officials at FCI-Beaumont allegedly determined that Mr. Anderson should be re-designated to a facility that was closer to his home in Wisconsin. See Anderson Decl. ¶ 8; Mem. Supp. Pet., 4. Mr. Anderson alleges that Ms. Clark, who was at that point a case manager coordinator (“CMC”), blocked his transfer back to FMC Rochester because he had filed lawsuits against prison officials at that facility. Mem. Supp. Pet., 6. Ms. Clark also allegedly recommended that the case manager at FCI-Beaumont give Mr. Anderson a PSF for “greatest severity” and increase his custody score. See Anderson Decl. ¶ 20. The case manager at FCI-Beaumont did add the PSF of “greatest severity” and raised Mr. Anderson's offense level, but maintained Mr. ...

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