United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Eastern Division
PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
following recommended disposition has been sent to United
States District Judge J. Leon Holmes . You may file written
objections to all or part of this Recommendation. If you do
so, those objections must: (1) specifically explain the
factual and/or legal basis for your objection; and (2) be
received by the Clerk of this Court Clerk within fourteen
(14) days of this Recommendation. By not objecting, you may
waive the right to appeal questions of fact.
Chism (“Chism”), an inmate at the federal
penitentiary in Forrest City, Arkansas, seeks habeas corpus
relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Chism alleges: (1)
his due process and equal protection rights were violated by
a prison Disciplinary Hearing Officer (“DHO”) who
did not allow a staff member to accompany Chism during a
disciplinary hearing; (2) new evidence is now available which
would undermine the credibility of the of the officer who
charged Chism with a disciplinary violation; and (3) the
Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) has prevented Chism
from obtaining administrative relief. For relief, Chism asks
for expungement of the incident report, restoration of 41
days of good time, return of custody status as minimum
security, clearing of the incident from the central file, and
provision of a copy of the job performance report for the
officer who charged Chism with the violation.
respondent, Warden Gene Beasley (“Beasley”),
requests that the petition be dismissed as moot.
the documents provided by Chism and Beasley, the following
timeline may be constructed:
August 15, 2016. Chism is cited for
a disciplinary violation by Officer L. Perry. The charge is
possession of a hazardous tool (a cellphone). Petition, page
18. August 31, 2016. The
disciplinary hearing occurs. (The incident and the hearing
occurred at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. Chism
was later transferred to Forrest City, Arkansas.) Petition,
page 18. September 16, 2016. The
DHO issues his report finding Chism guilty as charged and
fixing his punishment as follows: disallowance of 41 days
good conduct time, 30 days disciplinary segregation, 180 days
loss of commissary, e-mail, and phone privileges. Petition
pages 17-19. December 14, 2016.
Chism's appeal of the disciplinary charge conviction is
denied. Petition, page 16. September 20,
2017. Chism signs his petition for writ of
habeas corpus, and the petition is filed with this Court five
days later. Petition, pages 1, 5. December 19,
2017. Chism's August 2016 incident report
is expunged, his good conduct time is restored, and his
security classification is changed from low to minimum. See
affidavit of James D. Crook, Supervisory Attorney at the
United States Department of Justice, BOP. Docket entry no.
7-2, pages 1-2.
claims may be neatly divided into two categories: one, his
claims which relate to proper credit and calculation of his
good time and release date from custody; and two, claims
which relate to all other issues, including his
classification level. Since Chism requests relief pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2241, only those claims in the first
category are properly before the Court. A section 2241 action
attacks the fact or duration of an inmate's confinement
and seeks either immediate release or a shortened period of
confinement. McIntosh v. U.S. Parole Com'n , 115
F.3d 809 (8th Cir. 1997). In contrast, allegations
targeting the conditions of confinement, including an
inmate's security level classification, must be pursued
in a civil rights action. Id. at 812. See also, e.g.,
Stanko v. Quay, 368 Fed.Appx. 208 (10th Cir.
2009) (security classification and erroneous assignment of
criminal history score were properly raised in a civil
rights, not habeas corpus, action). As a result, all of
Chism's claims fitting in the second category, such as
his request for a change in his security level and provision
of certain documents, are dismissed as improperly brought in
a habeas corpus action.
the claims properly raised in a habeas corpus action, the
proper pleading of these claims does not mean that they
remain to be decided. Here, Chism asks that his incident
report be expunged and his good time (41 days) be restored.
Both of these requests, which purportedly could affect the
time to be served by Chism, have been fulfilled by the
BOP's December 19, 2017, action. Docket entry no. 7-2,
page 1. Therefore, there remains no relief to be awarded
Chism which he has not already received, and he no longer has
a personal stake in the outcome of this lawsuit. The
Constitution, Article III, provides federal courts have
jurisdiction over ongoing cases and controversies.
When, as in this instance, the circumstances change and there
is no longer a controversy to be resolved, the case is moot.
Spencer v. Kamna, 523 U.S. 1 (1998); Beck v.
Missouri High Sch. Activities Ass'n , 18 F.3d 604
(8th Cir. 1994).
upon the foregoing, we recommend the case be dismissed and