United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Eastern Division
PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION
following recommended disposition has been sent to Chief
United States District Judge Brian S. Miller. 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.
Wayne Crutchfield (“Crutchfield”), in federal
custody at FCI Forrest City, Arkansas, brings this action
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. He challenges the manner
in which his sentence is being executed, alleging that he has
been wrongfully denied credit for time served. Specifically,
Crutchfield contends the Bureau of Prisons
(“BOP”) failed to credit him for 18 months of
time served. Respondent Gene Beasley (“Beasley”)
asserts Crutchfield has failed to exhaust his administrative
remedies, and that his sentence is properly calculated. On
September 13, 2018, the Court notified Crutchfield of his
opportunity to respond to Beasley, and directed him to do so
on or before October 13. Docket entry no. 8. As of this date,
Crutchfield has not filed a responsive pleading.
of Administrative Remedies
United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has
consistently held that before seeking federal habeas corpus
relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, an inmate must exhaust
his available administrative remedies. The Eighth Circuit has
identified four objectives that are promoted by the
exhaustion requirement: “(1) the development of the
necessary factual background upon which the claim is based;
(2) the exercise of administrative expertise and
discretionary authority often necessary for the resolution of
the dispute; (3) the autonomy of the prison administration;
and (4) judicial efficiency from the settlement of disputes
at the prison level.” Mason v. Ciccone, 531
F.2d 867, 870 (8th Cir. 1976). There are benefits from prior
administrative review, even assuming that the BOP denies
Crutchfield's request. The benefits include a record of
the reasons the BOP decided as it did. Further, if
Crutchfield is correct in his assertions, the BOP “must
be given a chance to clean up its act before the courts are
asked to intervene.” Greene v. Meese, 875 F.2d
639, 641 (7th Cir. 1989).
attached an affidavit by Andrea Brooks-Smith
(“Brooks-Smith”), the associate warden's
secretary at the BOP's FCI complex in Forrest City.
Docket entry no. 7-1. Brooks-Smith's duties include
preparing responses to administrative remedy requests from
inmates. In performing her duties, she has access to records
maintained in the ordinary course of business by the BOP,
including inmate central and administrative remedy files. Her
search of those files reflects that Crutchfield is serving a
79 month sentence for possession of a stolen firearm, with an
expected release date of August 11, 2020. Id., pages
1 and 2.
describes the three-tiered administrative grievance procedure
available to federal inmates, which is codified at 28 C.F.R.
§ 542.10 et seq. This procedure provides that
inmates must first seek resolution informally with staff. If
the complaint is not resolved at that level, the inmate is
required to submit a Request for Administrative Remedy to the
local warden. If the inmate is not satisfied with the
warden's response, he must appeal to the BOP's
Regional Director within 20 days of the warden's
response. If dissatisfied with the Regional Director's
response, the inmate must appeal to the Office of General
Counsel within 30 days of the Regional Director's
response. A grievance is not exhausted unless it has been
properly presented at all levels of the administrative remedy
process. Id., page 3.
relevant times, the BOP recorded and maintained all
administrative remedy submissions at all levels in SENTRY, a
computer-based information system. Id. As part of
her job, Brooks-Smith has access to SENTRY, which contains a
record of all grievances submitted by Crutchfield.
Brooks-Smith's search of SENTRY shows that Crutchfield
filed only one administrative remedy request, on September 1,
2015, while he was housed in West Virginia. Docket entry no.
7-1, pages 11, 12. This request was closed on September 9,
2015, and no appeal was taken. In light of the absence of any
appeal of his single request, Brooks-Smith states that
Crutchfield has not exhausted his administrative remedy
requirements on any issue. Docket entry no. 7-1, pages 4, 5.
Despite the Court's invitation for Crutchfield to
respond, Brooks-Smith's sworn statement stands
Court is aware that exhaustion of administrative remedies is
not required if it would be an exercise in futility. Here,
however, Crutchfield makes no showing that this is the case.
The Court thus cannot conclude that it would be futile for
Crutchfield to seek redress from the BOP, especially in light
of that entity's duty to calculate Crutchfield's
proper sentence. The BOP should be given the opportunity to
address Crutchfield's arguments prior to the presentation
of the claims in federal court.
result, the Court recommends that the petition for writ of
habeas corpus be dismissed without prejudice to allow
Crutchfield to pursue his available administrative remedies.