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Farrakhan-Muhammad v. Fox

United States District Court, D. Colorado

April 17, 2018

JACK FOX, Complex Warden, Respondent.



         I. BACKGROUND

         This matter comes before the Court on the Application for a Writ of Habeas Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, Docket No. 1, filed pro se by Applicant, Q. Ili-Yaas H. Farrakhan-Muhammad. On April 27, 2017, the Court issued an order, Docket No. 11, directing Respondent to show cause why the Application should not be granted. Respondent filed a Response to Order to Show Cause, Docket No. 13, on May 17, 2017. On May 31, 2017, Applicant filed a Traverse/Reply, Docket No. 14.

         Applicant, a federal prisoner in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”), currently is incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary, Administrative Maximum, in Florence, Colorado. On February 20, 2015, Applicant received Incident Report (“IR”) No. 2674280, which charged him with assault without serious injury in violation of Code 224. Docket No. 13-4 at 2 (Disciplinary Hearing Officer Report). The reporting officer described the incident as follows:

On January 22, 2015 at 7:10 AM I was attempting to feed inmate Farrakhan-Muhammad, Q Ili Yaas Reg. No. 02791-088 while he was in the medical observation cell. After calling several times for inmate Farrakhan to step to the door to get his trays and no response, I proceeded to place the trays through the slot and on the floor when inmate Farrakhan stated, “stop fucking with me.” Inmate Farrakhan then got up, grabbed the trays, and threw them back out the trays slot. The trays struck my right hand. I secured the tray slot without further incident.

Id. at 6 (Incident Report).

         The incident report was referred to the FBI for further investigation. Docket No. 13-4 at 7-8. The FBI declined criminal prosecution and returned the incident to the BOP for institutional processing on February 20, 2015. Id. Applicant was advised of his rights on February 20 and given the opportunity to make a statement. Id. at 7. Applicant declined to make a statement. Id. Applicant received a copy of the incident report the same day. Id. at 6.

         On February 23, 2015, the Unit Disciplinary Committee (“UDC”) conducted a hearing and, as a result of the hearing, referred the charge against Applicant to a Discipline Hearing Officer (“DHO”) for final disposition. Docket No. 13-4 at 8. The DHO, however, returned the report to the UDC because the requested staff representatives were unavailable and errors were found on the submitted documents. Id. The warden found that there was good reason for the delay in processing the incident report and the delay did not hinder Applicant's ability to marshal a defense. Id.

         On March 18, 2015, a second UDC hearing was held, at which time Applicant received a Notice of Discipline Hearing and the Inmate Rights at Discipline Hearing form. Docket No. 13-4 at 26-27. Applicant requested either Lieutenant Thomas or Lieutenant Martin as his staff representative. Id. at 26. Applicant also asked to call Lieutenant Conley as a witness because he had taken photos of the food trays at the time of incident. Id.

         On April 27, 2015, a DHO conducted Applicant's hearing on IR No. 2674280. Docket No. 13-4 at 2. At the hearing, Applicant was represented by Lieutenant Thomas. Id. Lieutenant Thomas's statement at the hearing is summarized as follows:

Staff Representative Thomas advised he spoke with inmate Farrakhan-Muhammad. Representative Thomas indicated inmate Farrakhan-Muhammad requested he review video of the incident. Representative Thomas advised, on the day of the incident, he recalled requesting Lt. Alvarez preserve the video of the incident. According to the staff representative, Lt. Alvarez advised there was never video of the incident recorded.


         During the hearing, Applicant stated to the DHO that “[t]he staff called me by another name, Mitchell. When I didn't answer to that name, he threw the trays through the slot onto the floor. I didn't throw them back out. I told him to stop playing with me. All four trays didn't come through the slot. One was on the slot, and I set it back out there. I didn't throw it.” Docket No. 13-4 at 2.

         The DHO's written report in part is as follows:

The DHO finds you committed the prohibited act of Assault Without Serious Injury, Code 224, based on your actions of throwing your food trays back out of the slot striking the reporting staff member in the hand.
The DHO bases this finding on the incident report writer's statement in Section 11, which indicates you assaulted him while he attempted to provide you with food trays in the medical observation cell. According to the reporting staff member, he advised you several times to step to the door to get your food trays. According to the staff member, you did not respond, so he placed your trays through the slot and on the floor. According to the reporting staff member, you then stated, “stop fucking with me, ” grabbed the trays and threw them back out of the slot. The reporting staff member advises the trays struck him in the right hand. The DHO considered the supporting memorandum from Health Services Assistant S. Mills who confirms the events described in the disciplinary infraction. The DHO also considered the photograph and Staff Injury Assessment of the reporting staff member as well as your photograph and the photograph of at least parts of two food trays. The DHO considered your photograph, Bureau of Prisons Health Services Clinical Encounter, and you [sic] IOC/UDC Mental Health Evaluation. According to your mental health ...

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