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Ali v. English

United States District Court, D. Kansas

March 15, 2017

FALASHA ALI, Petitioner,
v.
NICOLE ENGLISH, Warden, USP-Leavenworth, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          JOHN W. LUNGSTRUM UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is a petition for writ of habeas corpus filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Petitioner, a prisoner in federal custody at USP-Leavenworth (“USPL”), proceeds pro se. Petitioner challenges the Inmate Financial Responsibility Program (“IFRP”). The Court issued an Order to Show Cause, Respondent filed an Answer and Return (Doc. 3), and Petitioner filed a Traverse (Doc. 4). This matter is ready for resolution. The Court finds that Petitioner does not allege facts establishing a federal constitutional violation and denies relief.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff is currently incarcerated with the Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) at USPL. On October 2, 2008, Petitioner was sentenced in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, and is serving a 160-month sentence for one count of Bank Robbery and three counts of Armed Bank Robbery, and an 84-month sentence for Use of a Firearm During a Crime of Violence. Petitioner has a projected release date of February 22, 2024, via good conduct time.

         Petitioner alleges as Ground One in his Petition that the BOP's requirement that he sign a contract agreeing to make IFRP payments violates the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act of 1996; and that the BOP lacks authority to require Petitioner to make restitution payments through IFRP or to punish Petitioner for electing not to participate in the “voluntary” program. Petitioner's request for relief asks the Court to order BOP at USPL to remove him and similarly-situated inmates from “restriction” and “FRP Refusal Status.”

         II. Facts

         The Court finds the following uncontroverted facts from the pleadings and exhibits of both parties.

         Petitioner's October 2, 2008, federal Judgment and Commitment Order (“J&C”) specifies that Petitioner pay the following criminal monetary penalties: $500.00 assessment; $20, 326.95 restitution. (Doc. 3-2, at 36.) The J&C indicates restitution is due immediately, and further states:

Any remaining balance due at the time of release shall be paid at a monthly rate of 10% of gross income, subject to adjustment based on ability to pay . . . Unless the court has expressly ordered otherwise, if this judgment imposes imprisonment, payment of criminal monetary penalties is due during imprisonment. All criminal monetary penalties, except those payments through the Federal Bureau of Prisons' Inmate Financial Responsibility Program, are made to the clerk of the court.

Id. at 37. Because the J&C does not have a specific payment amount or percentage set forth by the court, the BOP has utilized its formula through the IFRP to assist Petitioner in repaying his restitution debt. Petitioner's last payment towards his financial obligations was on September 12, 2013. Id. at 39.

         Petitioner's IFRP status during his incarceration with the BOP has included Unassigned, Participates, No Obligation, and Refuses. Petitioner was placed on “No Obligation” status while housed at the Federal Correctional Complex Victorville, in Adelanto, California, based on procedures implemented after litigation occurring in the Ninth Circuit.

         Upon his arrival at USPL, Petitioner's unit team reviewed Petitioner's financial obligations and developed a financial plan in accordance with BOP policy. On or about December 5, 2016, Petitioner met with Mr. Booth, his Correctional Counselor, at USPL. During this initial meeting, Petitioner informed Booth that his security points were inaccurate and gave Booth a BP-8 challenging his inaccurate points. Booth gave Petitioner an IFRP contract and told him to sign it. Petitioner refused to sign it, and Booth told Petitioner to leave his office. Petitioner was then placed on “restriction” and IFRP “Refusal” status.

         III. Discussion

         To obtain habeas corpus relief, an inmate must demonstrate that “[h]e is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3). Generally, a federal prisoner must exhaust available administrative remedies before commencing a habeas corpus petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Williams v. O'Brien, 792 F.2d 986, 987 (10th Cir. ...


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