United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER OF DISMISSAL DKT. NO. 10
WILLIAM H. ORRICK, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
U.S.C. § 2241 federal habeas action is DISMISSED upon
respondent's motion because petitioner Shirley Soriano
did not exhaust her administrative remedies and she has not
shown that exhaustion should be excused. Her argument that
the process would have been futile is contradicted by the
record, which shows that the administrative process after she
received her disciplinary decision on September 21, 2018,
would have been completed well prior to any transfer to a
halfway house (which occurred by June 5, 2019).
was a federal prisoner housed at FCI-Dublin when she filed
suit. (Pet., Dkt. No. 1 at 1.) She was serving a 30-month
sentence for convictions under 42 U.S.C. §
1320a-7b(b)(2)(A) (Illegal Remunerations for Health Care
Referrals). (MTD, Dkt. No. 10 at 3.) Her projected release
date was October 28, 2019. (Id.)
September 2018, she was found guilty of violating prison
rules regarding the use of mail and the telephone.
(Id. at 2; Mot. to Dismiss (MTD), Dkt. No. 10 at 3.)
A 14-day loss of good conduct time was imposed, along with
the loss of various privileges. (Pet., Dkt. No. 1 at 1.) She
was informed that she had the right to appeal the
disciplinary decision. (MTD, Dkt. No. 10 at 5.) She did not.
(Opp., Dkt. No. 11 at 1.) She feared that participating in
the exhaustion process would take too long and result in the
delay by two weeks of her transfer to a halfway house.
(Id. at 1-2.)
least as of June 5, 2019, Soriano's custody was
transferred from FCI-Dublin to a halfway house in Los
Angeles. (Soriano Letter, Dkt. No. 13.)
2241 allows “the Supreme Court, any justice thereof,
the district courts and any circuit judge” to grant
writs of habeas corpus “within their respective
jurisdictions.” 28 U.S.C. § 2241(a). The Court may
entertain a petition for writ of habeas corpus from a person
claiming to be “in custody in violation of the
Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.”
28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3).
is no doubt that Soriano did not exhaust her administrative
remedies. She argues that the exhaustion obligation should be
excused for futility. She believes that “she would
likely be released [to a halfway house] prior to the finality
of the administrative process, ” (Opp., Dkt, No. 11 at
1-2), a process she asserts takes “more than five
months” to complete, (id. at 2). A court
ruling in her favor, should exhaustion be excused and the
disciplinary decision voided, would have accelerated her
transfer to a halfway house by two weeks (from May 28-June 28
to May 14-June 14). (Id. at 1-2.) As it happened,
the transfer occurred at least by June 5, 2019, the date of a
letter from her to the Court informing it of her new address.
That date was within her requested range (May 14 to June 14)
and the later range. (Dkt. No. 13.)
contends that Soriano's futility argument
“misplaced.” (Reply, Dkt. No. 12 at 4.) I agree.
Assignment to a Residential Reentry Center such as a halfway
house is “completely discretionary and generally not
subject to judicial review.” (Id.) Moreover,
there is no support for her assertion that the review process
would have taken too long. (Id. at 4-5.) The
disciplinary decision was issued on September 21, 2018. If
one accepts her assertions, the review process would have
been completed five months later, on February 21, 2019,
roughly three months before her projected halfway house
2241 does not require that a habeas petitioner exhaust
administrative remedies prior to filing suit. But the Ninth
Circuit does “require, as a prudential matter, that
habeas petitioners exhaust available judicial and
administrative remedies before seeking relief under §
2241.” Castro-Cortez v. INS, 239 F.3d 1037,
1047 (9th Cir. 2001) (abrogated on other grounds by
Fernandez-Vargas v. Gonzales, 548 U.S. 30 (2006)).
“Prudential limits, like jurisdictional limits and
limits on venue, are ordinarily not optional.”
are a number of exceptions to the general rule requiring
exhaustion, covering situations such as where administrative
remedies are inadequate or not efficacious, pursuit of
administrative remedies would be a futile gesture,
irreparable injury will result, or the administrative
proceedings would be void.” Laing v. Ashcroft,
370 F.3d 994, 1000 (9th Cir. 2004) (quoting S.E.C. v.
G.C. George Sec., Inc., 637 F.2d 685, 688 (9th Cir.
1981)). “Specifically, exhaustion of administrative
remedies may not be required when (1) available remedies
provide no genuine opportunity for adequate relief; (2)
irreparable injury may occur without immediate judicial
relief; (3) administrative appeal ...