United States District Court, D. Arizona
BRUCE G. MACDONALD, Magistrate Judge.
Currently pending before the Court is Petitioner Michael Hinojosa pro se Petition Under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 for a Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in Federal Custody ("Petition") (Doc. 1). Respondent has filed his Return and Answer to Order to Show Cause Why Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus Under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 Should Not Be Granted ("Response") (Doc. 8). Petitioner did not file a reply.
I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Petitioner is currently incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary ("USP") - Beaumont in Beaumont, Texas, serving a 1440-month or 120 year sentence for multiple offenses including Sexual Exploitation of a Child; Distribution of Image of Minor Engaging in Sexually Explicit Conduct; Possession of Images of Minors Engaging in Sexually Explicit Conduct; and Possession of Child Pornography. See Response (Doc. 8), Huband Decl. (Exh. "1"), Judgment & Commitment 3/13/208 (Attach. "2"). This term includes a concurrent sentence of lifetime supervised release. Id. In conjunction with Petitioner's convictions, the sentencing court ordered him to pay $26, 200.00 in restitution. Id., Exh. "1, " Attach. "2" at 5. Petitioner was sentenced on March 10, 2008 in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan. See id., Exh. "1, " Attach. "2." The sentencing court did not order a specific payment schedule at the time Petitioner's sentence was imposed. See id.; see also Petition (Doc. 1) at 4. The restitution order provides that "[u]nless the court has expressly ordered otherwise, if this judgment imposes a period of imprisonment, payment of criminal monetary penalties is due during imprisonment." Response (Doc. 8), Exh. "1, " Attach. "2" at 6.
While incarcerated at USP-Tucson, Petitioner agreed to participate in the Inmate Financial Responsibility Program ("IFRP"). Petition (Doc. 1) at 4. On January 27, 2012, Petitioner agreed to pay $25 per quarter toward his court ordered restitution. Response (Doc. 8), Exh. "1, " Inmate Financial Responsibility (Attach. "3") at 2. Petitioner's most recent payment was made on June 12, 2012, and his current restitution balance is $26, 125. Id. When Petitioner "was unable to meet the obligation the contract required[, ] [he] was again placed on IFRP Refuse' status." Petition (Doc. 1) at 4. "Petitioner then advised [the Warden] through a BP-9 that the IFRP participation requirement was being coerced and was in violation of the law." Id. "The BP-9 was denied[.]" Id.
On December 21, 2012, Petitioner filed the instant habeas petition. See Petition (Doc. 1). Petitioner challenges his placement by the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") on "IFRP Refuse" status. Petition (Doc. 1) at 4.
"Federal courts are always under an independent obligation to examine their own jurisdiction, '... and a federal court may not entertain an action over which it has no jurisdiction." Hernandez v. Campbell, 204 F.3d 861, 865 (9th Cir. 2000) (quoting FW/PBS, Inc. v. City of Dallas, 493 U.S. 215, 231, 110 S.Ct. 596, 107 L.Ed.2d 603 (1990), overruled in part on other grounds by City of Littleton, Colo. v. Z.J. Gifts D-4, L.L.C., 541 U.S. 774 (2004)). "Generally, motions to contest the legality of a sentence must be filed under § 2255 in the sentencing court, while petitions that challenge the manner, location, or conditions of a sentence's execution must be brought pursuant to § 2241 in the custodial court." Id. at 864. Therefore, a proper characterization of the petition is necessary to a determination of jurisdiction. Id.
Here, Petitioner does not claim that the sentencing court imposed an illegal sentence, rather he seeks relief with respect as to how the ordered restitution is being collected while he is incarcerated at a federal facility. Therefore, Petitioner is challenging the manner, location or condition of the execution of his sentence. Tucker v. Carlson, 925 F.2d 330, 332 (9th Cir. 1991) (a prisoner's challenge to the "manner in which his sentence was executed... [is] maintainable only in a petition for habeas corpus filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241"); see also Ward v. Chavez, 678 F.3d 1042 (9th Cir. 2012) (considering whether district court impermissibly delegated its authority to BOP under the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act ("MVRA") under § 2241); United States v. Lemoine, 546 F.3d 1042 (9th Cir. 2008) (considering validity of IFRP requiring restitution payments at a greater rate than specified by the sentencing court under § 2241). Such a challenge must be brought pursuant to § 2241 in the custodial court. At the time of filing the Petition, Petitioner was incarcerated at USP - Tucson in Arizona. Accordingly, this Court has jurisdiction over this matter. Francis v. Rison, 894 F.2d 353 (9th Cir. 1990).
1. In General
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has stated:
[28 U.S.C. § 2241] does not specifically require petitioners to exhaust direct appeals before filing petitions for habeas corpus. [Footnote omitted.] However, we require, as a prudential matter, that habeas petitioners exhaust available judicial ...