United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Joseph Waters, Jr., Federal Prison Camp Duluth, pro se
Voss, Ann M. Bildtsen, and David W. Fuller, United States
Attorney's Office, for Defendants.
RICHARD NELSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Petitioner's Objections
[Doc. No. 4] to the Report and Recommendation of Magistrate
Judge Schultz dated May 17, 2017 (“R&R”)
[Doc. No. 3], which recommended dismissing his Petition for a
Writ of Habeas Corpus (“Habeas Pet.”) [Doc. No.
1]. For the reasons set forth below, Petitioner's
Objections are overruled, the Court adopts the Report and
Recommendation, and dismisses the Habeas Petition without
prejudice for lack of jurisdiction.
John Joseph Waters, Jr. (“Waters”) is an inmate
at the federal prison camp in Duluth, Minnesota. (Habeas Pet.
at 1.) Waters was convicted on multiple counts
of wire fraud, income tax evasion, and filing false income
tax returns, and sentenced to 108 months of incarceration by
the Honorable Ann D. Montgomery in the District of Minnesota.
See United States v. Waters, 799 F.3d 964 (8th Cir.
of 2016, Waters submitted a request to Defendant Warden
William True (“Warden True”) asking the Warden to
request the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons
(“BOP”) to move the court that sentenced Waters
for his compassionate release under 18 U.S.C. §
3582(c)(1)(A). (See Request for Compassionate
Release Mot. at 2 [Doc. No. 1-3].) Specifically, Waters
requested a “transfer to home confinement” so
that he could care for his elderly and medically infirmed
mother after the recent death of his father, who had been his
mother's caretaker. (Id. at 2-4.) Waters claimed
that his mother did not wish to live in a nursing home, which
would also be cost prohibitive, and that other members of his
family-including his seven siblings-were unable to assume a
caretaking role “due to various family, career,
geographic, health, and financial reasons[.]”
(Id. at 4.)
True denied Waters' request, stating that the BOP's
internal policies regarding the extraordinary circumstances
that warrant motions for compassionate release did not
include providing care to a parent or family member. (See
Id. at 15.) Warden True also noted that there were
numerous family members besides Waters who could care for his
mother. (Id. at 15.) Waters appealed this decision
to multiple BOP divisions, but those appeals were denied.
(Id. at 33-34, 36, 41-42, 46.)
now seeks a writ of habeas corpus, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241, based on his claim that the BOP failed to
“properly consider” his request for compassionate
release. (Habeas Pet. at 2.) Specifically, Waters argues that
the BOP “misapplied and misinterpreted” its own
policies regarding non-medical requests for compassionate
release, as well as the statutory criteria controlling such
requests. (Id. at 3-4, 7-8.)
Magistrate Judge recommended dismissing the Habeas Petition
without prejudice. (R&R at 5.) First, he noted that the
Court likely lacked jurisdiction to consider Waters'
§ 2241 Petition. (Id. at 2-3.) Second, even
assuming the Court had jurisdiction, he concluded that the
BOP's denial of Waters' compassionate release request
was not subject to judicial review. (Id. at 3-4.)
Third, considering the merits of Waters' claims, he found
that the BOP regulations and other statutory provisions cited
by Waters did not support his claim that the BOP abused its
discretion. (Id. at 4.)
presents three objections to the Report and Recommendation.
(See Pl.'s Objs. at 1.) First, Waters asserts
that the BOP failed to comport with the “spirit and
intent” of the statutes governing compassionate release
by refusing to move for release in situations like his (i.e.,
where the prisoner's own medical condition is not at
issue, but instead the well-being and care of one related to
the prisoner is the basis for the request). (See Id.
at 2-3.) Citing a 2013 report by the Department of
Justice's Office of the Inspector General that is
critical of the BOP's practices related to compassionate
release, Waters argues that “[t]he BOP's
categorical refusal to give serious consideration to any and
all [compassionate release] requests . . . made based upon
non-medical circumstances” is a “serious abuse of
[the BOP's] discretion.” (See Id. at 3-7.)
Second, Waters contends that this Court has the authority to
consider his claims related to compassionate release for
non-medical reasons-regardless of whether the BOP moved for
his compassionate release-because to find otherwise would
deny him the ability to challenge the BOP's allegedly
improper practices. (See Id. at 7-8.) Third, Waters
argues that a § 2241 habeas petition is the proper
vehicle to pursue his claims because he is being held
“in violation of the laws of the United States”
and is attempting to challenge the legality of his
detention. (See Id. at 9-10.)
Court must conduct a de novo review of any portion of a
magistrate judge's report and recommendation to which
specific objections are made. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1);
Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b); D. Minn. L.R. 72.2(b). The Court
liberally construes the filings and objections of pro se
litigants. Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914 (8th
Cir. 2004); Lindsey v. City of Minneapolis, No.
15-cv-1202 (WMW/BRT), 2016 WL 3360485, at *2 (D. Minn. June
contends that his Habeas Petition is the proper means to
assert his claims related to the BOP's refusal to move
for his compassionate release. (See Pl.'s Objs.
at 9- 10.) Although this issue is not entirely settled in the
case law, the weight of ...