United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Tallahassee Division
SUSANNE D. HELBIG, Petitioner,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, et al., Respondents.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
THAI CANNON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
case is before the Court on Petitioner Susanne D.
Helbig's petition for writ of habeas corpus, filed
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (ECF Docs. 1, 2),
Respondent United States of America's response (ECF Doc.
17) and Helbig's reply (ECF Doc. 21). The case is
referred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge for a Report and
Recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C § 636 and N.D. Fla.
Loc. R. 72.2(B). After reviewing the parties'
submissions, the undersigned recommends Helbig's petition
2014, Helbig, a German national, pleaded guilty to mortgage
fraud conspiracy and making a false statement on a tax return
in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of
Virginia. ECF Doc. 17-1 at 1. She was sentenced to 96 months
in prison. Id. at 2. Helbig is currently a Bureau of
Prisons (“BOP”) inmate confined at the Federal
Correctional Institution in Aliceville, Alabama. ECF Docs.
19, 22. At the time she initiated this case, she was confined
at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tallahassee,
Florida. ECF Doc. 1.
2017, Helbig began requesting an immigration hearing to
clarify whether she would be deported at the end of her
prison sentence. ECF Doc. 2 at 1-2. Because Helbig is not an
American citizen, she is “assessed a Public Safety
Factor, which deprives [her] from realizing a lower, more
appropriate custody level, imposing a much harsher punishment
and exposing [her] to more severe conditions at a higher
security level; it refuses [her] any eligibility to time
credits due to program participation, and home detention
custody release.” Id. at 1-2. If a hearing was
held and an immigration judge determined Helbig would not be
deported upon her release, the Public Safety Factor would be
removed and Helbig could participate in rehabilitative
programs and receive a lower security classification.
had an immigration interview in March 2018 and was told she
“would receive the final paperwork within 6 weeks at
the most.” Id. at 1. After Helbig received no
further information, she unsuccessfully filed administrative
grievances requesting an immigration hearing. ECF Doc. 1 at
8-13. Helbig then filed her § 2241 petition. ECF Docs.
1, 2. She was subsequently transferred to FCI Aliceville, one
the BOP's Institution Hearing Program (“IHP”)
sites. ECF Docs. 19, 22; ECF Doc. 17-4 at 1.
alleges the Government's failure to hold an immigration
hearing violates her due process rights, federal statutes and
BOP Program Statements. ECF Doc. 1 at 3. As relief, Helbig
asks the Court to order the Government to provide her with
“an immigration hearing in compliance with federal law
and DOJ/FBOP policy and directives.” Id. at 6.
necessary predicate for the granting of federal habeas relief
. . . is a determination by the federal court that [a
prisoner's] custody violates the Constitution, laws, or
treaties of the United States.” Rose v.
Hodges, 423 U.S. 19, 21 (1975) (citing 28 U.S.C. §
Helbig alleges her due process rights have been violated
because the Government's failure to schedule an
immigration hearing has subjected her to harsher conditions
of confinement and prevented her from realizing the full
benefits of the BOP's rehabilitative programs.
Helbig's allegations, however, do not present a viable
due process claim because she does not have a liberty
interest in either her custodial classification or
rehabilitative programs. See Moody v. Daggett, 429
U.S. 78, 88 n.9 (1976) (noting no due process protections are
required for “prisoner classification and eligibility
for rehabilitative programs in the federal system”;
“Congress has given federal prison officials full
discretion to control these conditions of confinement . . .
and petitioner has no legitimate statutory or constitutional
entitlement sufficient to invoke due process.”);
Jennings v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 344 Fed.Appx.
954, 955 (5th Cir. 2009) (“An inmate lacks
any constitutional interest in custodial classification, and
his disagreement with his classification is insufficient to
state a constitutional violation.”) (citation omitted);
Baranwal, 2015 WL 171410 at *3 (“[B]ecause
federal prisoners do not possess a liberty interest in their
security classification, a claim that the [Public Safety
Factor] deprives Petitioner of liberty without due process in
violation of the Fifth Amendment must fail. . . . Nor do they
possess a liberty interest in rehabilitative programs, such
as home confinement.”) (citations omitted).
also argues the Government must provide her with an
immigration hearing pursuant to 8 U.S.C. §
1228(a)(3)(A). ECF Doc. 1 at 3; ECF Doc. 2 at 5. That
(3) Expedited Proceedings
(A) Notwithstanding any other provision of
law, the Attorney General shall provide for the initiation
and, to the extent possible, the completion of removal
proceedings, and any administrative appeals thereof, in the
case of any alien convicted of an aggravated felony before
the alien's release from incarceration for the underlying
(B) Nothing in this section shall be
construed as requiring the Attorney General to effect the
removal of any alien sentenced to actual incarceration,
before release from the penitentiary or correctional