APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA (D.C. Civil No. 79-0545)
Before: HUNTER, SLOVITER and WISDOM,*fn* Circuit Judges
1. This is an appeal from an order of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania dismissing without prejudice appellant's petition for a writ of habeas corpus because of his failure to exhaust available administrative remedies.
2. Appellant, Henry C. Bradshaw, was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment by the District Court of the Virgin Islands. Bradshaw was confined initially to the Adult Correctional Facility at Golden Grove, Virgin Islands, but pursuant to a request from the Director of the Bureau of Corrections of the Virgin Islands ("Director"), he was transferred to the custody of the United States Bureau of Prisons. Appellant was then committed to the United States Penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia; subsequently he was transferred to the federal facility in Leavenworth, Kansas, and later to Lewisburg, Pennsylvania where he is currently confined.
3. Proceeding pro se in the district court, Bradshaw argued that: (1) the transfers violated due process because he was not afforded notice, or a hearing, or a statement of reasons for the transfers; (2) his life was in constant danger in the federal facilities; (3) the transfer to the mainland prevented his family from visiting him; (4) he should not have been transferred in the absence of a showing that he posed a security risk in the Virgin Islands prisons, and (5) there was no statutory basis for the transfers.
4. The district court referred appellant's petition to a magistrate, who, in a report of June 20, 1979, refused appellees' request to dismiss for failure to exhaust administrative remedies, because it would be futile to require exhaustion when the substantive claims clearly lacked merit. Relying on the Supreme Court's decision in Montanye v. Haymes, 427 U.S. 236, 49 L. Ed. 2d 466, 96 S. Ct. 2543 (1976), the magistrate concluded that there could be no due process bar to transferring an inmate from the Virgin Islands to the federal prison system in the absence of "some right or justifiable expectation" grounded in the local law making transfer dependent upon a showing of special need.Montanye, 427 U.S. at 242.*fn1 The magistrate held that 1A V.I. Code tit. 5, § 4501 (Supp. 1976) granted broad discretion to the Director of the Bureau of Corrections to transfer inmates to federal prison facilities.*fn2 He also found that 18 U.S.C. § 5003 (1976) empowered the federal officials to assume custody of territorial prisoners.*fn3 Accordingly, he recommended that appellant's petition be denied.
5. Bradshaw filed exceptions to the magistrate's report on July 6, 1979. While continuing to press his claims concerning personal safety and hardship to his family, appellant elaborated upon his statutory claim. He argued that 18 U.S.C. § 5003 (1976) authorized the transfer of only those state and territorial prisoners requiring special treatment not available in local facilities. He also argued that 1a V.I. Code Ann. tit. 5, § 4501 did not authorize the Director to transfer inmates to the federal prison system without a hearing.
6. The district court dismissed appellant's petition without prejudice for failure to exhaust available administrative remedies. It held that "Bradshaw's claims relating to his personal safety, hardship on himself, and his family, and his late claim based on the general condition of his health must be dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies." Bradshaw v. Carlson, No. 79-545, order at 2 (M.D.Pa. August 2, 1979). Appellant's section 5003 claim was also dismissed on exhaustion grounds. In reaching this result, the district court observed that if it were to rely on this court's decision in United States ex rel. Marrero v. Warden, Lewisburg Penitentiary, 483 F.2d 656, 659 (3d Cir. 1973), rev'd on other grounds, 417 U.S. 653, 41 L. Ed. 2d 383, 94 S. Ct. 2532 (1974), then "there would be no need for Bradshaw to exhaust administrative remedies because the only issue involved is the proper construction of § 5003." Bradshaw, No. 79-545, order at 3. The court refused to follow Marrero, reasoning that the Bureau of Prisons should be given an opportunity to construe the statute in administrative proceedings prior to any judicial action. This appeal followed.*fn4
7. A federal prisoner ordinarily may not seek habeas corpus relief until he has exhausted all available administrative remedies. Arias v. United States Parole Commission, 648 F.2d 196 (3d Cir. 1981); United States ex rel. Sanders v. Arnold, 535 F.2d 848, 850 (3d Cir. 1976); Soyka v. Alldredge, 481 F.2d 303 (3d Cir. 1973). We have adhered to the exhaustion doctrine for several reasons:
(1) judicial review may be facilitated by allowing the appropriate agency to develop a factual record and apply its expertise, (2) judicial time may be conserved because the agency might grant the relief sought, and (3) administrative autonomy requires that an agency be given an opportunity to correct its own errors.
Marrero 483 F.2d at 659. See also Sanders, 535 F.2d at 853 (Adams, J., dissenting). Bradshaw admits that he has not attempted to exhaust administrative remedies. Accordingly, the district court correctly dismissed appellant's claims with respect to his personal safety, hardship on himself and his family, and his health. These claims are particularly ill-suited for judicial review without the prior development of a factual record by administrative authorities.
8. The exhaustion doctrine will not be applied, however, when "none of the basic goals [of the doctrine] would be served." Marrero, 483 F.2d at 659. See also Sanders, 535 F.2d at 851-55 (Adams, J., dissenting). Thus, we held in Marrero that exhaustion of administrative remedies is not required when the issue "involves only statutory construction," because there is no need for the administrative agency to develop a factual record or apply its expertise. Marrero, 483 F.2d at 659. Such a situation involving only statutory construction is presented in the instant case.In addition, the second and third premises of the exhaustion doctrine set forth in Marrero are inapplicable because of the appellees' consistent opposition to Bradshaw's contention that section 5003 prevented his transfer in the absence of a showing of need for special treatment. It is unlikely that appellees will change their position and afford Bradshaw the relief he seeks. See Answer or Response to Rule to Show Cause, Bradshaw v. Carlson, No. 79-545 (M.D.Pa. May 29, 1979).
9. In holding appellant's section 5003 claim to be barred by the exhaustion doctrine, the district court concluded that the statutory construction exception created by Marrero had been implicitly overruled by this court's more recent decision in Sanders . We disagree; Sanders merely restated the general principle that a federal prisoner ordinarily may not seek habeas corpus relief until he has exhausted administrative remedies. That case did not purport to hold that exhaustion is required when the issue "involves only statutory construction."*fn5 Marrero, 483 F.2d at 659. Thus, Marrero continues to be the law of this circuit and the district court should not have dismissed appellant's section 5003 claim for failure to exhaust.*fn6
10. Although disposing of appellant's petition on exhaustion grounds, the district court nonetheless addressed the merits of his section 5003 claim. The court concluded that the statute does not require a showing of a need for specialized treatment or the availability of specialized treatment facilities before a state or territorial prisoner may be transferred to the federal prison system. This is consistent with the construction given to section 5003 by Judge Adams' recent decision in Beshaw v. Fenton, 635 F.2d 239, 242-45 (3d Cir. 1980). See also Howe v. Smith, 452 U.S. 473, 101 S. Ct. 2468, 69 L. Ed. 2d 171, 49 ...