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Third Circuit Upholds BOP Early Rule against APA Challenge

On October 26, 2009, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit joined the Eighth Circuit in holding that the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) did not violate the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) in categorically excluding certain offenders from early release who complete the Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP).

Albert Gardner filed a petition for habeas corpus arguing that the BOP violated the APA in promulgating a regulation that bars offenders who received a two-point gun enhancement sentence from RDAP early release eligibility. Gardner principally relied upon the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Arrington v. Daniels, 516 F.3d 1106 (9th Cir. 2008), which held that the BOP’s categorical exclusion rule was promulgated in violation of the APA. The BOP violated the APA, according to the Ninth Circuit, because it failed to adequately explain its decision to exclude, as opposed to include, offenders from early release.

Disagreeing with the Ninth Circuit, the Third Circuit joined the Eighth Circuit’s opinion in Gatewood v. Outlaw, 560 F.3d 843 (8th Cir. 2009) in holding that “the BOP articulated a sufficient rationale” for its regulation excluding offenders who received a gun enhancement sentence from early release. See: Gardner v. Grandolsky, 585 F.3d 786 (3d Cir. 2009).

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Related legal case

Gardner v. Grandolsky