J P Parnell v. Kamala Harris

Filing 11

ORDER SUMMARILY DISMISSING CASE by Judge Dolly M. Gee. (See document for details). Case Terminated. Made JS-6. (ib)

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1 O 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 J.P. PARNELL, 12 13 14 15 16 Petitioner, vs. KAMALA HARRIS, Respondent. CASE NO. CV 12-1417 DMG (RZ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ORDER SUMMARILY DISMISSING ACTION 17 Because Petitioner challenges conditions of his confinement rather than the validity 18 or duration of that confinement, this action is not a proper petition for habeas corpus relief. 19 Thus, the Court will dismiss the action summarily, albeit without prejudice to Petitioner’s 20 pursuit of relief through a civil rights action. 21 22 I. 23 BACKGROUND 24 Petitioner J.P. Parnell is a state inmate. He is dissatisfied with certain conditions 25 of his confinement. (His first-mentioned grievances are (1) the prison’s “ban on natural 26 sugar products in favor of artificial sweeteners . . . to thwart the manufacture of jailhouse 27 wine (pruno),” and (2) “the proscription on prisoners leaving the dining room with whole 28 pieces of fruit[.]” Pet. at 5A.) But Petitioner does not pray for a reversal of any conviction 1 or seek an accelerated release from confinement, and therefore habeas is not the proper 2 vehicle for review of Petitioners’ claim(s). 3 4 II. 5 HABEAS CORPUS GENERALLY MAY CHALLENGE THE FACT OR 6 DURATION OF CONFINEMENT, BUT NOT THE CONDITIONS THEREOF 7 The principal purpose of a habeas corpus writ is to provide a remedy for prisoners 8 challenging the fact or duration of their confinement and who, thus, are seeking either 9 immediate release or a sooner-than-currently-scheduled release. See Preiser v. Rodriguez, 10 411 U.S. 475, 484, 93 S. Ct. 1827, 36 L. Ed. 2d 439 (1973) (holding that habeas petition, 11 not civil rights action, was proper vehicle for seeking restoration of good-time credits). 12 The Supreme Court has left open the possibility that habeas petitions “may . . . also be 13 available to challenge . . . prison conditions,” which ordinarily must be challenged by way 14 of a civil rights action. Id., 411 U.S. at 499-500; accord, Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 526 15 n.6, 99 S. Ct. 1861, 60 L. Ed. 2d 447 (1979) (noting the possibility of habeas as a means 16 to address prison conditions, but declining to decide the issue). Nor has the Ninth Circuit 17 completely foreclosed the possible use of habeas actions to challenge prison living 18 conditions. See Bostic v. Carlson, 884 F.2d 1267, 1269 (9th Cir. 1989) (assuming without 19 discussion that habeas could provide relief on a prisoner’s claim of having been placed in 20 disciplinary segregation without due process); see also Fierro v. Gomez, 77 F.3d 301, 304 21 n.2 (9th Cir. 1996) (indicating that the issue remains unresolved in this Circuit), vacated 22 on other grounds, 519 U.S. 918, 117 S. Ct. 285, 136 L. Ed. 2d 204 (1996). 23 But such use of the habeas corpus action appears to be the exception. The Ninth 24 Circuit has made clear that the preferred, “proper” practice is to limit habeas cases to 25 claims that would lead to the petitioner’s release sooner than otherwise would occur, and 26 to confine other prisoner claims to civil rights suits. See Badea v. Cox, 931 F.2d 573, 574 27 (9th Cir. 1991) (holding that, because the subset of prisoner-plaintiff claims that could have 28 been brought in a habeas action had become moot, district court could and should proceed -2- 1 with remaining claims, which challenged conditions, and not fact or duration, of 2 confinement); accord, Crawford v. Bell, 599 F.2d 890, 891-92 & n.1 (9th Cir. 1979) 3 (affirming dismissal of habeas petition because petition’s challenges to conditions of 4 confinement must be brought in civil rights action). 5 Here, if Petitioner’s claims about the conditions of his confinement were to succeed, 6 he would not thereby be entitled to an accelerated release from confinement. The Court sees 7 no justification in this instance for deviating from what the Supreme Court in Preiser and 8 the Ninth Circuit in Badea have held to be the “proper” course, namely requiring conditions9 of-confinement claims like Petitioners’ to be brought in a civil rights lawsuit, not in a habeas 10 corpus petition. 11 12 III. 13 CONCLUSION 14 For the foregoing reasons, the Court DISMISSES the action without prejudice to his 15 pursuit of civil rights relief instead of habeas relief. 16 IT IS SO ORDERED. 17 18 DATED: April 16, 2012 19 20 21 DOLLY M. GEE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 -3-

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