Hollis v. Faulk et al
ORDER Directing Applicant To File Amended Petition, by Magistrate Judge Gordon P. Gallagher on 2/22/15. (nmarb, ) Modified on 2/23/2015 to edit file date (slibi, ).
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO
Civil Action No. 15-cv-00199-GPG
JAMES FAULK, and
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF COLORADO,
ORDER DIRECTING APPLICANT TO FILE AMENDED APPLICATION
Applicant, Craig Hollis, is a prisoner in the custody of the Colorado Department
of Corrections. Mr. Hollis has filed pro se an Application for a Writ of Habeas Corpus
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (ECF No. 1). The court must construe the application
liberally because Mr. Hollis is not represented by an attorney. See Haines v. Kerner,
404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10 th Cir. 1991).
However, the court should not be an advocate for a pro se litigant. See Hall, 935 F.2d
at 1110. Mr. Hollis will be ordered to file an amended application if he wishes to pursue
any claims in this action.
The application is deficient because Mr. Hollis makes only vague and conclusory
allegations that his custody is unlawful. He fails to explain why he believes his custody
is unlawful and he fails to provide a clear statement of his claim that demonstrates his
federal constitutional rights have been violated. It is not even clear whether Mr. Hollis is
challenging the validity of his sentence, a claim that properly is asserted in a habeas
corpus action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, or whether he is challenging the execution
of his sentence, a claim that properly would be asserted pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241.
If Mr. Hollis is claiming the sentence imposed by the sentencing court is unlawful for
some reason, he is challenging the validity of the sentence. If he is claiming prison
officials are not computing the sentence correctly or otherwise are keeping him in prison
longer than the sentence authorized by the sentencing court, he is challenging the
execution of his sentence. Although the court must construe the application liberally,
“the court cannot take on the responsibility of serving as the litigant’s attorney in
constructing arguments and searching the record.” Garrett v. Selby Connor Maddux &
Janer, 425 F.3d 836, 840 (10 th Cir. 2005).
Habeas corpus relief is warranted only if Mr. Hollis “is in custody in violation of
the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3).
Pursuant to Rules 2(c)(1) and 2(c)(2) of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the
United States District Courts, which apply to this habeas corpus action even if Mr. Hollis
is challenging the execution of his sentence pursuant to § 2241, Mr. Hollis must provide
specific factual allegations in support of the federal constitutional claim he is asserting.
These habeas corpus rules are more demanding than the rules applicable to ordinary
civil actions, which require only notice pleading. See Mayle v. Felix, 545 U.S. 644, 655
(2005). “A prime purpose of Rule 2(c)’s demand that habeas petitioners plead with
particularity is to assist the district court in determining whether the State should be
ordered to ‘show cause why the writ should not be granted.’” Id. at 656 (quoting 28
U.S.C. § 2243). Naked allegations of constitutional violations are not cognizable in a
habeas corpus action. See Ruark v. Gunter, 958 F.2d 318, 319 (10 th Cir. 1992) (per
curiam). Accordingly, it is
ORDERED that, within thirty (30) days from the date of this order, Mr. Hollis
file an amended application that clarifies the federal constitutional claim he is asserting.
FURTHER ORDERED that Mr. Hollis shall obtain the appropriate, courtapproved habeas corpus application form (with the assistance of his case manager or
the facility’s legal assistant), along with the applicable instructions, at
www.cod.uscourts.gov. It is
FURTHER ORDERED that, if Mr. Hollis fails within the time allowed to file an
amended application that complies with this order, the action will be dismissed without
DATED February 22, 2015, at Denver, Colorado.
BY THE COURT:
S/ Gordon P. Gallagher
United States Magistrate Judge
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