Huddleston v. Suthers et al
ORDER DIRECTING APPLICANT TO FILE AMENDED PLEADING by Magistrate Judge Gordon P. Gallagher on 1/26/16. (dkals, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO
Civil Action No. 15-cv-02848-GPG
DALE JUSTIN HUDDLESTON,
JOHN SUTHERS, Colorado Attorney General or present,
COLORADO PAROLE BOARD,
COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, and
JASON LENGERICH, Warden of Buena Vista Correctional Complex,
ORDER DIRECTING APPLICANT TO FILE AMENDED PLEADING
Applicant, Dale Justin Huddleston, is a prisoner in the custody of the Colorado
Department of Corrections. Mr. Huddleston has filed pro se a pleading titled “Notice of
Appeal of Denial of Habeas Corpus” (ECF No. 1). He states he is appealing from a
Colorado Supreme Court order affirming the denial of a state petition for writ of habeas
corpus. The court must construe the pleading liberally because Mr. Huddleston 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 (10th Cir. 1991). However, the court should not be an
advocate for a pro se litigant. See Hall, 935 F.2d at 1110.
Mr. Huddleston contends he is imprisoned illegally in violation of his constitutional
rights and that Respondents have misapplied the law to his prison sentence. The court
construes the pleading liberally as an application for a writ of habeas corpus because Mr.
Huddleston may not appeal to a federal district court from a state court decision.
However, it is not clearly what type of habeas corpus claims Mr. Huddleston seeks to
assert. If he seeks to challenge the validity of a state criminal conviction or sentence, his
claims properly are asserted in a habeas corpus action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
See Montez v. McKinna, 208 F.3d 862, 865 (10th Cir. 2000). If he seeks to challenge the
execution of his sentence, his claims properly are asserted pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241.
Regardless of the statutory authority for the habeas corpus claims Mr. Huddleston
intends to assert in this action, the pleading is deficient because he fails to assert any
claims for relief that identify the constitutional rights allegedly violated and he fails to
allege specific facts in support of his claims that demonstrate how his constitutional rights
have been violated. Habeas corpus relief is warranted only if Mr. Huddleston “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. Huddleston is challenging the execution of his sentence
pursuant to § 2241, he must identify the specific federal constitutional right allegedly
violated in each claim he is asserting and he must provide specific factual allegations in
support of each asserted claim. Although the court must construe the pleading 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 (10th Cir. 2005).
Furthermore, 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 (10th Cir.
1992) (per curiam).
For these reasons, Mr. Huddleston must file an amended pleading if he wishes to
pursue any claims in this habeas corpus action. Pursuant to Rule 5.1(c) of the Local
Rules of Practice of the United States District Court for the District of Colorado – Civil, “[i]f
not filed electronically, an unrepresented prisoner or party shall use the procedures,
forms, and instructions posted on the court’s website.” Therefore, Mr. Huddleston will be
directed to file his amended pleading on the court-approved form. Mr. Huddleston also is
advised that the only proper respondent to a habeas corpus action is his custodian. See
28 U.S.C. § 2242; Rules 2(a), Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States
District Courts; Harris v. Champion, 51 F.3d 901, 906 (10th Cir. 1995). Accordingly, it is
ORDERED that, within thirty (30) days from the date of this order, Mr.
Huddleston file an amended pleading on the proper form that provides a clear statement
of the federal constitutional claims he is asserting. It is
FURTHER ORDERED that Mr. Huddleston shall obtain the appropriate,
court-approved pleading 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. Huddleston fails within the time allowed to file an
amended pleading on the proper form that complies with this order, the action will be
dismissed without further notice.
DATED January 26, 2016, at Denver, Colorado.
BY THE COURT:
Gordon P. Gallagher
United States Magistrate Judge
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