Walls et al v. United States of America
OPINION and ORDER Dismissing 1 Writ of Conspiracy Without Prejudice, Denying 3 MOTION For Permissive Joinder, and Denying 4 MOTION to Release Sound Tapes as Moot. Signed by District Judge Matthew F. Leitman. (Monda, H)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 15-cv-10919
Hon. Matthew F. Leitman
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
OPINION AND ORDER DISMISSING WRIT OF CONSPIRACY (ECF #1)
WITHOUT PREJUDICE, DENYING MOTION FOR PERMISSIVE
JOINDER (ECF #3), AND DENYING MOTION
TO RELEASE SOUND TAPES AS MOOT (ECF #4)
Phyllis Bell (“Bell”) has filed a “Writ of Conspiracy,” alleging that the United
States Bureau of Prisons has unconstitutionally detained her father, Felix Walls
(“Walls”). (See the “Petition,” ECF #1.) Because Bell has not established that she is
authorized to file the Petition on her father’s behalf, the Court DISMISSES the Petition
WITHOUT PREJUDICE. Also before the Court are two motions Walls has filed: a
“Motion for Permissive Joinder” (see the “Joinder Motion,” ECF #3) and “Motion to
Release Sound Tapes” (see the “Sound Tapes Motion,” ECF #4.) The Court DENIES
the Joinder Motion as it would hinder, rather than promote, judicial economy, and it
DENIES the Sound Tapes Motion as MOOT.
In 1995, a jury convicted Walls of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute
and to distribute cocaine, and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, in violation of
18 U.S.C. § 371 and 21 U.S.C. § 846. See United States v. Walls, No. 2:92-cr-80236
(E.D. Mich). Walls’ daughter, Bell, now seeks Walls’ immediate release because, she
alleges, his convictions were obtained in violation of the United States Constitution. (See
the Petition.) Bell seeks relief under 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241 and 2243, 28 U.S.C. § 1651 (the
“All Writs Act”), and Federal Rule of Evidence 201. (See id.) However, Bell cannot
proceed under either of these two authorities.
First, Bell is not entitled to relief under the All Writs Act. This statute is a
“residual source of authority to issue writs that are not covered by statute. Where a
statute specifically addresses the particular issue at hand, it is that authority, and not the
All Writs Act, that is controlling.” Pennsylvania Bureau of Corrections v. United States
Marshals Service, 474 U.S. 34, 43 (1985). Claims that seek to challenge federal court
convictions, as in the Petition Bell has filed here, are addressed by statute. Indeed, these
claims “shall be filed in the sentencing court under 28 U.S.C. § 2255” Charles v.
Chandler, 180 F.3d 755, 756-57 (6th Cir. 1999), or, where § 2255 is “inadequate” to
challenge the conviction, the claims may be filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. See 28 U.S.C.
Thus, because two federal statutes address challenges to federal court
convictions, Bell cannot proceed under the All Writs Act. Accord Johnson v. United
States District Court, No. 2005 WL 1353755 at *3 (W.D. Ky. June 2, 2005) (dismissing
petitioner’s claims challenging his federal conviction filed under 28 U.S.C. § 1651
because the All Writs Act did not confer independent jurisdiction upon the district court).
Nor can Bell proceed under Federal Rule of Evidence 201. This rule allows a
court to take judicial notice of an adjudicative fact “that is not subject to reasonable
dispute because it: (1) is generally known within the trial court’s territorial jurisdiction;
or (2) can be accurately and readily determined from sources whose accuracy cannot
reasonably be questioned.” Fed. Rule Evid. 201(b). But the Federal Rules of Evidence
“do not confer jurisdiction or otherwise create an independent action for recovery.”
Michigan v. Milwaukee 3/8" Cordless Drill, 2011 WL 3268646, *6 (W.D. Mich. July 29,
2011) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 2072(b) (declaring that Federal Rules of Evidence “shall not
abridge, enlarge or modify any substantive right”)); See also In re Madison Guar. Sav. &
Loan Ass’n, 173 F.3d 866, 869 (D.C. Cir. 1999) (“We know of no authority, and indeed
perceive no logic, that would support the proposition that the Rules of Evidence create
any cause of action or ever provide standing”). Thus, Bell’s claim that the Court should
take judicial notice that her father’s conviction was the result of a fraud upon the Court
cannot be characterized as an adjudicative fact “not subject to reasonable debate” and
provides no basis for relief from a criminal conviction. Fed. R. Evid. 201(b).
As neither the All Writs Act nor the Federal Rules of Evidence provide any basis
for the relief Bell seeks in the Petition, the Court will construe the Petition as seeking a
writ of habeas corpus on her father’s behalf. Such an application may be filed in an
appropriate case by one person on behalf of another. See 28 U.S.C. § 2242 (“Application
for writ of habeas corpus shall be in writing signed and verified by the person for whose
relief it is intended or by someone acting in his behalf.). However, such “next friend”
status is not granted automatically. Whitmore v. Arkansas, 495 U.S. 149, 163 (1990).
Two “firmly rooted prerequisites” must be satisfied before a court will confer “next
friend” status. Id. First, “a ‘next friend’ must provide an adequate explanation – such as
inaccessibility, mental incompetence, or other disability – why the real party in interest
cannot appear on his own behalf to prosecute the action.” Id. Second, “the ‘next friend’
must be truly dedicated to the best interests of the person on whose behalf he seeks to
In this case, Bell has not shown that her father cannot appear on his own behalf.
In fact, Walls has appeared on his own behalf frequently in federal court. In this Court
alone, Walls has initiated the following cases pro se: two habeas corpus petitions, a
petition for a writ of mandamus, and a civil rights complaint. Walls represented himself,
with standby counsel, at his criminal trial, and filed at least two dozen motions in that
case. And, most importantly, Walls has filed the Joinder Motion on his own behalf in
this action. Walls, therefore, is an individual who can and has pursued his rights on his
own behalf. Thus, because Bell has not shown that Walls cannot appear on his own
behalf, the Court lacks jurisdiction to address this Petition. See Whitmore, 495 U.S. at
166 (dismissing petition for lack of jurisdiction where individual lacked standing to
pursue habeas petition on prisoner’s behalf).
Also before the Court is the Joinder Motion that Walls has filed. (See ECF #3.)
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 20 provides, in pertinent part:
(a) Persons Who May Join or Be Joined.
(1) Plaintiffs. Persons may join in one action as plaintiffs if:
(A) they assert any right to relief jointly, severally, or
in the alternative with respect to or arising out of the
same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions
or occurrences; and
(B) any question of law or fact common to all
plaintiffs will arise in the action.
Fed. Rule Civ. Proc. 20.
“Rule 20 places joinder under the Court’s discretion to determine whether adding
additional parties promotes convenience and judicial economy.” Meier v. County of
Presque Isle, 07-13760, 2008 WL 2117603, *2, n.1 (E.D. Mich. May 20, 2008). Here,
allowing Walls to join this action would unnecessarily complicate this judicial
proceeding. Walls already has filed two habeas corpus petitions under § 2241 and a
motion to vacate sentence under § 2255, which remains pending in case number 92-cr-
80236. Allowing Walls to join this action would raise the question whether this is a
successive petition, or whether § 2255 is inadequate to address his claims such that he
may proceed under § 2241. The Court, in its discretion, therefore finds the interests of
judicial economy and fairness would not be served by allowing Walls to join in this
action and it will therefore deny the Joinder Motion.1
Accordingly, for all of the reasons set forth above, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED
that the Petition (ECF #1) is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE; the Joinder
Motion (ECF #3) is DENIED; and the Sound Tapes Motion is DENIED AS MOOT.
s/Matthew F. Leitman
MATTHEW F. LEITMAN
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated: May 5, 2015
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was served upon the
parties and/or counsel of record on May 5, 2015, by electronic means and/or
s/Holly A. Monda
Because the Court is denying the Joinder Motion, the Sound Tapes Motion (see
ECF #4), also brought by Walls, is moot.
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