EDWARDS v. THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY et al
OPINION. Signed by Judge Noel L. Hillman on 2/25/2015. (tf, n.m.)
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
RENE D. EDWARDS,
The ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, et al,
Civil Action No. 14-2802 (NLH)
Rene D. Edwards, SBI #219205-B/658117
East Jersey State Prison
Rahway, NJ 07065
Plaintiff Pro Se
HILLMAN, District Judge:
Petitioner Rene D. Edwards (“Petitioner”), a prisoner
confined at East Jersey State Prison in Rahway, New Jersey,
files the instant petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (“Petition”), challenging a sentence imposed
for a state conviction of criminal sexual contact in 2006. 1
The Court previously granted provisional in forma pauperis
status to Petitioner, contingent upon submission of a proper
Affidavit of Poverty and Certification. Having received said
affidavit from Petitioner, (Dkt. 11), the Court now formally
grants Petitioner in forma pauperis status.
the reasons stated below, the Petition will be DISMISSED for
lack of jurisdiction.
The Court recites only those facts relevant for the purpose
of this Opinion.
On January 11, 2006, Petitioner pled guilty to
one count of criminal sexual contact in the Superior Court of
New Jersey, Law Division, in Camden County.
(Dkt. 13, Ex. Rta1 2
On February 17, 2006, he was sentenced, upon the
prosecutor’s recommendation in exchange for the guilty plea, to
5 years of probation.
(Dkt. 13, Ex. Rta2 at 6.)
However, in 2010, prior to the expiration of his probation,
Petitioner was convicted for another crime and, on May 17, 2010,
sentenced to five years imprisonment with two and half years of
(Dkt. 13, Ex. Rta6 at 38.)
On that same
day, because of the new conviction, Petitioner was found to have
violated the terms of his probation from the 2006 conviction,
and sentenced to 18 months imprisonment with nine months of
parole ineligibility, to be served first, before the sentence
for his 2010 conviction.
Id. at 3.
The exhibits Rta1, Rta2, and Rta6 are taken from the record
of the state proceedings submitted by Respondents as part of
their Answer. (Dkt. 13.)
On May 2, 2014, Petitioner filed the instant Petition
challenging his 2006 sentence.
The Court construes the Petition
as challenging his 18-month imprisonment.
“[A] habeas petitioner [must] be ‘in custody’ under the
conviction or sentence under attack at the time his petition is
Maleng v. Cook, 490 U.S. 488, 490–91 (1989); see also
Spencer v. Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 7 (1998); Lee v. Stickman, 357
F.3d 338, 342 (3d Cir. 2004).
“The custody requirement of the
habeas corpus statute is designed to preserve the writ of habeas
corpus as a remedy for severe restraints on individual liberty.”
Hensley v. Mun. Court, 411 U.S. 345, 351 (1973).
As a result,
“its use has been limited to cases of special urgency, leaving
more conventional remedies for cases in which the restraints on
liberty are neither severe nor immediate.”
In Maleng, the Court explained that the term “custody”
defines not only physical confinement, but also includes
circumstances entailing such limitations on a person's liberty
as those imposed during parole.
See Maleng, 490 U.S. at 491;
see also Hensley, 411 U.S. at 351 (habeas petitioner released on
own recognizance, but who suffered restraints on freedom of
movement not shared by public generally, met “in custody”
Here, Petitioner is not “in-custody” for the purposes of
his 2006 sentence.
By the original terms of his 2006 sentence,
his five-year probationary sentence, barring any credits for
time already served, would have expired on February 17, 2011.
After he was found to have violated probation, he was sentenced
to 18 months imprisonment, a sentence to be served first prior
to his 2010 sentence.
Again, barring any credits for time
served, the “new” sentence imposed for his 2006 conviction
expired on November 17, 2011, prior to the filing of the instant
Petition on May 2, 2014.
Therefore, while Petitioner may be
incarcerated for another offense, he is no longer incarcerated
for his 2006 sentence.
As such, for the purposes of his 2006
sentence and the instant Petition, he does not meet the “incustody” requirement under § 2254.
See Maleng, 490 U.S. at 490-
91; Leyva v. Williams, 504 F.3d 357, 363 (3d Cir. 2007) (“For a
federal court to have jurisdiction, a petitioner must be in
custody under the conviction he is attacking at the time the
habeas petition is filed”) (citations omitted).
For the reasons set forth above, the Petition will be
DISMISSED for lack of jurisdiction. 3
At Camden, New Jersey
s/ Noel L. Hillman
Noel L. Hillman
United States District Judge
February 25, 2015
Because the Court is dismissing the Petition, Respondents’
Motion to Seal, (Dkt. 14), will be dismissed as moot.
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