DULANEY v. HOLLINGSWORTH
OPINION. Signed by Judge Noel L. Hillman on 7/28/2014. (drw)n.m.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
MATTHEW LEE DULANEY,
Civil Action No. 14-4224(NLH)
Matthew Lee Dulaney
F.C.I. Fort Dix
P.O. Box 38
Fort Dix, NJ 08640
Petitioner pro se
Paul A. Blaine
Office of the U.S. Attorney
Camden Federal Bldg. and U.S. Courthouse
401 Market Street
Camden, NJ 08101
Counsel for Respondents
HILLMAN, District Judge
Petitioner Mathew Lee Dulaney, a prisoner currently
confined at the Federal Correctional Institution at Fort Dix,
New Jersey, has submitted a petition for a writ of habeas corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. 1
Because it appears from a review
of the Petition that this Court lacks jurisdiction, in habeas,
to consider Petitioner’s claims, the Petition will be dismissed.
See 28 U.S.C. § 2243.
Petitioner asserts that Warden Hollingsworth is violating
his First Amendment right to free exercise of his religion, 2 as a
Messianic Sabbatarian, by categorizing the Hebrew Israelite
religion as being part of the Messianic Sabbatarian religion, by
refusing to order religious supplies for the Messianic
Sabbatarian religious group, and by refusing to provide a place
for services by the Messianic Sabbatarian religious group
separate from the Hebrew Israelite religious group.
Plaintiff seeks an order from this Court directing Warden
Hollingsworth to place a previously-approved order for certain
Section 2241 provides in relevant part:
(a) Writs of habeas corpus may be granted by the
Supreme Court, any justice thereof, the district
courts and any circuit judge within their respective
(c) The writ of habeas corpus shall not extend to a
prisoner unless-- ... (3) He is in custody in
violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of
the United States ... .
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides, in
pertinent part, that “Congress shall make no law respecting an
establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise
thereof ... .” U.S. Const., amend. I.
religious materials and to arrange for a place and time for the
Messianic Sabbatarians to have services separate from those of
the Hebrew Israelites.
STANDARDS FOR A SUA SPONTE DISMISSAL
United States Code Title 28, Section 2243 provides in
relevant part as follows:
A court, justice or judge entertaining an application
for a writ of habeas corpus shall forthwith award the
writ or issue an order directing the respondent to
show cause why the writ should not be granted, unless
it appears from the application that the applicant or
person detained is not entitled thereto.
A pro se pleading is held to less stringent standards than
more formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.
Estelle v. Gamble,
429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520
A pro se habeas petition must be construed liberally.
See Hunterson v. DiSabato, 308 F.3d 236, 243 (3d Cir. 2002).
Nevertheless, a federal district court can dismiss a habeas
corpus petition if it appears from the face of the petition that
the petitioner is not entitled to relief.
708 F.3d 140, 148 n.3 (3d Cir. 2013).
See Denny v. Schult,
See also 28 U.S.C.
§§ 2243, 2255.
A habeas corpus petition is the proper mechanism for a
federal prisoner to challenge the “fact or duration” of his
confinement, Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 498-99 (1973),
including challenges to prison disciplinary proceedings that
affect the length of confinement, such as deprivation of good
time credits, Muhammad v. Close, 540 U.S. 749 (2004) and Edwards
v. Balisok, 520 U.S. 641 (1997).
544 U.S. 74 (2005).
See also Wilkinson v. Dotson,
In addition, where a prisoner seeks a
“quantum change” in the level of custody, for example, where a
prisoner claims to be entitled to probation or bond or parole,
habeas is the appropriate form of action.
See, e.g., Graham v.
Broglin, 922 F.2d 379 (7th Cir. 1991), and cases cited therein.
See also Woodall v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, 432 F.3d 235,
237, 243 (3d Cir. 2005) (finding that a challenge to regulations
limiting pre-release transfer to community corrections centers
was properly brought in habeas, because community confinement is
“‘qualitatively different from confinement in a traditional
prison’” (citation omitted)).
The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has held that
habeas corpus is an appropriate mechanism, also, for a federal
prisoner to challenge the execution of his sentence.
v. Vaughn, 251 F.3d 480, 485-86 (3d Cir. 2001) (noting that
federal prisoners may challenge the denial of parole under
§ 2241); Barden v. Keohane, 921 F.2d 476, 478-79 (3d Cir. 1990)
(entertaining challenge to Bureau of Prisons refusal to consider
prisoner’s request that state prison be designated place for
service of federal sentence, in order that state and federal
sentences could run concurrently).
See also George v. Longley,
463 F.App’x 136 (3d Cir. 2012) (citing Coady and Barden).
The Court of Appeals has noted, however, that “the precise
meaning of ‘execution of the sentence’ is hazy.”
F.3d at 237.
Therefore, to the extent a prisoner challenges
only his conditions of confinement, such claims must be raised
by way of a civil rights action.
[W]henever the challenge ultimately attacks the “core
of habeas” -- the validity of the continued conviction
or the fact or length of the sentence -- a challenge,
however denominated and regardless of the relief
sought, must be brought by way of a habeas corpus
petition. Conversely, when the challenge is to a
condition of confinement such that a finding in
plaintiff’s favor would not alter his sentence or undo
his conviction, an action under § 1983 is appropriate.
Leamer v. Fauver, 288 F.3d 532, 542 (3d Cir. 2002).
Bonadonna v. United States, 446 F.App’x 407 (3d Cir. 2011)
(holding that District Court properly dismissed § 2241 petition
for lack of jurisdiction where petitioner’s allegation of
deficient medical care does not “‘spell speedier release,’” and
thus does not lie at “‘the core of habeas corpus.’” (citations
Here, Petitioner’s challenges regarding alleged violations
of his right to free exercise of his religion go only to the
conditions of his confinement.
Accordingly, this Court lacks
jurisdiction in habeas to consider Petitioner’s claims.
e.g., Izac v. Norwood, Civil No. 10-4744, 2010 WL 3810216, *2
(D.N.J. Sept. 23, 2010).
For the reasons set forth above, the Petition will be
dismissed without prejudice to Petitioner raising his claims in
a new and separate civil rights action.
An appropriate order
At Camden, New Jersey
s/Noel L. Hillman
Noel L. Hillman
United States District Judge
July 28, 2014
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