BROWN v. HOLLINGSWORTH
OPINION. Signed by Judge Noel L. Hillman on 8/28/2014. (tf, n.m.)
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
Civil Action No. 14-5241(NLH)
F.C.I. Fort Dix
P.O. Box 2000
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 Respondent
HILLMAN, District Judge
Petitioner James Brown, a prisoner currently confined at
the Federal Correctional Institution at Fort Dix, New Jersey,
has submitted a Petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2241 1 and an application for leave to proceed in
forma pauperis. 2
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 he ordered some photographs from a
publisher outside of prison which the Fort Dix mailroom staff
rejected due to their allegedly sexually explicit nature.
Petitioner alleges that he has exhausted his administrative
remedies to challenge this decision.
Petitioner desires to reorder the photographs and he seeks
an order directing the Bureau of Prisons to produce this
material to the Court so that the Court can determine whether
the material meets the standards set forth in Bureau of Prisons
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 ... .
Petitioner’s application for leave to proceed in forma pauperis
is complete and this Court will grant the application.
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. Schultz,
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
limited 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 a § 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.’”
Here, Petitioner’s challenges regarding alleged violations
of his right to order and receive certain photographs from a
vendor outside the prison go only to the conditions of his
Accordingly, this Court lacks jurisdiction in
habeas to consider Petitioner’s claims.
See, e.g., Izac v.
Norwood, Civil No. 10-4744, 2010 WL 3810216, *2 (D.N.J. Sept.
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.
This Court expresses no
opinion as to the merits of Petitioner’s claims.
At Camden, New Jersey
s/Noel L. Hillman
Noel L. Hillman
United States District Judge
August 28, 2014
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