ROBINSON v. HOLLINGSWORTH
OPINION. Signed by Judge Robert B. Kugler on 7/2/2015. (tf,n.m.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
Civ. No. 15-3662 (RBK)
ROBERT B. KUGLER, U.S.D.J.
Petitioner is a federal prisoner currently incarcerated at F.C.I. Fort Dix in Fort Dix, New
Jersey. He is proceeding pro se with a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2241. This Court initially administratively terminated this action as petitioner had failed to pay
the $5.00 filing fee and had not submitted an application to proceed in forma pauperis.
Subsequently, petitioner paid the $5.00 filing fee. Therefore, the Clerk will be ordered to reopen
this case. For the following reasons, the habeas petition will be summarily dismissed.
Petitioner raises several issues in his habeas petition. He asserts that he has been denied
his right to adequate medical care while incarcerated at F.C.I. Fort Dix. He states that he is
legally blind and that when he arrived at Fort Dix he requested special eyewear, a breathing
machine and a lower bunk pass because he is over the weight limit. He claims that he is unable
to prepare for reentry and deprived of educational programs at the facility because of his lack of
glasses and a breathing machine.
Petitioner also complains about the living conditions at Fort Dix. He asserts that the
compound is overcrowded and that there is mold and asbestos which makes it impossible for him
to breath. This jeopardizes his pre-existing health conditions.
Finally, petitioner alleges that Fort Dix bypassed the administrative remedy process by
continuing to ignore his formal and informal resolution requests.
Petitioner requests that this Court vacate his judgment of conviction. He also requests
coverage for all of his medical costs.
STANDARD FOR SUA SPONTE DISMISSAL
With respect to screening the instant petition, 28 U.S.C. § 2243 provides in relevant part:
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.
As petitioner is proceeding pro se, his petition is held to less stringent standards than those
pleadings drafted by lawyers. See Rainey v. Varner, 603 F.3d 189, 198 (3d Cir.2010) (“It is the
policy of the courts to give a liberal construction to pro se habeas petitions.”) (internal quotation
marks and citation omitted); United States v. Otero, 502 F.3d 331, 334 (3d Cir.2007) ( “we
construe pro se pleadings liberally.”) (citing Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972)).
Nevertheless, “a district court is authorized to dismiss a [habeas] petition summarily when it
plainly appears from the face of the petition and any exhibits annexed to it that the petitioner is
not entitled to relief in the district court[.]” Lonchar v. Thomas, 517 U.S. 314, 320 (1996).
As petitioner’s habeas petition makes clear, his claims relate to the conditions of his
confinement at Fort Dix as opposed to a challenge to the validity of his conviction or the length
of his sentence. Such a challenge is appropriately brought in a civil rights action under Bivens v.
Six Unknown Names Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971) as opposed to
a habeas petition under § 2241. See Woodruff v. Williamson, 362 F. App'x 263, 266 (3d
Cir.2010) (per curiam); see also Leamer v. Fauver, 288 F.3d 532, 542 (3d Cir.2002)
(“[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 failure
would not alter his sentence or undo his conviction, [a civil rights action] is appropriate.”). Thus,
petitioner’s claims are not proper as habeas claims such that the habeas petition will be
dismissed. Accord Brown v. Warden Lewisburg USP, 601 F. App’x 85, 86 (3d Cir. 2015) (per
curiam) (finding district court properly dismissed habeas petition where petitioner raised claims
associated with his conditions of confinement since they are not cognizable habeas claims).
For the following reasons, the habeas petition will be summarily dismissed. An
appropriate order will be entered.
DATED: July 2, 2015
s/Robert B. Kugler
ROBERT B. KUGLER
United States District Judge
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