HAMILTON v. CAMDEN COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILTY et al
OPINION. Signed by Judge Noel L. Hillman on 7/30/2015. (tf,n.m.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
CAMDEN COUNTY CORRECTIONAL
FACILTY, et al.,
Civ. No. 15-3871 (NLH)
Brian Hamilton, # 4304162
Camden County Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 90431
330 Federal St.
Camden, NJ 08101
Petitioner Pro se
HILLMAN, District Judge
Petitioner Brian Hamilton, a state prisoner confined at the
Camden County Correctional Facility in Camden, New Jersey, files
this writ of habeas corpus challenging the constitutionality of
his arrest and detention.
This case was previously administratively terminated due to
Petitioner’s failure to prepay the $5.00 filing fee for a habeas
petition as required by Local Civil Rule 54.3(a), or to submit
an application for leave to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant
to Local Civil Rule 81.2(b). (ECF No. 2, 3).
Pursuant to the terms of the Court’s Order administratively
terminating the case (ECF No. 3), Petitioner filed a letter
request to reopen the case and submitted a new in forma pauperis
application on the Court-provided forms (ECF No. 4).
Thereafter, Petitioner filed a “Memorandum” (ECF No. 5); an
Exhibit to the Memorandum (ECF No. 6); a Letter regarding the
Memorandum (ECF No. 7); and two letters inquiring as to why his
case had been previously closed (ECF Nos. 8, 9).
The Court will
address each submission below.
THE INITIAL PETITION
After receiving Petitioner’s request to reopen and renewed
in forma pauperis application (ECF No. 4), the case was reopened
for review by a judicial officer.
A closer review of the
initial Petition (ECF No. 1) reveals that Petitioner did not
specifically state the grounds or authority under which he filed
the instant habeas petition.
Nevertheless, the Court does not
construe this filing as a general writ of mandamus pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1361.
In any event, because Petitioner asks this
Court to dismiss all state complaints and indictments against
him (Pet. 20, ECF No. 1), he would not be entitled to relief he
seeks on this basis. See In re Stitt, 598 F. App'x 810, 811 (3d
Cir. 2015) (explaining that district courts lack authority to
direct state court to perform its duty) (citations omitted); see
also In re Diet Drugs Products Liab. Litig., 418 F.3d 372, 378
(3d Cir. 2005) (holding that a writ of mandamus is a drastic
remedy available only in extraordinary circumstances).
This Court also notes that the petition was not submitted
using the appropriate federal court-provided forms.
forms used by Petitioner appear to be intended for use in New
Jersey state court and bear the caption “Superior Court of New
Jersey Camden County.” (Pet. 5, ECF No. 1).
Additionally, it is
unclear from the Petition whether Petitioner has been convicted
or whether he remains a pretrial detainee.
However, Petitioner recently filed a separate federal
habeas petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. See Hamilton v.
Owens, No. 15-5517 (NLH).
The petition in that case is
submitted on the appropriate forms for a petition filed pursuant
to § 2241 and Petitioner certifies that he is, in fact, a
Jurisdiction to issue a writ of habeas corpus at the
pretrial stage — before a judgment of conviction is rendered in
a state criminal proceeding — lies under 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3).
See Braden v. 30th Judicial Circuit Court of Kentucky, 410 U.S.
484 (1973); Moore v. DeYoung, 515 F.2d 437, 442, 443 (3d Cir.
1975); see also Burns v. Taylor, No. 09-5072, 2009 WL 3242128,
at *2 (D.N.J. Oct. 7, 2009).
Thus, this Court must assume that
the Petition in this case, Civ. No. 15-3871, was also filed
under § 2241. 1
To the extent Petitioner intended to file the instant
Petition pursuant to § 2241, the Court notes that the Petition
was not submitted using the habeas form supplied by the Clerk
for section 2241 petitions. See AO 242 Petition for a Writ of
Habeas Corpus Under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (12/11).
Local Civil Rule
81.2(a) requires use of the Court’s form unless the petition is
prepared by counsel.
Here, Petitioner filed the petition pro se
and failed to utilize the Court-provided forms.
Moreover, the Petition in this case fails to substantially
follow the content of the form supplied by the Clerk and, as
such, does not comport with Rule 2 of the Rules Governing
Section 2254 Cases, (amended Dec. 1, 2004), made applicable to §
2241 petitions through Rule 1(b) of the Habeas Rules.
Significantly, the Petition does not indicate whether Petitioner
has exhausted his state remedies with respect to his claims. 2
The Court notes that its June 12, 2015 Order (ECF No. 3)
incorrectly referred to the instant petition as one filed
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, as opposed to § 2241.
Nevertheless, the filing fee for a petition for a writ of habeas
corpus under either statute is the same; therefore, the analysis
in the Court’s June 12, 2015 Opinion (ECF No. 2) does not change
and the case was properly administratively terminated for
failure to satisfy the filing fee requirement.
Although Petitioner indicates that his Petition is “a copy of a
brief that [he] filed with the Camden County Law Division/Crim.
Part[,]” he has not clearly explained his efforts to exhaust his
The Third Circuit has held that, absent extraordinary
circumstances, a district court should not exercise its habeas
jurisdiction or grant habeas relief to a state prisoner at the
pretrial stage unless the petitioner has made a special showing
of the need for such adjudication and has exhausted state
remedies. See Moore v. De Young, 515 F.2d at 443; Duran v.
Thomas, 393 F. App'x 3, 4 (3d Cir. 2010).
Petitioner to resubmit his Petition on Court-provided forms will
assist him, and the Court, in determining the appropriateness of
a petition under § 2241. See Habeas Rule 2, advisory committee’s
note (“The form is particularly helpful in getting information
about whether there has been an exhaustion of state
Accordingly, the Court will administratively terminate the
instant Petition without assessing a filing fee.
informed that administrative termination is not a “dismissal”
for purposes of the statute of limitations, and that if the case
is reopened, it is not subject to the statute of limitations
time bar if it was originally filed timely, see Papotto v.
Hartford Life & Acc. Ins. Co., 731 F.3d 265, 275 (2013)
(distinguishing administrative terminations from dismissals);
state remedies prior to filing the instant petition. (Pet. 1,
ECF No. 1).
Jenkins v. Superintendent of Laurel Highlands, 705 F.3d 80, 84
n.2 (2013) (describing prisoner mailbox rule generally); Dasilva
v. Sheriff's Dep’t., 413 F. App’x 498, 502 (3rd Cir. 2011) (per
curiam) (“[The] statute of limitations is met when a [petition]
is submitted to the clerk before the statute runs . . .”).
Petitioner will be permitted to file a written request to
reopen this case, provided he also submits a complete, signed
habeas petition on the appropriate form.
Petitioner is also reminded that the habeas statute
provides relief for a petitioner held “in custody in violation
of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.”
28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3).
As a corollary, the United States
Supreme Court has held that federal courts cannot grant habeas
relief based on violations of state law. Estelle v. McGuire, 502
U.S. 62, 67–68, 112 S.Ct. 475, 116 L.Ed.2d 385 (1991).
in evaluating the alleged grounds for relief in a habeas corpus
petition, the court is limited to federal bases for relief. Id.
Among other things, Habeas Rule 2 of the Rules Governing
Section 2254 Cases requires a petitioner to specify all grounds
for relief and to state the facts supporting each ground in the
petition. See Rule 2(c)(1), (2) of the Rules Governing Section
2254 Cases, (amended Dec. 1, 2004), made applicable to § 2241
petitions through Rule 1(b) of the Habeas Rules.
Thus, in the
event he chooses to resubmit his Petition, Petitioner should be
mindful that claims based solely on state law are not cognizable
in federal habeas review. Id.
III. THE IN FORMA PAUPERIS APPLICATION
The Court has reviewed Petitioner’s in forma pauperis
application (ECF No. 4), and is inclined to grant same.
However, because the Petition will be administratively
terminated for the reasons discussed above, the Court declines
to rule on the sufficiency of the application at this time.
the event Petitioner requests that his case be reopened and
refiles his Petition on the Court-provided forms, his request to
proceed in forma pauperis will be addressed at that time.
Petitioner’s “Memorandum” (ECF No. 5), the Exhibit to the
Memorandum (ECF No. 6) and the Letter regarding the Memorandum
(ECF No. 7), all appear to be supplemental — if not repetitive —
filings to the initial Petition (ECF No. 1).
advised that, in the event he chooses to refile his Petition on
the appropriate forms, he must include with that submission all
claims and arguments that he wishes the Court to consider in his
§ 2241 petition.
LETTERS FROM PETITIONER
Finally, the Court responds to Petitioner’s letters
inquiring as to why his case was closed (ECF Nos. 8, 9).
explained in the Court’s June 12, 2015 Opinion and Order (ECF
Nos. 2, 3), the instant habeas petition was administratively
terminated due to Petitioner’s failure to either pay the filing
fee or submit a complete in forma pauperis application.
appears that Petitioner understood his case was closed because
he filed a request to reopen his case dated June 18, 2015 (ECF
The Court received this request on or about June 26,
2015 and the case was reopened for review by a judicial officer
on July 6, 2015.
The Court has now had the opportunity to conduct such a
review and, for the reasons set forth above, the case will be
administratively terminated again for failure to submit the
petition on the appropriate forms.
For the reasons set forth above, this case will be
administratively terminated. 3
Petitioner will be permitted to
Such an administrative termination is not a “dismissal” for
purposes of the statute of limitations, and if the case is reopened pursuant to the terms of the accompanying Order, it is
not subject to the statute of limitations time bar if it was
originally submitted timely. See Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266
(1988) (prisoner mailbox rule); Papotto v. Hartford Life & Acc.
Ins. Co., 731 F.3d 265, 275-76 (3d Cir. 2013) (collecting cases
and explaining that a district court retains jurisdiction over,
and can re-open, administratively closed cases).
file a written request to reopen this case provided he also
submits a complete habeas petition on the appropriate form.
An appropriate Order will follow.
____s/ Noel L. Hillman_____
NOEL L. HILLMAN
United States District Judge
Dated: July 30, 2015
At Camden, New Jersey
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