ALFORD v. ELLIS et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION filed. Signed by Judge Peter G. Sheridan on 10/30/2015. (mmh)
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
Civil Action Nos.
IT APPEARING THAT:
1. Petitioner Craig Alford (“Petitioner”), a prisoner currently confined at Mercer County
Jail in Trenton, New Jersey, has submitted two Petitions for a Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to
§ 2254. (Civil Action No. 15-6998, ECF No. 1; Civil Action No. 15-7145, ECF No.
1.) In both Petitions, he identifies the challenged judgment of conviction as a 1998 Pennsylvania
state conviction for possession with intent to distribute; aggravated assault; and reckless
¶J 2, 5.)
2. In Ground One of his Petition in Civil Action No. 15-6998, Petitioner alleges that the
staff at Bo Robinson, a halfway house in Trenton, New Jersey, placed him in a parolee program
but then prevented him from completing said program as retaliation for a complaints he made
about the facility.
12, Ground 1.) However, this ground for relief has absolutely no
relation to his current incarceration or the 1998 Pennsylvania state court conviction that he purports
to challenge. In fact, it does not appear that this ground attacks any judgment of conviction or
parole board decision. Habeas relief will therefore be denied on this ground.
3. In Ground Two of his Petition in Civil Action No. 15-6998, Petitioner argues that he
maxed out his Pennsylvania state court sentence on January 15, 2015 and therefore when
Pennsylvania recently revoked his parole based on a New Jersey disorderly person summons, it
violated his rights. (Pet.
12, Ground Two.)
4. The facts alleged, and the relief Petitioner is seeking in this ground, are not entirely
clear to the Court.
To the extent Petitioner is challenging a revocation of parole by the
Pennsylvania Parole Board on his 1998 Pennsylvania state court conviction, Petitioner must
exhaust his claims in Pennsylvania state court and then file a federal habeas petition in the
appropriate Pennsylvania district court. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 224 1(d).
5. To the extent Petitioner is challenging a New Jersey state conviction or some action by
the New Jersey Parole Board, he must clearly identify such judgment of conviction or parole board
action. Moreover, a state prisoner applying for a writ of habeas corpus in federal court must first
the remedies available in the courts of the State,” unless “there is an absence of
available State corrective process or
circumstances exist that render such process ineffective
2254(b)(l). See also Rose v. Lundy, 455 U.S. 509, 515 (1982); Lambert v.
Blackwell, 134 F.3d 506, 513 (3d Cir. 1997). A petitioner exhausts state remedies by presenting
his federal constitutional claims to each level of the state courts empowered to hear those claims,
either on direct appeal or in collateral post-conviction proceedings.
See, e.g., Oullivan v.
Boerckel. 526 U.S. 838, 847 (1999) (“requiring state prisoners [in order to fully exhaust their
claims] to file petitions for discretionary review when that review is part of the ordinary appellate
review procedure in the State”).
New Jersey state law provides administrative and judicial review processes applicable to
claims regarding parole revocation.
Specifically, any denial of parole by an Adult Panel is
appealable to the Parole Board, provided certain conditions are met. N.J. Admin. Code Title 10
Sec. 71—4.2. New Jersey law further provides an absolute right to appeal any action or decision
of a State administrative agency to the Superior Court, Appellate Division, both under the State
Constitution, N.J. Const. Art. VI, Sec. 5, para. 4; Trantino v. New Jersey State Parole Bd., 764
A.2d 940, 976 (N.J. 2001) modified on other grounds, 772 A.2d 926 (N.J. 2001), and under the
New Jersey Court Rules, Pressler, Current New Jersey Court Rules, Rule 2:2-3(a)(2).
exclusive procedure encompasses appeals from “inaction as well as action of a State administrative
agency.” Trantino v. New Jersey State Parole Bd., 687 A.2d 274, 287 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div.
1997) affd and modified, 711 A.2d 260 (1998); Johnson v. New Jersey State Parole Bd., 330 A.2d
616, 618 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 1974); see also Petrucelli v. Dep’t of Civil Serv., 101 A.2d
363, 364 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 1953) (“The import of the rule embraces official administrative
conduct of a negative character as well, such as, for example, the refusal to consider a meritorious
petition, or to conduct a hearing, or to render any decision in a controversial cause appropriately
before the [agency].”).
6. Here, Petitioner has specifically stated that he has not exhausted this claim in state
court. As such, the Court will dismiss the Petition without prejudice as unexhausted.
The sole ground raised in the Petition in Civil Action No. 15-7145 alleges that the New Jersey
7. Because the Petitions makes no substantial showing of a denial of a constitutional right,
a certificate of appealability will not issue. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 2253. An appropriate order follows.
Peter G. Sheridan, U.S.D.J.
Parole Board failed to provide Petitioner with a probable cause hearing on his parole violation
within 14 days of parole revocation. (Pet. ¶ 12, Ground One.) It is unclear why Petitioner filed
a separate habeas petition to raise this issue, but, regardless, he specifically states that this ground
has not been exhausted in state court. Therefore, it will also be dismissed without prejudice as
Petitioner’s motions for an “emergent hearing” and various other relief (Civil Action No. I 56998, ECF Nos. 4-9; Civil Action No. 15-7145, ECF Nos. 3-5) are likewise denied as moot.
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