RICHARDSON v. MCFADDEN
ORDER THAT THE PETITION FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS IS DENIED WITH PREJUDICE AND WITHOUT A HEARING FOR THE REASONS STATED HEREIN; THE MOTION TO DISMISS IS GRANTED; THERE IS NO PROBABLE CAUSE TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY; AND THE CLERK OF COURT IS DIRECTED TO CLOSE THIS CASE FOR STATISTICAL AND ALL PURPOSES. SIGNED BY HONORABLE C. DARNELL JONES, II ON 8/29/17. 8/31/17 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED TO PETITIONER AND EMAILED TO COUNSEL.(jaa, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
DAVID D. RICHARDSON,
D. EDWARD MCFADDEN, et al., :
AND NOW, this 29th day of August, 2017, upon careful and independent consideration
of the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (ECF No. 1), Respondent Chester County’s Response
(ECF No. 9), Respondent D. Edward McFadden’s Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 10), Petitioner’s
Response to the motion to dismiss (ECF No. 12), the Report and Recommendation of the
Honorable Henry S. Perkin, U.S. Magistrate Judge, (ECF No. 14), Petitioner’s Objections thereto
(ECF No. 15), Respondents’ Opposition to the Objections (ECF Nos. 19 and 20), it is hereby
ORDERED that the Report and Recommendation is APPROVED and ADOPTED insofar as:
1. The Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (ECF No. 1) is DENIED with prejudice
and without a hearing for the reasons stated herein; 1
While Petitioner was a pre-trial detainee facing state criminal charges, he filed this pro se habeas petition pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, claiming that an $85 booking and processing fee had been unconstitutionally assessed against
him upon being taken into custody. Pet.2-5, ECF No. 1; see also Pet.’s Br. 1-6, ECF No. 6. By its own terms,
section 2241 states: “The writ of habeas corpus shall not extend to a prisoner unless … he is in custody” or it “is
necessary to bring him into court to testify or for trial.” 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(1)-(5) (emphasis added).
Respondent Chester County opposed the petition, and Respondent McFadden filed a motion to dismiss, on the
grounds that Petitioner had failed to raise any constitutional defense against his physical custody, or exhaust state
remedies, as required under section 2241. Resp’t Chester County’s Resp. 8-9. ECF No. 9; Resp’t McFadden’s Mot.
Dismiss Br. 4-7, ECF No. 10-2. Magistrate Judge Perkin, on referral from this Court, issued a Report and
Recommendation (R&R) recommending that the petition be denied without prejudice, and dismissed without a
hearing, for failure to exhaust state remedies. R&R 7-10, ECF No. 14.
Plaintiff filed timely objections to the R&R “regarding exhaustion insofar as said analysis erroneously subjects
petitioner to the exhaustion requirement under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1)(A).” Objs. 1, ECF No. 15. He also implicitly
concedes that he is not challenging the constitutionality of his physical custody or the state criminal proceedings;
rather, he is only seeking to recover for the allegedly unconstitutional seizure of the $85 special assessment “from
2. The Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 10) is GRANTED;
3. There is no probable cause to issue a certificate of appealability; and
4. The Clerk of Court is directed to CLOSE this case for statistical and all purposes.
BY THE COURT:
/s/ C. Darnell Jones, II
C. Darnell Jones, II J.
his inmate account.” Id. at 4 (citing to Burns v. PA Dep’t of Correction, 544 F.3d 279, 291 (3d Cir. 2008) (holding
that an inmate had a “protected property interest” in his inmate account “for purposes of procedural due process”
where his account had been assessed for “medical and other expenses” as punishment for having assaulted a fellow
inmate in a case brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, not section 2241)).
Respondents oppose Petitioner’s objections. They point out that Petitioner is no longer “in custody with respect to
his case at CP-15-CR-0001534-2016,” the state criminal case that originally gave rise to his petition. Opp. Br. 3,
ECF No. 19. In fact, on June 1, 2017, Petitioner pled guilty to disorderly conduct and was sentenced with credit for
time served. Id. (citing and attaching the state court record). Respondents restate their non-exhaustion argument,
but also expand on the argument that section “2241 is not the appropriated (sic) vehicle” to raise a claim for an
alleged unconstitutional taking of funds, especially since it is undisputed that Petitioner is no longer in custody. Id.
On de novo review of an R&R, a district court judge “may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings
or recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). Although Judge Perkin is correct
that Petitioner has failed to exhaust his claim, the petition fails right out the door because section 2241 is not the
proper vehicle to challenge an allegedly unconstitutional taking of property even if it occurs during pre-trial
detention. See Credico v. BOP FDC Warden of Philadelphia, 592 F. App’x 55, 57-58 (3d Cir. 2014) (holding that
claims for illegal seizure of property while in custody are civil rights claims, and are not cognizable under section
2241, where none of those “claims is a challenge to the fact or duration of imprisonment”). The petition is therefore
denied with prejudice, and without a hearing, as a matter of law.
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