Hamby v. Phillips
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: Accordingly, Petitioner's 2 Application is GRANTED. The Clerk will file the Petition in forma pauperis. Thus, in the absence of a colorable claim, the Petition is DENIED and the instant action is hereby DISMISSED. Give n the dismissal of this action, Petitioner's pending Motions to inform Trust Office (Doc. No. 4) and to add Respondents (Doc. No. 5) have been rendered MOOT and are DENIED for that reason. Signed by Chief Judge Waverly D. Crenshaw, Jr on 10/23/2017. (xc:Pro se party by regular mail. ) (DOCKET TEXT SUMMARY ONLY-ATTORNEYS MUST OPEN THE PDF AND READ THE ORDER.)(jw)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE
WILLIAM HAMBY, JR.,
WARDEN SHAUN PHILLIPS,
CHIEF JUDGE CRENSHAW
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
William Hamby is an inmate at the Morgan County Correctional Complex in Wartburg,
Tennessee. He has filed pro se a Petition (Doc. No. 1) under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, for writ of habeas
corpus, and an Application (Doc. No. 7) to proceed in forma pauperis.
It appears from the Application that the Petitioner lacks sufficient financial resources from
which to pay the fee required to file the Petition. Accordingly, Petitioner’s Application is
GRANTED. The Clerk will file the Petition in forma pauperis. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a).
The Court is now obliged to review the Petition to determine whether it states a colorable
claim for relief. Rule 4, Rules - - - § 2254 Cases.
The Petitioner is serving an eighteen (18) year sentence for aggravated kidnapping. (Doc.
No. 1 at 1.) He is not challenging the legality of the conviction. Rather, the Petitioner questions
conditions of his confinement. (Id.) More specifically, he alleges “improper living conditions while
in solitary confinement” which include (1) an inadequate amount of daily out-of-cell therapy; (2)
moldy showers; (3) dried feces on the floor of his housing unit; (4) no access to legal request forms
or a notary; (5) unanswered grievances; (6) not allowed visits with his attorney; and (7) “discarded
legal papers. (Id at 3.)
28 U.S.C. § 2254 provides relief for an individual “in custody pursuant to the judgment of
a state court only on the ground that he is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or
treaties of the United States.” The Petitioner is attacking conditions of his confinement rather than
the fact or duration of that confinement. Constitutional claims that merely challenge conditions of
a prisoner’s confinement, but not the fact or duration of that confinement, fall outside the “core” of
habeas corpus. Nelson v. Campbell, 541 U.S. 637, 643 (2004). Therefore, the Petitioner has failed
to state a claim upon which § 2254 relief can be granted.
Given the liberal construction accorded pro se pleadings, Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519
(1972), the Court could construe the § 2254 Petition as a complaint brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 499 (1973) (a civil rights action is the proper remedy
for a state prisoner who is making a constitutional challenge to conditions of his confinement but
not to the fact or duration of his custody). However, such a construction would not be appropriate
in this instance because the Petitioner has already brought a challenge to conditions of his
confinement at the Morgan County Correctional Complex. See Hamby v. Hernandez, No. 3:17-cv0629 (M.D. Tenn.), Doc. No. 75 at 1 (“Plaintiff’s claims arising out of events occurring at the
MCCX were severed and transferred to the Northern Division of the U.S. District Court for the
Eastern District of Tennessee pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a)).” Moreover, the Petitioner has not
identified in the Petition what relief he is requesting and the events he complains about occurred in
another judicial district.
Thus, in the absence of a colorable claim, the Petition is DENIED and the instant action is
hereby DISMISSED. Given the dismissal of this action, Petitioner’s pending Motions to inform
Trust Office (Doc. No. 4) and to add Respondents (Doc. No. 5) have been rendered MOOT and are
DENIED for that reason.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR.
CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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