Cobb v. Willis et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER. Writ of habeas corpus is denied. Dismissed without prejudice.. Signed by Judge Frank Montalvo. (lc3)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TE
EL PASO DIVISION
MARTIN DARNELL COBB,
Reg. No. 78698-080,
J.S. WILLIS, Warden, et al.,
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Martin Dame!! Cobb, a prisoner at the La Tuna Federal Correctional Institution in Anthony,
Texas,' seeks relief from staff retaliation through apro se petition for habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. §
2241. He claims he is assisting the Inspector General with an investigation of staff members.2 He
insists that, as a consequence of his cooperation, he has "experienced staff retaliation in the form of
excessive locker shakedowns, frivolous seizures ..., [and] harassment ..
He seeks Court intervention
to stop the "threats" and allow him to "exit this facility peacefully and without incident in less than 105
"Federal law opens two main avenues to relief on complaints related to imprisonment: a petition
for habeas corpus ... and a [civil rights]
A Court will not grant a petition for § 2241 relief
Anthony is located in El Paso County, Texas, which is within the territorial limits of the Western
District of Texas. 28 U.S.C. § 124(d)(3) (2012).
Pet'r's Pet 7, Feb. 15, 2017, ECF No.
Id. at 6.
540 U.S. 749, 750 (2004).
unless the petitioner is "in custody in violation of the Constitution or law or treaties of the United
The "sole function" of a habeas petition is relief from unconstitutional custody, and "it cannot be used for
any other purpose."7 Indeed, "habeas corpus is not available to prisoners complaining only of
mistreatment during their legal incarceration."8 Allegations complaining of the rules, customs, and
procedures affecting conditions of confinement or treatment of prisoners are properly brought in a civil
rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 or Bivens.9
The distinction between a petition for habeas corpus and a civil rights action sometimes becomes
blurred when an inmate attacks unconstitutional conditions of confinement that may affect the timing of
his release from prison.'0 The Fifth Circuit has therefore adopted a bright-line rule: claims which would
result in the inmate's immediate or accelerated release from prison must be pursued in a petition for writ of
habeas corpus, while claims which would not automatically entitle the inmate to an immediate or earlier
release from prison must be pursued as a civil rights complaint."
28 U.S.C. § 224 1(c)(3) (2012).
Cook v. Hanberiy, 592 F.2d 248, 249 (5th Cir. 1979) (per curiam).
Hunt, 411 F.2d 9, 12 (5th Cir. 1969).
See 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (2012) (creating a private right of action for redressing violations of federal
law by state officials acting under color of state law); Inyo County v. Paiute-Shoshone Indians of the
Bishop City., 538 U.S. 701, 708 (2003); Balladv. Wall, 413 F.3d 510, 518 (5th Cir. 2005). As the
Respondents are federal officials, acting under the color of federal law, Cobb's claims are properly
brought as a Bivens action, rather than a suit under § 1983. See Bivens v. Six Unknown NamedAgents of
Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971) (recognizing a right implied directly under the
Constitution to recover damages against a federal official for a violation of a constitutional right); Evans v.
Ball, 168 F.3d 856, 863 n.10 (5th Cir. 1999) ("A Bivens action is analogous to an action under § 1983the
only difference being that § 1983 applies to constitutional violations by state, rather than federal
Johnson, 112 F.3d 818, 820 (5th Cir. 1997).
Id. at 821; Cook v. Texas Dep t of Criminal Justice Transitional Planning Dep It, 37 F.3d 166,
In his petition, Cobb complains about "staff retaliation" as a result of his cooperation with an
investigation of prison officials. 12
A favorable determination on his claim will not automatically entitle
him to an accelerated release from prison.'3
Thus, the Court concludes that it should deny Cobb's §
2241 petition, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2243,14 without prejudice to him pursuing his claims in a civil
Accordingly, the Court enters the following orders:
IT IS ORDERED that Cobb's petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 is
DENIED and his civil cause is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE because it appears from the
face of his petition that he is not entitled to § 2241 relief.
IT IS ALSO ORDERED that all other pending motions, if any, are DENIED as moot.
IT IS FINALLY ORDERED that the Clerk shall CLOSE this case.
day of February, 2017.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
168 (5th Cir. 1994).
Pet'r's Pet. 4.
See Pierre v. United States, 525 F.2d 933, 935 (5th Cir. 1976) ("Simply stated, habeas is not
available to review questions unrelated to the cause of detention.").
See 28 U.S.C. § 2243 (2012) ("A court ... 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
Carson, 112 F.3d at 820-21.
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