Ainsworth v. State of Utah
MEMORANDUM DECISION & ORDER TO AMEND DEFICIENT AMENDED PETITION:Petitioner shall have THIRTY DAYS from the date of this order to cure the deficiencies. The Clerk's Office shall mail Petitioner a copy of the Pro Se Litigant Guide with a proper form petition and/or civil rights complaint for him to complete, according to the directions. If Petitioner fails to timely cure the above noted deficiencies, as instructed, this action will be dismissed without further notice. Signed by Judge Robert J. Shelby on 09/04/2018. (kpf)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF UTAH
MEMORANDUM DECISION &
ORDER TO AMEND DEFICIENT
Case No. 2:17-CV-1205-RJS
STATE OF UTAH,
District Judge Robert J. Shelby
Petitioner, Thomas Ainsworth, an inmate at Utah State Prison, filed a pro se habeascorpus petition. See 28 U.S.C.S. § 2254 (2018). Reviewing the Amended Petition, (Doc. No. 4),
the Court concludes that it must be amended to cure the below deficiencies if Petitioner wishes to
further pursue his claims.
DEFICIENCIES IN AMENDED PETITION
is not on a Court-approved form
has possibly been supplemented by other potential claims in other documents filed in this
case by Petitioner. (Doc. Nos. 5 & 6.)
has claims appearing to be based on the illegality of Petitioner's current confinement;
however, the petition was apparently not submitted using the legal help Petitioner is
entitled to by his institution under the Constitution--e.g., by contract attorneys. See Lewis
v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 356 (1996) (requiring prisoners be given "'adequate law libraries
or adequate assistance from persons trained in the law' . . . to ensure that inmates . . .
have a reasonably adequate opportunity to file nonfrivolous legal claims challenging their
convictions or conditions of confinement") (quoting Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817, 828
(1977) (emphasis added)).
INSTRUCTIONS TO PETITIONER
Under Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure an initial pleading is required to
contain "(1) a short and plain statement of the grounds upon which the court's jurisdiction
depends, . . . (2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief, and (3) a demand for judgment for the relief the pleader seeks." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). The
requirements of Rule 8(a) are intended to guarantee "that [respondents] enjoy fair notice of what
the claims against them are and the grounds upon which they rest." TV Commc'ns Network, Inc.
v. ESPN, Inc., 767 F. Supp. 1062, 1069 (D. Colo. 1991), aff’d, 964 F.2d 1022 (10th Cir. 1992).
Pro se litigants are not excused from compliance with the minimal pleading requirements
of Rule 8. "This is so because a pro se [litigant] requires no special legal training to recount the
facts surrounding his alleged injury, and he must provide such facts if the court is to determine
whether he makes out a claim on which relief can be granted." Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106,
1009 (10th Cir. 1991). Moreover, "it is not the proper function of the Court to assume the role of
advocate for a pro se litigant." Id. at 1110. Thus, the Court cannot "supply additional facts, [or]
construct a legal theory for [petitioner] that assumes facts that have not been pleaded." Dunn v.
White, 880 F.2d 1188, 1197 (10th Cir. 1989).
Petitioner should consider the following general points before refiling his petition. First,
the revised petition must stand entirely on its own and shall not refer to, or incorporate by
reference, any portion of the original petition or any other documents previously filed by
Petitioner. See Murray v. Archambo, 132 F.3d 609, 612 (10th Cir. 1998) (amendment
supersedes original). Second, the petitioner must clearly state whom his custodian is and name
that person (a warden or ultimate supervisor of an imprisonment facility) as the respondent. See
R. 2, Rs. Governing § 2254 Cases in the U.S. Dist. Courts. Third, Petitioner may generally not
bring civil-rights claims as to the conditions of his confinement in a habeas-corpus petition.
Fourth, any claims about Petitioner's underlying conviction and/or sentencing should be brought
under 28 U.S.C.S. § 2254 (2017); any claims about the execution of Petitioner's sentence should
be brought under id. § 2241. Fifth, Petitioner should seek help to prepare initial pleadings from
legal resources (e.g., contract attorneys) available where he is held.
Based on the above, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
(1) Petitioner shall have THIRTY DAYS from the date of this order to cure the
deficiencies noted above.
(2) The Clerk's Office shall mail Petitioner a copy of the Pro Se Litigant Guide with a
proper form petition and/or civil-rights complaint for him to complete, according to the
(3) If Petitioner fails to timely cure the above-noted deficiencies, as instructed here, this
action will be dismissed without further notice.
DATED this 4th day of September, 2018.
BY THE COURT:
JUDGE ROBERT J. SHELBY
United States District Court
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