United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ORDER DISMISSING PETITION FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS
AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
R. SWEENEY II, JUDGE.
Oscar Harris, an inmate at the Federal Correctional
Institution in Terre Haute, Indiana (FCI Terre Haute), has
filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2241. For the following reasons, the petition
must be dismissed.
Harris's petition identifies four grounds for relief.
Each is directed toward his transfer to the “CMU”
at the FCI Terre Haute. For relief, he requests an order that
the respondent: (1) transfer him out of the CMU to a location
within 500 miles of family consistent with the First Step
Act, (2) set criteria for completion of the CMU, (3) process
his application for home detention under the Elderly Offender
Home Detention Program, (4) give him the same privileges as
general population, and (5) give all inmates a due process
hearing before placement in the CMU.
Harris's habeas petition is subject to preliminary review
to determine whether “it plainly appears from the face
of the petition and any exhibits annexed to it that the
petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district
court.” Rule 4 of the Rules Governing § 2254
Cases (applicable to § 2241 petitions pursuant to
Rule 1(b)); see 28 U.S.C. § 2243. If so, the
petition must be summarily dismissed. Rule 4. A federal court
may issue the writ of habeas corpus only if it finds the
applicant “is in custody in violation of the
Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.”
28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3); see also Rose v.
Hodges, 423 U.S. 19, 21 (1975) (“A necessary
predicate for the granting of federal habeas relief [to a
petitioner] is a determination by the federal court that [his
or her] custody violates the Constitution, laws, or treaties
of the United States.”).
discussed below, Mr. Harris's claims and requests for
relief are not properly brought pursuant to § 2241.
Mr. Harris's claims and requests for relief relate to his
transfer to the CMU at the FCI Terre Haute. The Court must
independently evaluate the substance of these claims to
determine if the correct statute-in this case 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241-is invoked. Bunn v. Conley, 309 F.3d
1002, 1006-07 (7th Cir. 2002); Godoski v. United
States, 304 F.3d 761, 763 (7th Cir. 2002) (court must
evaluate independently the substance of the claim being
brought, to see if correct statute is being invoked). A
habeas petition, such as Mr. Harris's § 2241
petition, is properly used to challenge only “the fact
or duration of confinement.” Hill v.
Werlinger, 695 F.3d 644, 645 (7th Cir. 2012). A habeas
petition is not the appropriate avenue to challenge prison
conditions. In cases where a prisoner “is not
challenging the fact of his confinement, but instead the
conditions under which he is being held, [the Seventh
Circuit] has held that he must use a § 1983 or
Bivens theory.” Glaus v. Anderson,
408 F.3d 382, 386 (7th Cir. 2005); Robinson v.
Sherrod, 631 F.3d 839, 841 (7th Cir. Cir. 2011)
(recognizing the court's “long-standing view that
habeas corpus is not a permissible route for challenging
Harris's challenges to his confinement in the CMU are all
challenges to the conditions under which he is being held,
not the fact or duration of his confinement. Accordingly,
this habeas petition is not the proper vehicle to challenge
the continuing confinement in the CMU. The Court notes that
the challenges to the conditions of his confinement might be
the proper subject of a civil rights complaint, but the Court
will not convert this case to a civil rights case. Cf.
Robinson, 631 F.3d at 841. Mr. Harris may file a civil
rights complaint regarding the conditions of his confinement
if he chooses to do so. He should be aware that any civil
rights case will be subject to a $400 filing fee and the
screening requirement of 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Further, he
may be assessed a “strike” if the Court
determines that the action is frivolous, malicious, or fails
to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. 28 U.S.C.
Request for Placement
Mr. Harris's request to be transferred to a location that
is within 500 miles of his family under the First Step Act
must be dismissed because the First Step Act specifically
provides: “Notwithstanding any other provision of law,
a designation of a place of imprisonment under this
subsection is not reviewable by any court.” 18 U.S.C.A.
§ 3621(b). The Court therefore lacks jurisdiction to
review Mr. Harris's placement determination.
Application for Home Detention
Mr. Harris's request that the Court direct the respondent
to process his application for home detention under the
Elderly Offender Home Detention Program cannot proceed in
this case ...