Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Harris v. Bell

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division

April 5, 2019

WILLIAM OSCAR HARRIS, Petitioner,
v.
J. R. BELL, Respondent.

          ORDER DISMISSING PETITION FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT

          JAMES R. SWEENEY II, JUDGE.

         William 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.

         I. The Petition

         Mr. 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.

         II. Discussion

         Mr. 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.”).

         As discussed below, Mr. Harris's claims and requests for relief are not properly brought pursuant to § 2241.

         A. CMU Claims

         Most of 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 prison conditions.”).

         Mr. 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. § 1915(g).

         B. Request for Placement

         Similarly, 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.

         C. Application for Home Detention

         Finally, 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 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.