United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Valdosta Division
LAWSON, SENIOR JUDGE.
se Petitioner Craig L Jones, currently incarcerated in Autry
State Prison, submitted a filing in the Northern District of
Georgia entitled “Notice & Demand for Order to
Vacate Void Judgment or in the Alternative, Recall of
Securities Issued in Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Identity Theft
by Deception & Human Trafficking.” Pet. 1, ECF No.
1. The Northern District construed Petitioner's filing as
a petition for writ of habeas corpus and subsequently
transferred it to this court. Order 3, May 21, 2018, ECF No.
6. Significant portions of the filing appears to be a
photocopy of a document Petitioner previously filed in this
Court in Jones v. State of Georgia,
7:17-cv-00116-HL-TQL (M.D. Ga.). In that case, this Court
initially construed the filing as a petition for writ of
habeas corpus. Petitioner contested the characterization and
sought to have the filing addressed as presented. On August
25, 2017, the Court dismissed the case without prejudice as
frivolous. Petitioner also contests recharacterization in
movant objects to a court recharacterizing a filing as a
petition for writ of habeas corpus, “the court should
not treat the motion as a § 2254 or § 2255 motion
but must rule on the merits of the motion as filed.”
Thurston v. Maryland, 611 Fed.Appx. 112, 113 (4th
Cir. 2015) (citing U.S. v. Emmanuel, 288 F.3d 644,
648 (4th Cir. 2002)); Zelaya v. Sec't, Fla.
Dept. of Corr., 798 F.3d 1360, 1368 (11th Cir. 2015)
(noting that district court would have been obligated to
construe pleading as presented if Petitioner would have
contested recharacterization). At the top of Petitioner's
initial filing he handwrote “[t]his is not a habeas
corpus.” Pet. 1, ECF No. 1. In his objection to
transfer, Petitioner states, his filing “is NOT to be
perceived as a writ of habeas corpus. It is what I have said
it is, a demand to vacate a void judgment, and will be
treated under the Rule for Relief from Judgment.”
Objection 2, ECF No. 5. Petitioner apparently seeks to
proceed under Rule 60 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
or the state law equivalent and argues that his state
criminal sentence is void, presumably under Rule 60(b)(4). As
presented, Petitioner's argument is frivolous.
brings this action attacking his March 11, 2012, conviction
in the Superior Court of Thomas County. Pursuant to Rule
On motion and upon such terms as are just, the court may
relieve a party or a party's legal representative from a
final judgment, order, or proceeding for the following
reasons: (1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable
neglect; (2) newly discovered evidence ...; (3) fraud ...
misrepresentation, or other misconduct of an adverse party;
(4) the judgment is void; (5) the judgment has been
satisfied, released, or discharged ...; or (6) any other
reason justifying relief from the operation of the judgment.
60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure does not apply
to criminal judgments. U.S. v. Mosavi, 138 F.3d
1365, 1366 (11th Cir. 1998) (“Rule 60(b) simply does
not provide for relief from judgment in a criminal
case.”). The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure govern
actions filed in federal district courts and do not offer
relief from state court actions.. See Fed. R. Civ.
P., Rule 1. Consequently, neither Rule 60 nor the state law
equivalent is the appropriate vehicle for contesting a state
court criminal judgment in federal court. See McCormick
v. City of Florala, 2017 WL 6521787, at *2 (11th Cir.
the exclusive remedy available for challenging the fact of
Petitioner's conviction or the duration of his
confinement is a petition for writ of habeas corpus.
Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475 (1973).
Petitioner's challenge to his state court criminal
conviction is not cognizable given the nature of this action
as presented. Id. (“[H]abeas corpus is the
exclusive remedy for a state prisoner who challenges the fact
or duration of his confinement and seeks immediate or
of the statute or theory under which Petitioner seeks relief,
his initial filing is frivolous. Petitioner seeks to expose a
“fraud” based on the trial court issuing “a
security which is providing an income stream” for the
trial court and the judge's retirement fund. Pet. 1, ECF
No 1. Petitioner continues that the “security was
issued by the prosecutor and securitized by the
Defendant's Birth Certificate bond Notice & Demand
for Order Vacating Void Judgment in violation of the
prosecutor's duty to bond the case with the
prosecutor's own bond.” Id. 1-2.
Petitioner surmises that his birth certificate was bonded
without permission and allowed others to profit from his
conviction, thus creating a conflict of interest that denied
him due process and deprived the trial court of subject
matter jurisdiction. Id. Throughout his filing,
Petitioner refers to himself as the
“Defendant-in-error” who enjoys “sovereign
immunity” from all courts and alleges that his criminal
trial was actually a “commercial transaction” and
the judge conspired to “create a joinder between the
Living sentient Man/Woman and fictitious CORPORATE
NAME.” Id. at 4-6.
contents of Petitioner's notice and demand parallel
arguments and legal theories advanced by adherents of the
sovereign citizen movement. They propound an ideology that
the state judiciary does not have jurisdiction “over a
living man, ” and, instead, jurisdiction exists over
“corporations.” Id. at 9. It is well
recognized in the Eleventh Circuit that such arguments have
no basis in the law and are frivolous. See U.S. v.
Sterling, 738 F.3d 228 (11th Cir. 2013) (observing that
courts confronted by sovereign citizen arguments summarily
rejected their theories as frivolous); Trevino v.
Fla., 2017 WL 1806512 (11th Cir. 2017) (per curiam)
(affirming dismissal of 1983 action based on sovereign
citizens as frivolous and noting that if those theories
challenged the conviction, habeas was the proper avenue of
relief); Linge v. State of Georgia, Inc., 569
Fed.Appx. 895, 896 (11th Cir. 2014) (observing that sovereign
citizen theories are “wholly insubstantial and
to the above, Rule 60 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
does not provide relief from state court criminal judgments
and is not the appropriate vehicle for challenging
Petitioner's state court conviction. Petitioner's
sovereign citizen legal arguments are also frivolous. This
action is DISMISSED without prejudice. The
exclusive remedy available to attack Petitioner's state
court conviction is a petition for writ of habeas corpus
brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner's
motion to proceed in forma pauperis is
GRANTED for purposes of dismissal only.