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Carter v. Flournoy

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Brunswick Division

December 6, 2018

JEREMY M. CARTER, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN J.V. FLOURNOY, Respondent.

          ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          BENJAMIN W. CHEESBRO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Petitioner Jeremy Carter (“Carter”), who is currently housed at the Federal Correctional Institution in Estill, South Carolina, filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 while he was housed at the Federal Correctional Institution in Jesup, Georgia (“FCI Jesup”). (Doc. 1). Respondent filed a Response. (Doc. 10). For the reasons which follow, I RECOMMEND the Court DISMISS without prejudice Carter's Petition, DIRECT the Clerk of Court to CLOSE this case and enter the appropriate judgment of dismissal, and DENY Carter in forma pauperis status on appeal.

         BACKGROUND

         After a jury trial, Carter was sentenced in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida to 262 months' imprisonment for bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a), and possession of ammunition by a convicted felon, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). (Doc. 10-1 at 13-14). Carter has a projected release date of March 11, 2021, via good-conduct-time release. (Id. at 11).

         In his Petition, which he filed while he was housed at FCI Jesup, Carter asserts Respondent denied him access to the administrative remedies procedures at FCI Jesup. (Doc. 1 at 1). Carter also asserts he was placed in administrative segregation as retaliation for filing grievances on previous occasions and that the conditions in administrative segregation were “unsanitary and unsafe.” (Id. at 2, 4). Carter contends he sustained blunt force trauma to his head after he repeatedly banged his head against the wall, and Respondent ignored Carter's requests for medical treatment for his head injury and denied him “essential psychiatric treatment.” (Id. at 2-3). In addition, Carter maintains Respondent restricted his access to the law library, which restricted his access to the courts. (Id. at 3-4). Carter asks the Court to order Respondent to improve the conditions of his confinement and his release from administrative segregation. (Id. at 5-6).

         Respondent argues Carter does not set forth claims appropriate for habeas corpus relief. Respondent also argues Carter's Petition is now moot, as he has been transferred to another facility. Finally, Respondent states Carter failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. (Doc. 10).

         DISCUSSION

         I. Whether Carter can Proceed Pursuant to Section 2241

         Although Carter brought this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, the claims he asserts cannot be brought under that statute. Rather, Carter's claims should ordinarily have been brought pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). The distinction between claims which may be brought under Bivens and those which must be brought as habeas petitions is reasonably well-settled. Claims in which prisoners challenge the circumstances of their confinement are civil rights actions, not habeas corpus actions. See, e.g., Hill v. McDonough, 547 U.S. 573, 579 (2006); Gorrell v. Hastings, 541 Fed.Appx. 943, 945 (11th Cir. 2013). Habeas actions, in contrast, explicitly or by necessary implication, challenge a prisoner's conviction or the sentence imposed on him by a court (or under the administrative system implementing the judgment). Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 500 (1973). For example, when a prisoner makes a claim that, if successful, could shorten or invalidate his term of imprisonment, the claim must be brought as a habeas petition, not as a civil rights claim. See, e.g., Edwards v. Balisok, 520 U.S. 641 (1997); Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994).

         Carter cannot bring the claims he asserts via a habeas petition. He contests the conditions of his confinement, and such claims are not cognizable under Section 2241. Carter requests access to grievance forms, release from administrative detention, [1] medical and mental health treatment, access to the law library, and repairs to the unsafe conditions in the special housing unit. (Doc. 1 at 5-6). Carter's requested relief does not fall within the purview of Section 2241. Moreover, Carter does not assert any challenge to his sentence, conviction, or duration of confinement.

         Accordingly, I RECOMMEND the Court DISMISS without prejudice Carter's 28 U.S.C. § 2241 Petition. It is unnecessary to address the remaining grounds for dismissal Respondent advances.

         II. Leave to Appeal in Forma Pauperis

         The Court should also deny Carter leave to appeal in forma pauperis. Though Carter has, of course, not yet filed a notice of appeal, it would be appropriate to address these issues in the Court's order of dismissal. Fed. R. App. P. 24(a)(3) (trial court may certify that appeal is not taken in good faith “before or after the notice of appeal is filed”).

         An appeal cannot be taken in forma pauperis if the trial court certifies that the appeal is not taken in good faith. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3); Fed. R. App. P. 24(a)(3). Good faith in this context must be judged by an objective standard. Busch v. County of Volusia, 189 F.R.D. 687, 691 (M.D. Fla. 1999). A party does not proceed in good faith when he seeks to advance a frivolous claim or argument. See Coppedge v. United States, 369 U.S. 438, 445 (1962). A claim or argument is frivolous when it appears the factual allegations are clearly baseless or the legal theories are indisputably meritless. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989); Carroll v. Gross, 984 F.2d 392, 393 (11th Cir. 1993). An in forma pauperis action is frivolous and not brought in good faith if it is “without ...


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