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.

Miller v. Philbin

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

January 30, 2019

TRACY ANTHONY MILLER, Petitioner,
v.
EDWARD PHILBIN, Warden, Respondent.

          MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          BRIAN K. EM'S UNITED STALES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Petitioner Tracy Anthony Miller brings the above-styled petition for a writ of habeas corpus against Edward Philbin, Warden of Augusta State Medical Prison. Although Petitioner suggests that his claims are brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, the petition is actually a request for relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. As this is at least Petitioner's sixth petition for relief under § 2254 and was filed without first obtaining the requisite authorization from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the Court REPORTS and RECOMMENDS Petitioner's motion to supplement his § 2241 petition, motion for appointment of counsel, motion for immediate release, and motion for release be DENIED AS MOOT, (doc. nos. 3, 4, 6, 7), the petition be DISMISSED, and this civil action be CLOSED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This is not the first time Petitioner has requested habeas corpus relief in federal court. He filed his first petition for habeas corpus relief in 1996. Miller v. Sikes, CV 196-195 (S.D. Ga. Nov. 21, 1996) (“CV 196-195”). That petition was denied by Order of the Honorable William T. Moore, Jr., United States District Judge, on November 6, 1998. Id., doc. no. 111. Both Judge Moore and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals refused to issue a Certificate of Appealability, id., doc. nos. 128, 141, thereby concluding Petitioner's habeas proceedings. Undeterred, Petitioner continued to file papers in CV 196-195 until this Court entered an Order on January 9, 2003, directing the Clerk of Court not to accept any further filings from Petitioner bearing the Civil Action Number 196-195. Id., doc. no. 145. On July 16, 2018, Petitioner filed a notice of appeal regarding the January 9, 2003 Order, id., doc. no. 146, which the Eleventh Circuit dismissed for lack of jurisdiction on November 5, 2018, id., doc. no. 154.

         Petitioner also proceeded to file several other habeas petitions challenging the same convictions, which were dismissed as second or successive. See Miller v. Hall, CV 101-119, doc. no. 9, adopting doc. no. 3 (S.D. Ga. Oct. 2, 2001) (“CV 101-119”); Miller v. All Georgia Judges, CV 104-082, doc. no. 21, adopting doc. no. 10 (S.D. Ga. July 21, 2004) (“CV 104-082”); Miller v. Chase, CV 105-093, doc. no. 6, adopting doc. no. 1 (S.D. Ga. Aug. 11, 2005) (“CV 105-093”); Miller v. Walker, CV 109-131, doc. no. 7, adopting doc. no. 3 (S.D. Ga. Dec. 28, 2009) (“CV 109-131”). Notably, after the Honorable Dudley H. Bowen, Jr., United States District Judge, dismissed the § 2254 petition filed in CV 101-119 as second or successive, Petitioner filed his habeas petitions in CV 104-082, CV 105-093, and CV 109-131 pursuant to § 2241 in an attempt to circumvent the gatekeeping provision of the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”), Pub. L. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214, that bans petitioners from filing second or successive petitions for habeas corpus relief in the district courts. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)(A). However, because Petitioner was actually requesting relief pursuant to § 2254, rather than § 2241, the Court treated the petitions filed in CV 104-082, CV 105-083, and CV 109-131 as ones filed pursuant to § 2254, and as noted above, they were accordingly dismissed as second or successive.

         Now, Petitioner is back before the Court, ostensibly seeking relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. In keeping with past practice, his petition, brief in support, and supplemental filings constitute a rambling, virtually incoherent “stream of consciousness” narrative challenging the state court proceedings in Burke County that led to his conviction for murder.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Nature of Petition

         The label placed on the petition by Petitioner does not prevent the Court from considering the filing for what the substance shows it to be, namely a request for relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Indeed, the Court may look beyond the title of a document to properly analyze its substance. See, e.g., Spivey v. State Bd. of Pardons and Paroles, 279 F.3d 1301, 1302 n.1 (11th Cir. 2002) (per curiam) (looking past “artfully” labeled filing to apply limit on second or successive habeas petitions); Gilreath v. State Bd. of Pardons and Paroles, 273 F.3d 932, 933 (11th Cir. 2001) (per curiam) (“We look at the kind of relief Appellant seeks from the federal courts and conclude that, however the Appellant described it [motion for stay of execution], the motion was for habeas corpus relief.”).

         An examination of the instant petition shows that it is a request for the type of relief afforded by 28 U.S.C. § 2254. According to the relevant provisions of § 2254:

The Supreme Court, a Justice thereof, a circuit judge, or a district court shall entertain an application for a writ of habeas corpus in behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court only on the ground that he is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.

28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). Here, there is no question that Petitioner is “in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State Court.” Nor is there any question that he is attempting to attack the underlying basis of his convictions that led to his current incarceration.

         As he has done before, Petitioner is once again clearly attempting to circumvent the gatekeeping provision of AEDPA that bans petitioners from filing second or successive petitions for habeas corpus relief in the district courts. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)(A). The Eleventh Circuit has addressed this practice of state prisoners attempting to use § 2241 to circumvent the more restrictive requirements of § 2254:

In summary, a state prisoner seeking post-conviction relief from a federal court has but one remedy: an application for a writ of habeas corpus. All applications for writs of habeas corpus are governed by § 2241, which generally authorizes federal courts to grant the writ-to both federal and state prisoners. Most state prisoners' applications for writs of habeas corpus are subject also to the additional restrictions of § 2254. That is, if a state prisoner is “in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court, ” his petition is subject to § 2254. If, however, a prisoner ...

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.