United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division
T. TREADWELL, JUDGE
Willie James Terrell, an inmate in the Calhoun State Prison
in Morgan, Georgia, filed a pleading on the form for a
petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. Pet. for Writ of Habeas Corpus 1, ECF No. 1. In
the petition, Petitioner asserted that he had been
transferred from Washington State Prison to Calhoun State
Prison in retaliation for filing grievances. Id. at
5-15. As relief, Petitioner sought, among other things,
injunctive relief requiring that he be returned to Washington
State Prison. Id. at 16. Petitioner did not discuss
loss of good-time credits, challenge his conviction, or seek
immediate or earlier release from incarceration. See
initial review of the petition, the United States Magistrate
Judge noted that Petitioner had couched his arguments in
terms of “illegal custody, ” potentially
implicating the habeas corpus statutes. Order to Recast 1,
ECF No. 8. Nevertheless, the Magistrate Judge recognized that
Petitioner's arguments generally did not relate to the
validity of his conviction or confinement, instead raising
claims of retaliatory transfer. Id. at 1-2. As such,
these claims appeared to be 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil
rights claims instead of habeas claims. See Id.
Under these circumstances, the Magistrate Judge found that it
was unclear whether Petitioner had actually intended to file
a habeas corpus petition or a civil rights complaint under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. See id.
the Magistrate Judge ordered Petitioner to clarify his claims
by recasting them on either a new 28 U.S.C. § 2254
habeas corpus petition or a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 complaint
form. Order to Recast Compl., ECF No. 8. To that end, the
Magistrate Judge informed Petitioner that, if he wanted to
challenge the legality of his confinement and seek release
from that confinement, he must complete and return the habeas
petition. Id. (citing Preiser, 411 U.S. at
484). If Petitioner was seeking other relief, such as damages
or an injunction, for alleged civil rights violations, he was
to complete and return the § 1983 complaint form.
Id. (citing Baker v. McCollan, 443 U.S.
137, 144 n.3 (1979) (explaining that 42 U.S.C. § 1983
provides “a method for vindicating federal rights
elsewhere conferred by those parts of the United States
Constitution and federal statutes that it describes”)).
this order, Petitioner filed a recast petition for a writ of
habeas corpus.Recast Pet. for Writ of Habeas Corpus, ECF
No. 12. Thereafter, Petitioner filed a motion for an
extension of time to file his recast complaint and a motion
to consolidate this case with No. 1:18-cv-129. Mot. for Ext.,
Dec. 20, 2018, ECF No. 14. Petitioner has also filed a motion
for the return of property that he asserts has been seized
from him, Mot. for Return of Property, ECF No. 16, as well as
another motion for an extension of time. Emergency Mot. for
Ext. of Time, ECF No. 18.
recast petition, Petitioner now asserts that he was
transferred without due process based on being charged with a
disciplinary infraction, even though he was ultimately found
not guilty on the charge. Recast Pet. 5-15, ECF No. 12.
Additionally, Petitioner has added in brief references to the
loss of good-time credits, although he includes no specific
information about any purported loss. See Id. at 5,
of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases in the United States
District Courts requires this Court to promptly examine every
application filed and thereafter enter a summary dismissal if
it “plainly appears from the face of the petition that
the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district
court.” See 28 U.S.C. § 2254 Rule 4;
McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 856 (1994)
(“Federal courts are authorized to dismiss summarily
any habeas petition that appears legally insufficient on its
fact.”). With regard to this petition, when a state
prisoner challenges the legality of his custody-either the
fact of confinement or the duration of confinement-and the
relief he seeks is a determination that he is entitled to
earlier or immediate release, such a challenge is cognizable
in a petition for a writ of habeas corpus under § 2254.
See Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 500 (1973).
Conversely, where a prisoner challenges the conditions of
confinement, as opposed to the fact or duration of
confinement, his remedy lies in a civil rights action under
42 U.S.C. § 1983. See Hutcherson v. Riley, 468
F.3d 750, 754 (11th Cir. 2006).
although Petitioner couches his arguments in terms of
“illegal custody” and briefly mentions a loss of
good-time credits, the petition makes clear that what
Petitioner is challenging is not the fact or duration of his
incarceration, but instead, is a condition of his
confinement, specifically, being held in Calhoun State Prison
rather than in Washington State Prison. This challenge to a
condition of his confinement may only be brought in a §
1983 civil rights action, not a habeas corpus petition.
See Id. (explaining that § 1983 claims and
habeas corpus claims are mutually exclusive, such that
“if a claim can be raised in a federal habeas petition,
that same claim cannot be raised in a separate § 1983
civil rights action, ” and vice versa). Thus, it is
plain from the face of the recast petition that Petitioner is
not entitled to the relief he is seeking through this
this petition for a writ of habeas corpus is
DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE, and
Petitioner's pending motions for an extension of time
(ECF Nos. 14 and 18) are DENIED AS MOOT.
Additionally, Petitioner's motion for the return of his
property (ECF No. 16) is also DENIED, as
that relief is not properly sought within the context of this
Because Petitioner has declared that he
intends to proceed under the habeas corpus statutes, and
because he has already paid the $5.00 filing fee for a habeas
petition, his motion to proceed in forma ...