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Vela v. M. Underwood

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division

July 29, 2019

ALEJANDRO VELA, # 64845-280, Petitioner,
v.
M. UNDERWOOD, Warden, Respondent.

         Referred to U.S. Magistrate Judge [1]

          FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATION

          IRMA CARRILLO RAMIREZ UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Before the Court is the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, received on July 1, 2019. (See doc. 3.) Based on the relevant findings and applicable law, the petition should be DISMISSED without prejudice.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Alejandro Vela (Petitioner), a federal prisoner detained at the Federal Correctional Institute in Seagoville, Texas (FCI-Seagoville), claims that he subjected to “cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eight Amendment” because he “denied access to medical treatment and screening after being exposed to cancer causing asbestos and breath-taking mold” at that facility. He also claims that the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) “[does] not comply with the regulations prescribing the administrative remedies by the Attorney General under 28 CFR §§ 542.01 et seq.” (See doc. 3 at 14-15.)[2] Expressly proceeding under § 2241, he seeks a finding that FCI-Seagoville does not follow the required BOP administrative remedies procedure, an order requiring that he receive medical treatment for his exposure to asbestos and mold, and immediate release from prison. (Id. at 15-16.) No. process has been issued.

         II. ANALYSIS

         Section 2241 states, in relevant part, that a habeas petitioner may be granted relief only if the he “is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3). A petitioner can utilize habeas corpus proceedings only if he is challenging the fact or duration of his confinement. Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 484 - 88 (1973); see also Cook v. Hanberry, 592 F.2d 248, 249 (5th Cir.1979) (stating that the “sole function” of a habeas petition is relief from unconstitutional custody, and “it cannot be used for any other purpose”) Conversely, “habeas corpus is not available to prisoners complaining only of mistreatment during their legal incarceration.” Granville v. Hunt, 411 F.2d 9, 12 (5th Cir.1969). Allegations complaining of the rules, customs, and procedures affecting conditions of confinement or treatment of prisoners are properly brought in a civil rights action. Spina v. Aaron, 821 F.2d 1126, 1127-28 (5th Cir.1987). “If a favorable determination . . . would not automatically entitle [the petitioner] to accelerated release, ” the proper course for the petitioner is a civil rights action. Carson v. Johnson, 112 F.3d 818, 820 - 21 (5th Cir.1997).

         The § 2241 petition does not allege that Petitioner is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States. He complains of the lack of medical care at his prison facility, and that BOP does not follow its internal administrative remedy procedures. Because Petitioner complains only of the conditions of his confinement, and a favorable determination would have no effect on his projected date of release, his claims are not cognizable under § 2241. If Petitioner seeks to challenge the alleged failure of the BOP to provide medical care, or employ adequate internal procedures, he must raise his claims in an appropriate civil action and pay the applicable filing fee.

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) requires all prisoners who bring a civil action to pay the full filing fee. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1).[3] A prisoner who is granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis will still have to pay the filing fee, but he will be allowed to pay it in installments, which will be automatically withdrawn from his inmate trust account. Because of the $400.00 filing fee, Petitioner's § 2241 petition is not liberally construed as a new civil case at this time.

         The Clerk's Office is INSTRUCTED to forward Petitioner a copy of the standard forms for filing a civil complaint and a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and an application to proceed in forma pauperis.

         III. RECOMMENDATION

         The petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 should be DISMISSED without prejudice to properly raising his claims in a separate civil action.

         SO RECOMMENDED.

         INSTRUCTIONS FOR SERVICE AND NOTICE OF RIGHT ...


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