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Izac v. Norwood

September 23, 2010

CHARLES D. IZAC, PETITIONER,
v.
J. L. NORWOOD ET AL., RESPONDENTS.
CHARLES D. IZAC, PETITIONER,
v.
J. L. NORWOOD ET AL., RESPONDENTS.
CHARLES D. IZAC, PETITIONER,
v.
J. L. NORWOOD ET AL., RESPONDENTS.
CHARLES D. IZAC, PETITIONER,
v.
DONNA ZICKEFOOSE, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: RENÉE Marie Bumb United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Applies to All Actions

IT APPEARING THAT:

1. On August 11, 2010, the Clerk received Petitioner's first § 2241 application and opened the first Izac v. Norwood matter, indexed as Civil Action No. 10-4112 (Izac-I).

2. Two weeks later, i.e., on August 25, 2010, the Clerk received Petitioner's second § 2241 application and opened the second Izac v. Norwood matter, indexed as Civil Action No. 10-4366 (Izac-II).

3. Later same day, i.e., still on August 25, 2010, the Clerk received Petitioner's third § 2241 application and opened the third Izac v. Norwood matter, indexed as Civil Action No. 10-4367 (IzacIII).

4. Twenty days later, i.e., on September 15, 2010, the Clerk received Petitioner's fourth § 2241 application and opened the fourth Izac matter, Izac v. Zickefoose, indexed as Civil Action No. 10-4744 (Izac-IV).

5. The entirety of Petitioner's aforesaid submissions (totaling 177 pages) is presently before this Court.

6. In his Izac-I and Izac-II matters, Petitioner challenges his housing at a facility which has the level of security higher than minimum (or, in alternative or in conjunction, the delay he might be facing in being transferred to a minimum security facility). See Izac-I, Docket Entry No. 1, and Izac-II, Docket Entry No. 1.

7. Petitioner's claims raised in Izac-I and Izac-II cannot be entertained in a habeas matter. The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit explained the distinction between the availability of civil rights relief and the availability of habeas relief as follows:

[W]henever the challenge ultimately attacks the "core of habeas" - the validity of the continued conviction or the fact or length of the sentence - a challenge, however denominated and regardless of the relief sought, must be brought by way of a habeas corpus petition. Conversely, when the challenge is to a condition of confinement such that a finding in plaintiff's favor would not alter his sentence or undo his conviction, an action under § 1983 is appropriate.

Leamer v. Fauver, 288 F.3d 532, 542 (3d Cir. 2002).

Therefore, a prisoner is entitled to a writ of habeas corpus only if he "seek[s] to invalidate the duration of [his] confinement - either directly through an injunction compelling speedier release or indirectly through a judicial determination that necessarily implies the unlawfulness of the [government's] custody." See Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544 U.S. 74, 81 (2005). In contrast, if a judgment in the prisoner's favor would not affect the fact or duration of the prisoner's incarceration, habeas relief is unavailable and a civil complaint is the appropriate form of remedy. See, e.g., Ganim v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, 235 Fed. App'x 882 (3rd Cir. 2007) (district court lacks jurisdiction under § 2241 to entertain prisoner's challenge to being placed in a particular federal prison); Bronson v. Demming, 56 Fed. App'x 551, 553-54 (3rd Cir. 2002) (habeas relief is unavailable to inmate seeking release from disciplinary segregation to general population). Therefore, Petitioner's Izac-I and Izac-II challenges will be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction; such dismissal will be without prejudice to Petitioner's filing of a timely civil complaint raising these challenges. The Court, however, notes that such dismissal shall not be construed as the Court's opinion that Petitioner's claims would be (or would not be) deemed meritorious if raised by means of a civil complaint.

8. Petitioner's claims raised in Izac-III similarly cannot be entertained in a habeas action. In Izac-III, Petitioner asserts that his free exercise rights are being violated because he is being availed to Protestant religious services rather than religious services specifically tailored for Anabaptists, i.e., a Christian denomination to which Petitioner asserts adhesion. See Izac-III, Docket Entry No. 1. Since Petitioner's ability (or inability) to attend Anabaptist services cannot have any impact on either the fact or the duration of his confinement, Petitioner's free exercise claims cannot be raised in a habeas matter. See Ganim, 235 Fed. App'x 882; Bronson, 56 Fed. App'x at 553-54; Leamer, 288 F.3d at 542. Therefore, Petitioner's Izac-III challenges will, too, be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction; and such dismissal, too, will be without prejudice to Petitioner's filing of a timely civil complaint raising these ...


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