The opinion of the court was delivered by: Cooper, District Judge
Petitioner, Lawrence Verline Wilder, Sr., petitions for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, in which he appears to be challenging a New Jersey state court conviction. For the reasons discussed below, Petitioner will be granted 30 days to submit an amended petition, as the petition does not comply with the Section 2254 Habeas Rules. Petitioner must also show that he meets the "in custody" requirement of 28 U.S.C. § 2254, as on the face of the petition it appears that he does not.
A pro se pleading is held to less stringent standards than more formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972).
A pro se habeas petition and any supporting submissions must be construed liberally and with a measure of tolerance. See Royce v. Hahn, 151 F.3d 116, 118 (3d Cir. 1998); Lewis v. Att'y Gen., 878 F.2d 714, 721-22 (3d Cir. 1989).
A. Requirements for 28 U.S.C. § 2254 Petitions
Rule 2(c) of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Court requires that the petition: "(1) specify all the grounds for relief available to the petitioner; (2) state the facts supporting each ground; (3) state the relief requested". Further, Rule 2(d) requires that the petition "substantially follow either the form appended to [the Rules] or a form prescribed by a local district court rule."
This petition does not meet these requirements. It is not clear to the Court the grounds for relief available to Petitioner; the facts supporting the grounds; or the relief requested. Petitioner will be granted 30 days to submit an amended petition that complies with Rule 2 of the § 2254 Habeas Rules.
B. "In Custody" Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254
It appears from the petition that Petitioner is not incarcerated and resides in Maryland. As such, it appears that Petitioner may not meet the "in custody" requirement of 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Section 2254 provides:
(a) 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)(emphasis added). While the "in custody" requirement is liberally construed for purposes of habeas corpus, a petitioner must be "in custody" under the conviction being attacked when the petition is filed, in order for this Court to ...