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Friedland v. Hollingsworth

United States District Court, Third Circuit

November 18, 2013

ROBERT FRIEDLAND, Petitioner,
v.
JORDAN HOLLINGSWORTH, Respondent.

OPINION

ROBERT B. KUGLER, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Petitioner is a federal prisoner currently incarcerated at F.C.I. Fort Dix, in Fort Dix, New Jersey. He is proceeding pro se with a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241.[1] Petitioner has filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis which will be granted. Petitioner is currently serving a sentence of thirty months imprisonment after a jury in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York found him guilty of forgery of a United States District Court judge's signature, possession of false papers to defraud the United States and wire fraud. In Claim I of his habeas petition, petitioner asserts that he has been denied proper medical care while imprisoned. Furthermore, in Claims II and III, he claims that forged and false evidence was used at his trial to convict him. For the following reasons, Claim I will be dismissed without prejudice. Furthermore, as this Court does not have jurisdiction to consider Claims II and III to the extent that they allege that forged and false evidence was used to convict him, this matter will be transferred to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

II. BACKGROUND

Judgment was entered against petitioner on the charges outlined above on March 19, 2012.[2] Petitioner appealed and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the judgment and conviction. See United States v. Friedland, 526 F.App'x 78 (2d Cir. 2013).

As petitioner's direct appeal was progressing, he filed the instant habeas petition in this Court. In Claim I, petitioner claims that he been denied proper medical care while incarcerated which has caused him pain and suffering. In Claims II and III, petitioner attacks the judgment entered against him in the Southern District of New York. Specifically, petitioner argues in both Claims II and III that forged and false evidence was used to convict him at trial.

III. STANDARD FOR SUA SPONTE DISMISSAL

With respect to screening the instant petition, 28 U.S.C. § 2243 provides in relevant part:

A court, justice or judge entertaining an application for a writ of habeas corpus shall forthwith award the writ or issue an order directing the respondent to show cause why the writ should not be granted, unless it appears from the application that the applicant or person detained is not entitled thereto.

As petitioner is proceeding pro se, his petition is held to less stringent standards than those pleadings drafted by lawyers. See Rainey v. Varner, 603 F.3d 189, 198 (3d Cir. 2010) ("It is the policy of the courts to give a liberal construction to pro se habeas petitions.") (internal quotation marks and citation omitted); United States v. Otero, 502 F.3d 331, 334 (3d Cir. 2007) ("we construe pro se pleadings liberally.") (citing Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972)). Nevertheless, "a district court is authorized to dismiss a [habeas] petition summarily when it plainly appears from the face of the petition and any exhibits annexed to it that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court[.]" Lonchar v. Thomas, 517 U.S. 314, 320 (1996).

IV. DISCUSSION

A. Claim I - Denial of Proper Medical Care

As stated in supra note 1, a prisoner who alleges that "he is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States" can bring a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. See 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3). The general rule permits a prisoner to receive habeas relief where he "seek[s]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 State's custody." See Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544 U.S. 74, 81 (2005). Additionally, a prisoner who is challenging not the validity but the execution of his sentence "must pursue relief in a federal habeas corpus petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241." United States v. Gorham-Bey, 523 F.App'x 168 (3d Cir. 2013) (per curiam) (citing Woodall v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 432 F.3d 235, 241 (3d Cir. 2005); Coady v. Vaughn, 251 F.3d 480, 485 (3d Cir. 2001)).

In Claim I, petitioner is not challenging his federal conviction, the fact or duration of his confinement or the execution of his sentence. Instead, he is asserting that he has been denied proper medical care while incarcerated. This type of claim is one that should be raised in a civil rights complaint pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). The United States Court of Appeals ...


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