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Crooker v. Hollingsworth

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

April 29, 2015

MICHAEL ALAN CROOKER, Petitioner,
v.
JORDAN HOLLINGSWORTH, Respondent.

Michael Alan Crooker, # 03631-158 FCI Fort Dix P.O. Box 2000 Fort Dix, N.J. 08640, Petitioner, pro se.

OPINION

NOEL L. HILLMAN, District Judge.

Petitioner, Michael Alan Crooker, requests a writ for habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 on the basis that he has been, and continues to be, denied certain medical care. He has paid the requisite filing fee. For the reasons expressed below, the Petition will be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

I. BACKGROUND

On July 11, 2006, a jury convicted Petitioner of transporting a firearm after being convicted of a felony under § 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) ("the firearms charge"). Petitioner successfully appealed his conviction, arguing that the jury instructions mischaracterized the law, and a Certificate of Innocence was issued by the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts on November 20, 2010. See United States v. Crooker, 608 F.3d 94, 96 (1st Cir. 2010). However, immediately after his release from prison based on the reversal of his firearms conviction, he was taken into custody by the Bureau of Prisons on the basis of the charges contained in an indictment that had issued almost three years earlier. Specifically, Petitioner was charged with nine criminal counts, including mailing a threatening communication and possession or production of a toxin for use as a weapon ("threat and toxin charges"). In a plea agreement dated March 24, 2011, Petitioner pled guilty to mailing a threatening communication and to possession of a toxin without registration. Pursuant to the plea agreement, Petitioner agreed to dismiss certain civil lawsuits he had filed and his recommended sentence was reduced by the time he spent in federal detention in relation to the firearms conviction. Petitioner is currently serving time on that sentence and his projected release date is August 22, 2017.

On June 18, 2014, Petitioner filed a request for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland (the "Maryland Petition"). Crooker v. Stewart, Civ. No. 14-1972 (D.Md. June 18, 2014). In the Maryland Petition, Petitioner stated that he suffered from end-stage liver disease and esophageal varices and alleged that he had been refused recommended prescriptions and other medication by the staff at FCI Cumberland, the facility in which he was confined at the time.

Because of the serious nature of the allegations raised, the Maryland Court issued an Order to Show Cause as to why injunctive relief should not be granted and ordered an immediate response from respondents. A slew of filings ensued, including a Motion to Dismiss, which was ultimately construed as a Motion for Summary Judgment. On March 13, 2015, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order granting the dispositive motion filed on behalf of respondents, dismissing the petition for habeas relief and denying Petitioner's request for injunctive relief. Memorandum and Order, Crooker v. Stewart, Civ. No. 14-1972 (D.Md. Mar. 13, 2015) ECF No. 22, 23.

On March 9, 2015, prior to the Maryland Court's March 13, 2015 Order, Petitioner was transferred from FCI Cumberland to FCI Fort Dix in New Jersey. Upon his arrival, and prior to learning of the disposition of the Maryland Petition, he filed the request for habeas relief presently before this Court.

In this Petition, he raises essentially the same argument set forth in the Maryland Petition. Petitioner asserts that in October 2013, while confined in FMC Devens, he was taken to the Beth Israel Liver Center in Boston for an expert consultation related to his reinfection with the Hepatitis C virus. Petitioner states that an expert doctor at the Beth Israel Liver Center recommended treatment with the medicines Sofosbuvir and Ribavirin and also recommended 6-month imaging studies, endoscopies every 2-3 years, and a follow-up appointment with a gastroenterologist.

In November 2013, Petitioner was transferred from FCI Devens to FCI Cumberland. Petitioner states that, following his arrival at FCI Cumberland, Sofosbuvir was approved by the FDA but that medical staff at FCI Cumberland refused to provide the drug to Petitioner. Petitioner also alleges that the doctor at FCI Cumberland disregarded all of the expert doctor's recommendations except for the imaging studies every six months.

Petitioner also states that upon his arrival at FCI Fort Dix, he was told that he would not receive the drug Sofosbuvir or the periodic imaging studies that were recommended by the expert doctor at the Beth Israel Liver Center. In his Amended Document, Petitioner alleges his next ultrasound and endoscopy are due April 28, 2015 and May 31, 2015, respectively. (Am. Doc. 2, ECF No. 2).

II. STANDARDS OF REVIEW

United States Code Title 28, Section 2243, provides in relevant part as follows:

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 ...

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