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Turner v. D. Ortiz

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

May 11, 2017

NORRIS TURNER, Petitioner,
D. ORTIZ, et al., Respondents.

          Norris Turner, Petitioner Pro Se.


          JEROME B. SIMANDLE Chief U.S. District Judge.


         Norris Turner, a federal prisoner confined at FCI Fort Dix, New Jersey, filed this Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, Docket Entry 1. Based on the affidavit of indigency, the application to proceed in forma pauperis shall be granted. For the reasons expressed below, the petition shall be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.


         In requesting a writ of habeas corpus, Petitioner asks the Court for a “review of the safety, health, sanitation, environment conditions rated capacity space ‘per inmate', & the contaminated inmates [sic] drinking water, ” at Fort Dix. Petition at 1 (emphasis omitted). He alleges former Warden Jordan Hollingsworth and present Warden D. Ortiz “‘are knowingly continuing to' ignore & violate the required minimum 60 sq. ft., of unencumbered space ‘per inmate', in violation of P.S. 1060.11.” Id. ¶ 8 (emphasis omitted).

         Petitioner alleges the conditions of his confinement at Fort Dix violate the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment “because of the imminent danger(s), fire hazard(s), safety concerns(s), sanitation, environment conditions, & each inmates required, & violated 60 sq. ft., & the serious mental, emotional, & physical deterioration, inter alia, that have been unlawfully, & unconstitutional [sic] implemented by the named Respondents . . . .” Id. ¶ 15. “All of the housing units, & several other buildings at [Fort Dix], ‘are' at minimum 50 years old, some with roof leaks, many, if not all have mold covering the restroom area wall(s), ceilings, & shower floors (WHICH ARE PAINTED WHEN ANY OUTSIDERS VISIT [FORT DIX]), shower drains clogged up at times for days . . . of which said leaks are mostlikely [sic] shower water waste, & stool, and/or urine waste . . . .” Id. ¶ 19 (emphasis omitted). He further alleges it “‘is always warm' during the summer weather” and the units are not properly air conditioned. Id. (emphasis omitted). “These facts are besides each inmates, including correction officers ‘being exposed to asbestos' in said housing units, & inhaling jet fuel fumes, inter alia, depending on the wind direction.” Id. (emphasis omitted).

         Petitioner further alleges that “[o]ne of the greatest issues suffered by the inmates at [Fort Dix], ‘is the overcrowding', & the violated 60 sq. ft., of unencumbered space ‘per inmate, inter alia.'” Id. ¶ 25 (emphasis omitted). He generally alleges that the conditions of his and other inmates' confinement violate the Eighth Amendment, and that the wardens have intentionally ignored the situation as they “‘are only interested' in the revenue stream from the overcrowding at [Fort Dix]” and have gone so far as to falsify the “rated capacity forms” sent to the Bureau of Prisons regional director. Id. ¶¶ 20, 22 (emphasis omitted).

         The petition asks the Court to intervene in the housing situation and to direct Fort Dix to test its water supply. Id. ¶ 28. He requests that “until said corrections, health, & safety issues, inter alia, ‘are completely corrected', each inmate shall be entitled to receive three (3) days for every one (1) day served at [Fort Dix], due to the overcrowding occupancy housing unit max, health, & safety issues . . . .” Id. (emphasis omitted).

         Petitioner submitted his petition on December 15, 2016 along with a motion for a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65, docketed as a civil complaint in Civil Action No. 16-9493. The Court wrote to Petitioner asking whether he intended the motion to be filed with his § 2241 or if he intended it to be filed as a separate action. Court's January 5, 2017 Letter, Docket Entry 2. Petitioner responded to the Court and requested that the TRO be filed in his habeas matter. Application to Consolidate, Docket Entry 3.[1]


         Petitioner brings this petition for a writ of habeas corpus as a pro se litigant. 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. Attorney General, 878 F.2d 714, 721-22 (3d Cir. 1989); United States v. Brierley, 414 F.2d 552, 555 (3d Cir. 1969), cert. denied, 399 U.S. 912 (1970).

         Nevertheless, a federal district court must dismiss a habeas corpus petition if it appears from the face of the petition that the petitioner is not entitled to relief. 28 U.S.C. § 2254 Rule 4 (made applicable by Rule 1(b)); see also McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 856 (1994); Siers ...

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