United States District Court, D. New Jersey
B. KUGLER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Maurice Richardson (“Petitioner”), an inmate
incarcerated at FCI Fort Dix, filed a Petition for Writ of
Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, purporting
to challenge the results of a disciplinary hearing.
Petitioner has also filed a motion for a preliminary
injunction, seeking to enjoin Respondents from taking certain
actions related to that hearing (ECF No. 2). The Court has
examined the Petition in accordance with Rule 4 of the Rules
Governing Section 2254 Cases, applicable to § 2241 cases
through Rule 1(b). For the following reasons, the Court will
deny the Petition and motion for preliminary injunction
without prejudice to any right Petitioner may have to bring a
declaratory judgment or other civil action in an appropriate
Court will construe the allegations in the Petition as true
for the purpose of this Opinion. This case arises from an
incident on October 4, 2017, in which a corrections officer
conducted a search of Petitioner's room and person. Upon
completing the search, the officer found various medical
supplies in Petitioner's locker.
nearly five years prior, Petitioner worked as an orderly at
the Prison's medical services department. Petitioner
explained that he had the supplies because the medical staff
provided him with excess supplies, so that he could respond
more efficiently to biohazard cleanup requests. Nevertheless,
the officer issued an incident report and charged Petitioner
with possession of items that could be used as a weapon and
possession “of anything not authorized for retention or
receipt by the inmate.” (ECF No. 1, at 6).
October 16, 2017, Petitioner appeared before a disciplinary
hearing officer (“DHO”), and after reviewing
Petitioner's testimony and the evidence, the DHO
dismissed all charges related to the October 4, 2017,
incident report. (Id.).
days later, Petitioner learned that the health services
administrator, Respondent Cassano, accused Petitioner of
stealing the medical supplies. Officials then sanctioned
Petitioner for stealing, “even though all charges
related to the incident report on 10/4/2017 were
dismissed” and even though Petitioner never received
notice or a hearing as to that accusation. (Id. at
7). As a sanction, the officials terminated Petitioner's
employment as an orderly. Petitioner does not allege that he
received any other sanction.
September 17, 2018, Petitioner filed the instant Petition
requesting that the Court order a hearing on the stealing
charge, the reversal of “any sanctions imposed, ”
the expungement of any related records, and award him lost
wages. (Id. at 12).
on October 4, 2018, Petitioner filed a motion for a
preliminary injunction, seeking to enjoin Respondents from
initiating other unconstitutional disciplinary actions,
committing further acts of assault, battery, intimidation,
and harassment, or otherwise retaliate against Petitioner for
engaging in the legal process. (ECF No. 2, at 1).
district courts have a pre-service duty under Rule 4 of the
Rules Governing § 2254 Cases in the United States
District Courts, which is applicable to § 2241 petitions
pursuant to Rule 1(b), to screen and summarily dismiss a
habeas petition prior to any answer or other pleading by the
state when the petition “appears legally insufficient
on its face.” McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S.
849, 856 (1994); see also United States v. Thomas,
221 F.3d 430, 437 (3d Cir. 2000) (explaining that courts may
dismiss petitions where “none of the grounds alleged in
the petition would entitle [the petitioner] to relief).
to the validity of any confinement or to particulars
affecting its duration are the province of habeas corpus;
requests for relief turning on circumstances of confinement
may be presented in a § 1983 [or Bivens]
action.” Muhammad v. Close, 540 U.S. 749, 750
(2004) (internal citation omitted). “[U]nless the claim
would fall within the ‘core of habeas' and require
sooner release if resolved in the plaintiffs favor, a prison
confinement action . . . is properly brought under §
1983” or a Bivens action. Leamer v.
Fauver, 288 F.3d 532, 542 (3d Cir. 2002).
those principles in mind, the Court finds that
Petitioner's claims do not sound in habeas. A petition
for writ of habeas corpus seeks to challenge the fact or
length of confinement. Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411
U.S. 475, 491 (1973). Petitioner, however, does not attack
the duration of his incarceration, nor does he seek release
Petitioner challenges Respondents' decision to terminate
his employment as an orderly with the prison's medical
services department, i.e., a condition of his
confinement, without due process. More specifically, he
alleges that he was terminated without a disciplinary
hearing, did not receive any notice or an opportunity to
contest the charge of stealing, and ...