United States District Court, D. New Jersey
VINCENT P. ALEXIS, Petitioner,
DAVID ORTIZ, Respondent.
B. KUGLER, United States District Judge.
Vincent P. Alexis (“Petitioner”), an inmate
incarcerated at FCI Fort Dix, filed a Petition for Writ of
Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (hereinafter
referred to as “Petition”), purporting to
challenge aspects of his incarceration and seeking
compassionate release. (ECF No. 1). 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 without prejudice to any right Petitioner
may have to bring a civil rights action, declaratory judgment
action, motion to amend, or a motion to reduce sentence, in
an appropriate court.
Court will construe the allegations in the Petition as true
for the purpose of this Opinion. As Petitioner is intimately
familiar with the facts of his case, and because the Court
has set forth the background of this case in an earlier
Opinion in one of Petitioner's other cases, the Court
will only set forth the background necessary to address the
instant Petition. (Civ. No. 18-2099, ECF No. 5).
case arises from Petitioner's medical issues and
treatment thereof while serving his sentence at FCI Fort-Dix.
As discussed more thoroughly in the Court's earlier
Opinion, Petitioner became ill with a septic sinus infection
in 2014 and had “flare-ups” of his chronic Lyme
disease in 2015. Id. Petitioner, who possesses a
doctorate in veterinary medicine, was able to diagnose
himself and request the proper treatment. Despite those
requests, prison staff refused to provide proper treatment,
delayed necessary medical treatment, prevented him from
receiving medical treatment, or some combination of the
three, which required him to undergo a number of surgical
procedures. As a result of those failures and complications
resulting therefrom, Petitioner experienced and continues to
experience, substantial pain and suffering, as well as
filed a civil complaint on February 14, 2018, and this Court
dismissed the complaint as time-barred but provided
Petitioner with leave to file a motion to amend the
complaint. (Civ. No. 18-2099, ECF Nos. 5, 6). That particular
civil action is still pending in this Court.
Petitioner filed the instant Petition under 28 U.S.C. §
2241, seeking specific medical examinations and treatment
related to his medical issues, as well as an order for
compassionate release. (ECF No. 1, at 8).
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 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) (citation omitted). “[U]nless the claim would
fall within the ‘core of habeas' and require sooner
release if resolved in the plaintiff's 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 civil rights claims related to his medical
care 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's challenges to his medical care or to the
retaliations for complaining about his medical care, however,
would not result in a speedier release, and thus do not sound
in habeas corpus. E.g., Bonadonna v. United States,
446 Fed.Appx. 407, 409 (3d Cir. 2011); Cardenas v.
Edwards, No. 17-13803, 2018 WL 2175776, at *2 (D.N.J.
May 10, 2018).
differently, because a finding in Petitioner's favor on
these claims, such as ordering his requested medical
treatment or ordering Respondent to comply with certain
medical recommendations “would not alter [the length
of] his sentence or undo his conviction, ” he cannot
proceed on this claim by habeas petition. Leamer,
288 F.3d at 542; see, e.g., Levi v. Ebbert,
353 Fed.Appx. 681, 681 (3d Cir. 2009). Instead, Petitioner
may only bring such claims via a new civil complaint or
declaratory judgment action, or through a motion to amend in
one of his related outstanding cases. See Bonadonna,
446 Fed.Appx. at 409. Accordingly, the Court will
denyPetitioner's civil rights claims
Petitioner contends that Respondent's refusal to move for
compassionate release under the First Step Act of 2018, P.L.
115-391, § 603(b)(1), “requires” habeas
intervention because the “refusal directly effects
[sic] Alexis's detention adversely.” (ECF No. 1-2,
at 2). Under the First Step Act which modified 18 U.S.C.
§ 3582(c)(1)(A), a federal prisoner may now “file
a motion for compassionate release after exhausting all
administrative appeals of a refusal by the [Bureau of Prisons
(“BOP”)] to bring such a motion on the
prisoner's behalf.” E.g., Deffenbaugh
v. Sullivan, No. 19-2049, 2019 WL 1779573, at *1 (E.D.
N.C. Apr. 23, 2019).
Petitioner concedes that he has failed to exhaust his
administrative appeals on this claim, “because the
administrative remedy process was completed before [his]
request for Compassionate Release.” (ECF No. 1, at
7-8). In essence, Petitioner contends that the Court should
excuse his failure to exhaust because he had already
completed the administrative remedy process on his ...