United States District Court, N.D. California
September 27, 2005.
RAMON MURILLO, et al., Petitioners,
EDWARD CADEN, Respondent.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: MAXINE CHESNEY, District Judge
ORDER OF DISMISSAL; DENYING LEAVE TO AMEND; GRANTING LEAVE TO
PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS
Ramon Murillos ("Murillos"), currently incarcerated at Salinas
Valley State Prison ("SVSP"), and proceeding pro se, filed the
above-titled petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2254, and subsequently filed a request to amend the
petition. Both the original petition and the proposed amended
petition state the action is filed on behalf of Murillo "and on
behalf of other inmates."
This Court may entertain a petition for a writ of habeas corpus
"in behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a
State court only on the ground that he is in custody in violation
of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States."
28 U.S.C. § 2254(a); Rose v. Hodges, 423 U.S. 19, 21 (1975).
In both the original and amended petitions, Murillo alleges
that conditions of confinement at SVSP are in violation of the constitutional rights
of himself and other inmates. Specifically, Murillo alleges that
prison officials are depriving him and other SVSP inmates of
sufficient recreational time outside. The amended petition adds
allegations that SVSP officials are not providing inmates with
sufficient access to educational and vocational activities. Such
claims may not proceed in this action, for two reasons.
First, the preferred practice in this Circuit is that
challenges to conditions of confinement be brought in a civil
rights complaint, not in a habeas petition. See Badea v. Cox,
931 F.2d 573, 574 (9th Cir. 1991) (holding civil rights action is
proper method of challenging conditions of confinement);
Crawford v. Bell, 599 F.2d 890, 891-92 & n. 1 (9th Cir. 1979)
(affirming dismissal of habeas petition on basis that challenges
to terms and conditions of confinement must be brought in civil
rights complaint). Consequently, Murillo may bring his claims in
a civil rights complaint, but not in a habeas petition. Cf.
Wilwording v. Swenson, 404 U.S. 249, 251 (1971) (finding
challenge to constitutionality of conditions of confinement more
properly brought as civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983).
Second, pro se prisoner litigants are not appropriate class
representatives as they are not able to "`fairly and adequately
protect the interests of the class.'" See Oxendine v.
Williams, 509 F.2d 1405, 1407 (4th Cir. 1975) (quoting
Fed.R.Civ.P. 23); see also Russell v. United States, 308 F.2d 78, 79
(9th Cir. 1962) ("[A] litigant appearing in propria persona has
no authority to represent anyone other than himself."). As
Murillo is proceeding pro se, he cannot maintain an action on
behalf of other prisoners, even if similarly situated.*fn1
In light of the foregoing, the above-titled petition for a writ
of habeas corpus is hereby DISMISSED, without prejudice to
Murillo's raising his claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in a civil
rights action and provided he files such action only on behalf of
himself. The request to file an amended petition is DENIED, and
the application for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is GRANTED.
This order terminates Docket Nos. 2, 5 and 6.
The Clerk shall close the file.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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