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Myron Atrice Payne v. Derral G. Adams

January 26, 2012

MYRON ATRICE PAYNE, PETITIONER,
v.
DERRAL G. ADAMS, WARDEN, ET AL., RESPONDENTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kendall J. Newman United States Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Petitioner is a state prisoner, proceeding without counsel and in forma pauperis, with a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Pending before the court is respondent's motion to dismiss the petition. Petitioner filed an opposition; respondent did not file a reply. For the following reasons, the court recommends that respondent's motion be granted.

I. Background

Petitioner filed his initial federal petition for a writ of habeas corpus in this court on October 1, 2010. By order filed January 13, 2011, the undersigned dismissed the petition, with leave to file an amended petition for writ of habeas corpus, or a civil rights action. The court noted in pertinent part:

Review of the petition indicates that amendment is necessary. At least some of petitioner's claims appear to challenge the conditions of his confinement, rather than the fact of his conviction or the duration of his confinement. Only the latter matters may be pursued in a petition for writ of habeas corpus. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Federal claims challenging conditions of confinement must be brought in a separate action pursuant to the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1983. . . . If petitioner chooses to file an amended petition for writ of habeas corpus, he must name a single, proper, respondent, clearly specify his alleged grounds for relief, and narrowly and specifically identify the relief he seeks. See Rule 2(c), Rules Governing § 2254 Cases.

(Dkt. No. 6 at 1-4 (fn. omitted).)

In the court's initial order, the undersigned sought to clarify each of petitioner's claims, and to inform petitioner of the considerations for assessing whether his claims were based in habeas corpus or civil rights. The court emphasized that petitioner's charges against myriad prison officials, based the alleged improper conduct of each official, appeared to lie in civil rights. The court noted, however, that it did "not seek to 'make work' for petitioner -- if petitioner chooses to present the same claims in an amended petition for writ of habeas corpus, he may recaption the title page of his current petition as an 'Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus,' and resubmit the petition as an attachment to a newly completed form petition, provided with this order. Petitioner may, alternatively, file a new 'Amended Petition' that addresses the concerns set forth in this order." (Dkt. No. 6 at 4 n.2.)

Thereafter, petitioner filed an "Amended Petition" that duplicated his original petition. The court so noted, when it directed service of the amended petition on respondent. (See Dkt. No. 8 at 1 n.1.) Because each of petitioner's six claims is so disparate, the court addresses them ad seriatim.

II. Legal Standards

In order to state a cognizable claim in a federal habeas corpus action, the petitioner must assert that he is "in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). The "in custody" requirement requires a nexus between the petitioner's habeas claim and the allegedly unlawful nature of his custody. Bailey v. Hill, 599 F.3d 976, 978-80 (9th Cir. 2010). To be cognizable, a habeas claim must challenge the fact or duration of the petitioner's custody. Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 487 (1973). A federal habeas claim must be brought within the one-year statute of limitations set forth in the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act ("AEDPA"). 28 U.S.C. § 2244.

III. Discussion

In his opposition, petitioner asserts that "the demarcation line between civil rights actions and habeas petitions is not always clear." (Dkt. No. 18 at 18.) As a result, opines petitioner, "it is more pertinent that both actions serve to protect basic constitutional rights" and, therefore, it is "futile to contend that the Civil Rights Act of 1871 has less importance in our Constitution[al] scheme than does the Great Writ." (Id. at 18-19). Significantly, the discretion petitioner attributes to the court--for example, to find a patent civil rights claim cognizable in a habeas proceeding because it would "serve to protect basic constitutional rights"--does not exist. The court, like petitioner, is bound by established legal principles.

The court further notes that petitioner is currently incarcerated at California State Prison-Corcoran ("CSP-COR"), his place of incarceration since petitioner filed his initial petition in this action. However, all of petitioner's claims challenge ...


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