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Daryl Gray v. Elvin Valenzuela

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


February 20, 2013

DARYL GRAY,
PETITIONER,
v.
ELVIN VALENZUELA, ET AL.,
RESPONDENTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: James V. Selna United States District Judge

ORDER DISMISSING HABEAS ACTION WITHOUT PREJUDICE

On January 28, 2013,*fn1 Daryl Gray ("Petitioner"), a California state prisoner proceeding pro se, filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody ("Petition") pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.*fn2

Title 28 U.S.C. § 2254 empowers the Court to "entertain an application for a writ of habeas corpus in behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court . . . on the ground that he is in custody in violation of the laws of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States." See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a).

In the present action, however, Petitioner is not challenging the legality of his conviction or sentence, but instead is challenging the conditions of his confinement. (See Petition at 5-6). The Court is not required to grant the writ nor order a return if "it appears from the application that the applicant or person detained is not entitled thereto." 28 U.S.C. § 2243; see also Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts. The Petition fails to include any cognizable claims for federal habeas relief.

Petitioner alleges two grounds for habeas relief. (See Petition at 5-6). In Ground One, Petitioner claims that he has "been housed over 6-months [sic] in the wrong prison for [his required] level of [medical] care [and that his] food has to be brought to [him because he] cannot go up stairs [sic] . . . ." (Id. at 5). In Ground Two, Petitioner claims that his "health has been compremised [sic] totally & clearly [sic]" and that "this prison is cruel." (Id.). Under the heading marked "Ground Three," Petitioner requests "release to alternative sentencing program or the community." (Id. at 6). Finally, under the heading marked "Ground Four", Petitioner alleges that he is a "[m]entally ill and . . . terminally ill prisoner and need[s] serious medical treatment, [which] the prison system in California can not [sic] provide." (Id.). Thus, the Court concludes that the jurisdictional requisite for a section 2254 habeas petition has not been met. See Badea v. Cox, 931 F.2d 573, 574 (9th Cir. 1991) ("Habeas corpus proceedings are the proper mechanism for a prisoner to challenge the 'legality or duration' or confinement. A civil rights action . . . is the proper method of challenging 'conditions of confinement.'").

The Court has also considered whether to ignore the erroneous labeling of the Petition and construe this pleading as a civil rights complaint. See Hanson v. May, 502 F.2d 728, 729 (9th Cir. 1974) ("Despite the labeling of his complaint [as a habeas petition], [the petitioner] was, therefore, entitled to have his action treated as a claim for relief under the Civil Rights Act."); Wilwording v. Swenson, 404 U.S. 249, 251, 92 S. Ct. 407, 30 L. Ed. 2d 418 (1971) ("Petitioners were therefore entitled to have their actions treated as claims for relief under the Civil Rights Acts . . . ."). However, Petitioner's conclusory allegations are not sufficient to state a claim for violation of his federal civil rights. Moreover, Petitioner failed to pay the filing fee required to initiate a civil rights action and is ineligible for in forma pauperis status because he has previously had at least three cases dismissed as frivolous, malicious, or for failure to state a claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).*fn3 Thus, granting leave to amend the current Petition would be futile.

Consistent with the foregoing, IT IS ORDERED that Judgment be entered dismissing this action without prejudice. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk of Court serve a copy of this Order and the Judgment on Petitioner at his current address of record.

LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY.

PRESENTED BY:

SUZANNE H. SEGAL UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE


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