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Sanders v. Ponce

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 13, 2016

CURTIS DANE SANDERS, Petitioner,
v.
FELICIA PONCE, Respondent.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

          CAROLYN K. DELANEY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Petitioner, a federal prisoner proceeding pro se, has filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. The only remaining claim is that the classification score assigned to petitioner under Federal Bureau of Prisons Program Statement 5100.8 is too low. A classification score, in part, determines where federal prisoners such as petitioner will be housed. A higher score would allow petitioner to be housed at a lower security level prison. Respondent has filed a motion to dismiss arguing, among other things, that the court does not have jurisdiction to hear petitioner's claim. Petitioner has filed an opposition to the motion to dismiss.

         "According to traditional interpretation, the writ of habeas corpus is limited to attacks upon the legality or duration of confinement." Crawford v. Bell, 599 F.2d 890, 891 (9th Cir. 1979) citing Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 484-86 (1973). In this instance, petitioner fails to allege anything suggesting that a favorable decision on his habeas petition will result in, at minimum, a shorter sentence. Therefore, petitioner's claim is not properly brought in a habeas action.

         As the court noted in an order dated September 2, 2015, Hernandez v. Campbell, 204 F.3d 861, 864 (9th Cir. 2000) appears to lend support to the proposition that a petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 need not necessarily be directed at the fact or duration of confinement:

"Generally, motions to contest the legality of a sentence must be filed under [28 U.S.C.] § 2255 in the sentencing court, while petitions that challenge the manner, location, or conditions of a sentence's execution must be brought pursuant to § 2241 in the custodial court. See Doganiere v. United States, 914 F.2d 165, 169-70 (9th Cir. 1990); Brown v. United States, 610 F.2d 672, 677 (9th Cir. 1980).

         In Hernandez, the petitioner sought resentencing. Hernandez, 204 F.3d at 864. Therefore, any statement made by the court in that case regarding habeas jurisdiction for claims which do not concern the fact or duration of confinement is dicta. Furthermore, Doganiere and Brown both concern challenges to parole proceedings and there is no language in either suggesting habeas jurisdiction should lie for claims where the fact or duration of confinement is not challenged. Finally, petitioner fails to point to a federal case where a prisoner was permitted to challenge his Federal Bureau of Prisons Program Statement 5100.8 classification score in order to obtain a transfer to a lower security prison through a petition for writ of habeas corpus.

         The court notes that in his opposition to respondent's motion to dismiss, petitioner seemingly withdraws any request that he be transferred to a lower security prison. Instead, petitioner asks that "his points be corrected in accordance with the law . . ." ECF No. 24 at 7. Whether it is a transfer that petitioner ultimately seeks, or just a modification of his classification score, petitioner fails to establish any injury which is actionable in a habeas proceeding.

         Finally, as respondent points out, the Supreme Court has specifically found that Congress has given federal prison officials full discretion with respect to classification of prisoners and prisoners have no statutory or Constitutional entitlement to invoke the protections of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment with respect to classification decisions. Moody v. Dagget, 429 U.S. 78, 88 n.9 (1976). Therefore, even if the court had jurisdiction to consider petitioner's claim regarding his classification score, petitioner has no basis for relief.

         For all the foregoing reasons, IT IS HEREBY RECOMMENDED that:

1. Respondent's motion to dismiss (ECF No. 23) be granted;
2. Petitioner's petition for writ of habeas corpus brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 be dismissed; and
3. This case be closed.

         These findings and recommendations are submitted to the United States District Judge assigned to the case, pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(l). Within fourteen days after being served with these findings and recommendations, any party may file written objections with the court and serve a copy on all parties. Such a document should be captioned "Objections to Magistrate Judge's Findings and Recommendations." In his objections petitioner may address whether a certificate of appealability should issue in the event he files an appeal of the judgment in this case. See 28 U.S.C. ยง 2253. Any response to the objections shall be served and filed within fourteen days after service of the objections. The ...


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