United States District Court, N.D. California
KELVIN X. SINGLETON, Petitioner,
SCOTT KERNAN, Respondent.
ORDER OF DISMISSAL
ELIZABETH D. LAPORTE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
a state prisoner proceeding pro se, filed a federal
petition for writ of habeas corpus. Petitioner has paid the
$5.00 filing fee. For the reasons that follow, the court
DISMISSES the petition.
Standard of Review
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).
district court shall “award the writ or issue an order
directing the respondent to show cause why the writ should
not be granted, unless it appears from the application that
the applicant or person detained is not entitled
thereto.” 28 U.S.C. § 2243. Summary dismissal is
appropriate only where the allegations in the petition are
vague or conclusory, palpably incredible, or patently
frivolous or false. See Hendricks v. Vasquez, 908
F.2d 490, 491 (9th Cir. 1990) (quoting Blackledge v.
Allison, 431 U.S. 63, 75-76 (1977)).
petition, Petitioner states that he is a member of the
Plata v. Brown, No. C 01-1351 THE (N.D. Cal.), class
action. He alleges that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals,
on June 6, 2014, affirmed in part and reversed in part his
civil rights case alleging deliberate indifference to his
serious medical needs. See Singleton v. Lopez, No.
12-16036, 577 Fed.Appx. 733 (9th Cir. June 6, 2014). He
argues that despite this favorable ruling from the Ninth
Circuit, he continues to suffer from deliberate indifference
to his serious medical needs and requests immediate
release.Petitioner is subject to mandatory
urinalysis tests and “abusive unclothed body
searches” which began when Petitioner was housed at CSP
- RJ Donovan. In a separate civil rights suit, filed in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of
California, Petitioner alleged that prison officials at CSP -
RJ Donovan conspired against him by lying or tampering with
his urine samples, and did so in retaliation for a complaint
filed against them in state court. In the underlying
petition, Petitioner claims that prison officials at CSP -
Sacramento have continued the mandatory urinalysis tests, and
have a policy of allowing the tests to be conducted by
officers who are not certified to do so, and specifically
alleges that prison staff refuse to use a “low dose
x-ray” on Petitioner which places Petitioner's
mental and physical health in jeopardy.
petition does not challenge either Petitioner's
conviction or the length of his sentence. Thus, success in
this action would not necessarily result in his release or
any change in his sentence. Where, as here, a successful
challenge to a prison condition or to action by an outside
party will not necessarily shorten the prisoner's
sentence, a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
is proper and habeas jurisdiction is absent. See Ramirez
v. Galaza, 334 F.3d 850, 859 (9th Cir. 2003); see
also Badea v. Cox, 931 F.2d 573, 574 (9th Cir. 1991)
(civil rights action is the proper method of challenging
conditions of confinement).
a district court may construe a habeas petition by a prisoner
attacking the conditions of his confinement or some other
condition that he contends violates his constitutional rights
as pleading civil rights claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
see Wilwording v. Swenson, 404 U.S. 249, 251 (1971),
the Court declines to do so here. The difficulty with
construing a habeas petition as a civil rights complaint is
that the two forms used by most prisoners request different
information and much of the information necessary for a civil
rights complaint is not included in the habeas petition filed
here. Examples of the potential problems created by using the
habeas petition form rather than the civil rights complaint
form include the potential omission of intended defendants,
potential failure to link each defendant to the claims, and
potential absence of an adequate prayer for relief.
Additionally, there is doubt whether the prisoner is willing
to pay the civil action filing fee of $400.00 rather than the
$5.00 habeas filing fee to pursue his claims. The habeas
versus civil rights distinction is not just a matter of using
different pleading forms. It is not in the interest of
judicial economy to allow prisoners to file civil rights
actions on habeas forms because virtually every such case,
including this one, will be defective at the outset and
require additional court resources to deal with the problems
created by the different filing fees and the absence of
information on the habeas form.
is advised that his claims should be brought, if at all, in a
federal civil rights action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
Petitioner filed a civil rights complaint, he is advised that
venue generally is proper in a judicial district in which:
(1) any defendant resides, if all defendants are residents of
the state in which the district is located; (2) a substantial
part of the events or omissions giving rise to the Case No.
17-cv-00468 EDL (PR) ORDER OF DISMISSAL claim occurred, or a
substantial part of property that is the subject of the
action is situated; or (3) any defendant is subject to the
court's personal jurisdiction, if there is no district in
which the action may otherwise be brought. 28 U.S.C. §
1391(b). It appears that Petitioner's allegations arose
out of events occurring at CSP-Sacramento, where Petitioner
is currently housed. Sacramento County is within the venue of
the United States District Court for the Eastern District of
foregoing reasons, this petition is DISMISSED without
prejudice. The Clerk shall terminate all ...