United States District Court, E.D. California
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION
M. KELLISON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
a pretrial detainee proceeding pro se, brings this petition
for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of his cellmate, Marco
Barrera, also a pretrial detainee.
of the Federal Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases provides
for summary dismissal of a habeas petition “[i]f it
plainly appears from the face of the petition and any
exhibits annexed to it that the petitioner is not entitled to
relief in the district court.” In the instant case, it
is plain that petitioner is not entitled to federal habeas
there are several defects in the petition as filed. First,
petitioner does not have standing to bring this action on
behalf of another inmate. Assuming petitioner had intended to
proceed on a “next friend” status, petitioner
does not meet the prerequisites for “next friend”
standing. There are two prerequisites to “next
First, a next friend must provide an adequate explanation -
such as inaccessibility, mental incompetence, or other
disability - why the real party in interest cannot appear on
his own behalf to prosecute the action. Second, the next
friend must be truly dedicated to the best interest of the
person on whose behalf he seeks to litigate and it has been
further suggested that a next friend must have some
significant relationship with the real party in interest. The
burden is on the next friend clearly to establish the
propriety of his status and thereby justify the jurisdiction
of this court.
Whitmore v. Arkansas, 495 U.S. 149, 163-64 (1990)
(citations omitted). Here, petitioner fails to provide an
adequate explanation as to why Mr. Barrera is incapable of
representing himself. Petitioner indicates Mr. Barrera is
suffering from medical problems, but there is nothing in the
petition to indicate Mr. Barrera has mental disabilities or
is otherwise unable to appear on his own behalf. In addition,
there is nothing in the petition to suggest there is any
significant relationship between petitioner and Mr. Barrera,
nor does petitioner explain his interest in this action.
Therefore, even if petitioner was attempting to proceed as a
“next friend, ” he has not met the prerequisits
and therefore has no standing to proceed in this action.
even if petitioner had standing for this action, it is clear
from the face of the petition that neither petitioner nor Mr.
Barrera are entitled to federal habeas relief. When a state
prisoner challenges the legality of his custody - either the
fact of confinement or the duration of confinement - and the
relief he seeks is a determination that he is entitled to an
earlier or immediate release, such a challenge is cognizable
in a petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. See Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475,
500 (1973); see also Neal v. Shimoda, 131
F.3d 818, 824 (9th Cir. 1997); Trimble v. City of Santa
Rosa, 49 F.3d 583, 586 (9th Cir. 1995) (per curiam).
Where a prisoner challenges the conditions of confinement, as
opposed to the fact or duration of confinement, his remedy
lies in a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
See Rizzo v. Dawson, 778 F.2d 527, 531-32 (9th Cir.
1985); see also Skinner v. Switzer, 131 S.Ct. 1289,
1298-99 n.13 (2011) (stating that “when a
prisoner's claim would not ‘necessarily spell
speedier release, ' that claim does not lie at ‘the
core of habeas corpus' and may be brought, if at all,
under § 1983"). Any claim that does not necessarily
shorten an inmate's incarceration, if successful, falls
outside the scope of habeas jurisdiction. See Blair v.
Martel, 645 F.3d 1151, 1157-58 (9th Cir. 2011); see
also Wilkerson v. Wheeler, 772 F.3d 834 (9th Cir. 2014)
(discussing loss of good-time credits); Nettles v.
Grounds, 830 F.3d 922, 934-35 (9th Cir. 2016)
(discussing the impact of a prison disciplinary violations in
determining suitability for parole). Thus, 28 U.S.C. §
2254 cannot be used to challenge the conditions of
confinement, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 cannot be used to
challenge the fact or duration of confinement.
the issue raised in the petition appears to be the medical
treatment Mr. Barrera needs but is not receiving. The claim,
therefore, is a challenge to the conditions of confinement,
and would necessarily be raised, if at all, in an action
brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. There may be times
where it is possible to construe a petition for habeas corpus
to plead a cause of action under § 1983, but this is not
the case. See Nettles, 830 F.3d at 936. Given the
issue of standing discussed above, the respondents named, and
the claims raised, and the different exhaustion requirements
under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), the
undersigned does not find this case amenable to such
on the foregoing, the undersigned recommends that
petitioner's petition for a writ of habeas corpus (Doc.
1) be summarily dismissed.
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)(1). Within 14 days
after being served with these findings and recommendations,
any party may file written objections with the court.
Responses to objections shall be filed within 14 days after
service of objections. Failure to file objections ...