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Driver v. Dellostritto

United States District Court, E.D. California

December 23, 2019

BILLY DRIVER, Petitioner,
v.
MICHAEL E. DELLOSTRITTO, Judge, Respondent.

          ORDER DIRECTING CLERK OF COURT TO ASSIGN DISTRICT JUDGE FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION TO SUMMARILY DISMISS PETITION [THIRTY DAY OBJECTION DEADLINE]

          SHEILA K. OBERTO, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Petitioner is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis with a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §2254. He filed the instant petition on December 19, 2019. The petition does not challenge the underlying conviction; it instead presents various claims concerning the conditions of his confinement. Accordingly, the Court will recommend that it be DISMISSED.

         DISCUSSION

         A. Preliminary Review of Petition

         Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases allows a district court to dismiss a petition if it “plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court . . . .” Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases. The Advisory Committee Notes to Rule 8 indicate that the court may dismiss a petition for writ of habeas corpus, either on its own motion under Rule 4, pursuant to the respondent's motion to dismiss, or after an answer to the petition has been filed. Herbst v. Cook, 260 F.3d 1039 (9th Cir. 2001).

         B. Civil Rights Claims

         Petitioner does not challenge his conviction. He instead contends that the State is obstructing him in his attempts to exhaust his administrative appeals. (Doc. 1 at 5.) He claims that he has submitted over one hundred CDCR-602 appeals which have been unlawfully rejected or screened out. (Doc. 1 at 5.) He claims that he is in imminent danger of more physical harm due to the State's rejections of his complaints. (Doc. 1 at 6-7.)

         A habeas corpus petition is the correct method for a prisoner to challenge the “legality or duration” of his confinement. Badea v. Cox, 931 F.2d 573, 574 (9th Cir. 1991) (quoting Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 485 (1973)). In contrast, a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 is the proper method for a prisoner to challenge the conditions of confinement. McCarthy v. Bronson, 500 U.S. 136, 141-42 (1991); Preiser, 411 U.S. at 499. Petitioner's civil rights claims are not cognizable in a federal habeas action and must be dismissed. Petitioner must seek relief for his complaints by way of a civil rights action.

         In Nettles v. Grounds, 830 F.3d 922, 936 (9th Cir. 2016), the Ninth Circuit held that a district court has the discretion to construe a habeas petition as a civil rights action under § 1983. However, recharacterization is appropriate only if it is “amenable to conversion on its face, meaning that it names the correct defendants and seeks the correct relief, ” and only after the petitioner is warned of the consequences of conversion and is provided an opportunity to withdraw or amend the petition. Id. Here, the Court does not find recharacterization to be appropriate. Petitioner does not name the proper defendants and the claims are not amenable to conversion on their face. Accordingly, the Court should not exercise its discretion to recharacterize the action.

         Therefore, the Court will recommend that the action be dismissed and the Clerk of Court be directed to send Petitioner a blank civil rights complaint.

         ORDER

         IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to assign a District Judge to the case.

         RECOMMENDATION

         For the foregoing reasons, the Court HEREBY RECOMMENDS that the habeas corpus petition be DISMISSED and the Clerk of Court be DIRECTED to provide ...


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