United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
J. QUIST UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
instant case purports to be a habeas corpus action brought by
a state prisoner pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Promptly
after the filing of a petition for habeas corpus, the Court
must undertake a preliminary review of the petition to
determine whether “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.” Rule 4, Rules Governing § 2254 Cases;
see 28 U.S.C. § 2243. If so, the petition must
be summarily dismissed. Rule 4; see Allen v. Perini,
424 F.2d 134, 141 (6th Cir. 1970) (district court has the
duty to “screen out” petitions that lack merit on
their face). A dismissal under Rule 4 includes those
petitions which raise legally frivolous claims, as well as
those containing factual allegations that are palpably
incredible or false. Carson v. Burke, 178 F.3d 434,
436-37 (6th Cir. 1999). After undertaking the review required
by Rule 4, the Court concludes that the petition must be
dismissed because it fails to raise a cognizable habeas
Kevin Dwayne Theriot, presently is incarcerated with the
Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Baraga
Maximum Correctional Facility (AMF). Petitioner is serving
two terms of life imprisonment, together with a consecutive
two-year term, imposed after Petitioner was convicted by a
Wayne County jury of two counts of first-degree murder, Mich.
Comp. Laws § 750.316a, and possession of a firearm
during the commission of a felony, Mich. Comp. Laws §
habeas petition, however, Petitioner does not challenge
either his convictions or his sentences. Instead, he
complains that he was wrongfully placed in segregation on
April 29, 2016, on false allegations of assaulting staff.
Petitioner's handwriting is only marginally legible. It
appears, however, that Plaintiff also claims that he was
sexually harassed on November 21, 2016, and then threatened
by AMF officers. He contends that he fears for his safety,
and his attempts to obtain administrative relief have failed.
Plaintiff also complains that he has trouble breathing and
has blood in his stools, and he apparently has not been seen
in health care.
relief, Plaintiff seeks release from segregation and the
expungement of his misconduct convictions.
instant petition is subject to summary dismissal because
Petitioner is challenging the conditions of his confinement.
Where a prisoner is challenging the very fact or duration of
his physical imprisonment and the relief that he seeks is a
determination that he is entitled to immediate release or a
speedier release from that imprisonment, his sole federal
remedy is a petition for writ of habeas corpus. Preiser
v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 500 (1973). However, habeas
corpus is not available to prisoners who are complaining only
of the conditions of their confinement or mistreatment during
their legal incarceration. See Martin v. Overton,
391 F.3d 710, 714 (6th Cir. 2004); Lutz v.
Hemingway, 476 F.Supp.2d 715, 718 (E.D. Mich. 2007).
Complaints like those raised by Petitioner, which involve
conditions of confinement, “do not relate to the
legality of the petitioner's confinement, nor do they
relate to the legal sufficiency of the criminal court
proceedings which resulted in the incarceration of the
petitioner.” Id. (quoting Maddux v.
Rose, 483 F.Supp. 661, 672 (E.D. Tenn. 1980)).
alleges, however, that his placement in segregation was
improper and the major misconduct charges on which he was
convicted were “false.” He therefore appears to
suggest that his action is cognizable on habeas review
because his major misconduct conviction resulted in his loss
of disciplinary credits and therefore affected the duration
of his sentence. However, the Sixth Circuit has examined
Michigan statutory law, as it relates to the creation and
forfeiture of disciplinary credits for prisoners convicted of
crimes occurring after April 1, 1987. In Thomas v.
Eby, 481 F.3d 434 (6th Cir. 2007), the court determined
that loss of disciplinary credits does not necessarily affect
the duration of a prisoner's sentence. As a result,
Petitioner's claim does not sound in habeas.
inmate like Petitioner may, however, bring claims that
challenge the conditions of confinement under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Id.; see also Austin v. Bell,
927 F.Supp. 1058, 1066 (M.D. Tenn. 1996). Because Petitioner
challenges only the conditions of his confinement, his claims
“fall outside of the cognizable core of habeas corpus
relief.” See Hodges v. Bell, 170 F. App'x
389, 393 (6th Cir. 2006).
pro se litigants are treated to less stringent pleading
formalities, courts still require such litigants to meet
basic pleading standards. Wells v. Brown, 891 F.2d
591, 594 (6th Cir.1989). “Arguably, hanging the legal
hat on the correct peg is such a standard, and
‘[l]iberal construction does not require a court to
conjure allegations on a litigant's behalf.'”
Martin, 391 F.3d at 714 (quoting Erwin v.
Edwards, 22 F. App'x 579, 580 (6th Cir. 2001)
(dismissing a § 1983 suit brought as a § 2254
petition)). The Sixth Circuit has held that where, as here,
the claims about the conditions of confinement are not
cognizable in an action under § 2254, the district court
must dismiss the habeas action without prejudice to allow the
petitioner to raise his potential civil rights claims
properly in a § 1983 action. Martin, 391 F.3d
light of the foregoing, the Court will summarily dismiss
Petitioner's application pursuant to Rule 4 because it
fails to raise a cognizable habeas claim.