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McAdoo v. Parish

United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division

July 27, 2018

SILAS T. MCADOO, Petitioner,
v.
LES PARISH, Respondent.

          OPINION

          JANET T. NEFF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This purports to be a habeas corpus action brought by a state prisoner.[1] 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 the claims raised are not reviewable in a habeas corpus proceeding.

         Discussion

         I. Factual allegations

         Petitioner Silas T. McAdoo is incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections at the Oaks Correctional Facility (ECF) in Manistee, Manistee County, Michigan. Petitioner pleaded guilty in the Wayne County Circuit Court to two counts of assault with intent to commit murder, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.83, and one count of second-degree murder, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.317. On March 24, 1995, the court sentenced Petitioner to three terms of life imprisonment with the possibility of parole.

         In his purported habeas corpus petition, however, Petitioner does not challenge his incarceration. Instead, he complains about actions taken by the City of Ludington and the Michigan Tax Tribunal in denying Petitioner's wife's request to receive a disabled-veteran tax exemption on their home address after Petitioner was incarcerated. Petitioner alleges that the City of Ludington Board of Review denied the application on December 14, 2016, on the grounds that it did not believe that the residence was the homestead of a qualified veteran and did not believe that the qualified veteran had ever established residency at the address. (ECF No. 1-4, PageID.26-29.) The board based its determination on the following:

Taxpayer is a veteran and meets the qualifications for a veteran and has a homestead. The issue is that the spouse got the house . . . in 1999 and the taxpayer was sentenced for life in prison in 1995 and he has never lived in the house. The assessor is advising the Board of Review to deny the appeal and then recommend the spouse to appeal this to the State Tax Tribunal. There is really no evidence to deny this appeal; however, with the evidence that has come to light and the fact that there has been no situation like this in the past, the assessor does not think this should be approved. It the State Tax Tribunal rules on this on the appeal this will then set precedence for future appeals.

         (Bd. of Review Tax Appeal Minutes, ECF No. 1-4, PageID.27.)

         Petitioner alleges that he sent letters to the Michigan Tax Tribunal, together with copies of the deeds and marriage license. According to Petitioner's statement in support of the case, the tax tribunal sent a notice of no action to Petitioner and his wife on March 27, 2017, and the tribunal entered an order dismissing the matter on March 27, 2017. (Statement in Supp. of Case, ECF No. 1-1, PageID.14.)

         Petitioner filed an appeal from the tax tribunal's dismissal in the Michigan Court of Appeals. The court of appeals dismissed the appeal on June 8, 2017, for lack of jurisdiction, as the appeal was filed more than 21 days after the March 27, 2017 order, but notified Petitioner of his ability to file a delayed application for leave to appeal. (6/8/2017 Mich. Ct. App. Order, ECF No. 1-4, PageID.35.) Petitioner then filed a delayed application for leave to appeal, which the court of appeals denied for lack of merit on September 27, 2017. (9/27/2017 Mich. Ct. App. Order, ECF No. 1-4, PageID.44.) Petitioner sought leave to appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court, which denied leave to appeal on May 1, 2018. (5/1/2018 Mich. Order, ECF No. 1-4, PageID.53.)

         Petitioner now brings a habeas corpus action, asserting that he has been denied due process and his rights under Mich. Comp. Laws § 211.7b. He also asserts that city and state officials have conspired to deny him his civil rights, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 241. Finally, he contends that he was denied his rights under the First Amendment because, following his transfer to the Muskegon Correctional Facility on April 26, 2018, he was not provided his legal property until May 7, 2018, and he was not given adequate access to the law library.

         II. Analysis

         The instant petition is subject to summary dismissal because Petitioner is challenging his entitlement to state property tax relief, not 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 of the conditions of their confinement, mistreatment during their legal incarceration or any other matter. 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 the ones raised by Petitioner, “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)). An inmate like Petitioner arguably may bring constitutional challenges concerning his property taxes in a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, but such claims “fall outside of the cognizable core of habeas corpus relief.” See Hodges v. Bell, 170 Fed.Appx. 389, 393 (6th Cir. 2006).

         Petitioner has filed a motion to clarify his petition, in which he acknowledges that he does not seek traditional habeas relief in the form of release from custody. Instead, he argues that he is seeking relief from an order of a state agency that allegedly violated his rights under the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments and 18 U.S.C. §§ ...


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