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Zuniga-Griffin v. State

United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma

March 9, 2017

Holly Zuniga-Griffin, as mother of OOY, Plaintiff,
v.
State of Oklahoma, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Ronald A. White United States District Judge

         Before the court is the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Under 28 USC § 2241. Plaintiff, OOY, a minor child, requests the “immediate return to the care and custody of his biological mother, ” and the dismissal of an alleged deprived child petition filed in Muskogee County District Court [Docket No. 2, Page 8]. The petition is signed by Plaintiff's biological mother, Holly Zuniga-Griffin.

         The court construes Plaintiff's allegations liberally as Plaintiff is pro se. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972). Additionally, the court notes that the biological mother cannot represent OOY in this action. Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 17(c), “a minor child cannot bring suit through a parent acting as next friend if the parent is not represented by an attorney.” Meeker v. Kercher, 782 F.2d 153, 154 (10th Cir. 1986).

         Plaintiff's petition is a list of accusations against the Defendant. Plaintiff's arguments involve the “wrongful detainment” of OOY, the minor child who is currently in temporary custody of DHS. Plaintiff's arguments are Acompletely lacking in legal merit and patently frivolous.” Lonsdale v. United States, 919 F.2d 1440, 1448 (10th Cir. 1990).

         Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Under 28 U.S.C. § 2241

          Plaintiff has filed the claims as a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. This statute generally states that such actions pertain to a “prisoner” who is in custody under the authority of the United States, or is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States. The United States Supreme Court previously decided the question of whether federal habeas corpus jurisdiction may be invoked to challenge a state taking custody of minor children:

Although a federal habeas corpus statute has existed ever since 1867, federal habeas has never been available to challenge parental rights or child custody. Indeed, in two cases, the Court refused to allow the writ in such instances. Matters v. Ryan, 249 U.S. 375, 39 S.Ct. 315, 63 L.Ed. 654 (1919); In re Burrus, 136 U.S. 586, 10 S.Ct. 850, 34 L.Ed. 1500 (1890). These decisions rest on the absence of a federal question, but the opinions suggest that federal habeas corpus is not available to challenge child custody. Moreover, federal courts consistently have shown special solicitude for state interests “in the field of family and family-property arrangements.” United States v. Yazell, 382 U.S. 341, 352, 86 S.Ct. 500, 507, 16 L.Ed.2d 404 (1966). Under these circumstances, extending the federal writ to challenges to state child-custody decisions-challenges based on alleged constitutional defects collateral to the actual custody decision-would be an unprecedented expansion of the jurisdiction of the lower federal courts.

Lehman v. Lycoming Cty. Children's Servs. Agency, 458 U.S. 502, 511-12, 102 S.Ct. 3231, 3237-38, 73 L.Ed.2d 928 (1982). See also, Anderson v. State of Colorado, 793 F.2d 262, 263 (10th Cir. 1986) (“Mr. Anderson may not use federal habeas corpus as a vehicle to undo the custody decision of the Colorado court.”)

         28 U.S.C. § 1915

         Section 1915 of the United States Code, Title 28, states as follows:

(2) Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that-
(A) the allegation of poverty is untrue; or (B) the action or appeal-
(i) is frivolous or malicious;
(ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be ...

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