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Hayes v. Bear

United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma

March 2, 2018

LEROY HAYES, SR., Petitioner,



         Petitioner, a state prisoner appearing pro se, brings this action seeking habeas relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. See Pet. [Doc. No. 1]. United States District Judge Timothy D. DeGiusti has referred the matter for initial proceedings consistent with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and (C). In accordance with Rule 4, Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts, the Petition has been promptly examined, and for the reasons set forth below, it is recommended that the Petition be summarily dismissed.

         I. Factual Background and Claims

         Petitioner informs the Court that he is confined at the Joseph Harp Correctional Center but he fails to identify anything else about his sentence(s). That is, the Court does not know when or where Petitioner was sentenced, or for what and for how long. See Pet. at 1-2.

         Thereafter, Petitioner raises two grounds for relief. In Ground One, Petitioner claims that the Oklahoma state courts: (1) refuse to enforce Supreme Court law; (2) protect his federal rights; (3) “suspended habeas corpus, due process [and] equal protection of the law;” and (4) denied access to courts. Id. at 7. Petitioner further alleges that Oklahoma has admitted that he is entitled to “immediate release from ‘detention'” but refuses to release him. Id. In Ground Two, Petitioner essentially repeats these allegations, and further explains that he is an “Indian” and his crime “was committed on an [I]ndian, in Indian Country, inside an Indian Reservation.” Id. Although the Court presumes that Petitioner is Native American, he does not specify his tribal affiliation or describe where in “Indian County” he allegedly committed his crime(s). Id.[1]

         II. Analysis

         A. Governing Standard

         Rule 4 requires this Court to review habeas petitions promptly and to summarily dismiss a petition “[i]f it plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief. . . .” Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases; see also Rule 1(b) of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases (“The district court may apply any or all of these rules to a habeas corpus petition [filed under a statute other than Section 2254].”).

         B. Grounds for Dismissal

         1.The Court Cannot Grant Petitioner's Requested Relief

         It is “the nature of a prisoner's confinement, not the fact of his confinement” that is the gravamen of a Section 2241 petition or challenge. Prost v. Anderson, 636 F.3d 578, 581 (10th Cir. 2011) (emphasis in original). Petitioner, however, alleges no facts to show that he is challenging the execution of his sentence or the nature of his confinement. He does not, for instance, seek to challenge “certain matters that occur at prison, such as deprivation of good-time credits and other prison disciplinary matters . . . affecting the fact or duration” of his custody. Hale v. Fox, 829 F.3d 1162, 1165 n.2 (10th Cir. 2016) (internal quotation omitted). Instead, Petitioner's arguments “attempt[] a frontal assault” on his conviction(s). Prost, 636 F.3d at 581. While such attacks are proper in a Section 2254 action, McIntosh v. U.S. Parole Comm'n, 115 F.3d 809, 811 (10th Cir. 1997), they fail to establish a basis for habeas relief arising under Section 2241 because they do not attack the execution of his sentence. Therefore, Petitioner's Petition, to the extent it seeks his immediate release from detention, should be dismissed without prejudice. If Petitioner desires to challenge the validity of his conviction(s), then he must file an action pursuant to Section 2254 utilizing the proper form. The Court, however, will not construe these claims as ones under Section 2254.[2]

         2. Petitioner's Claims Involving the Oklahoma State Courts' Alleged Violations Fail to State a Cause of Action

         Petitioner asserts that Oklahoma state courts have suspended state habeas corpus, violated due process and equal protection rights, and denied access to the courts. See Pet. at 7. These claims raise only violations of state procedural rules and state law and do not state a valid claim for relief under Section 2241. See Steele v. Young, 11 F.3d 1518, 1524 (10th Cir. 1993) (holding challenges to a state's post-conviction procedures simply “fail to state a federal constitutional claim cognizable in a federal habeas proceeding”); Stryker v. Bear, No. CIV-17-695-W, 2017 WL 4533968, at *3 (W.D. Okla. Sept. 5, 2017) (unpublished report and recommendation) (finding that petitioner's claim that Oklahoma denied him “access to court, suspended habeas corpus, . . . and denied him equal protection and due process” did “not demonstrate any violation of federal law”), adopted, 2017 WL 4533138 (W.D. Okla. Oct. 10, 2017) (unpublished district court order); Coughlin v. Bear, No. CIV-15-536-R, 2016 WL 447345, at *3 (W.D. Okla. Jan. 1, 2016) (unpublished report and recommendation) (finding petitioner's claims against the Oklahoma courts and their alleged suspension of habeas corpus and violation of due process rights should “be dismissed without prejudice because they are not cognizable under 28 U.S.C. § 2241[]”), adopted, 2016 WL 447744 (W.D. Okla. Feb. 4, 2016) (unpublished district court order). As such, the Court should dismiss Petitioner's claims challenging the Oklahoma state courts' processes.

         RECO ...

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