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Johnson v. Mathena

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division

February 27, 2014

LARRY RAY JOHNSON, Petitioner,
v.
RANDALL C. MATHENA, WARDEN, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

GLEN E. CONRAD, Chief District Judge.

Larry Ray Johnson, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, filed this petition for a writ of habeas corpus, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Upon review of the petition, the court concludes that it must be summarily dismissed without prejudice, because Johnson has stated no right to relief under § 2254.[1]

Habeas corpus petitions are generally reserved for attacks on the fact or duration of the petitioner's confinement. See Preiser v. Rodriguez , 411 U.S. 475, 500 (1973). Johnson expressly states that he is not challenging his state or federal convictions or sentences, however. Rather, he asserts that the court's application of Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA") provisions has "unduly impaired" his constitutional rights to due process and to access the courts. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a), (d), and (g); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1); 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c)(2).[2] As relief in this habeas action, Johnson asks the court to allow him to file in forma pauperis civil rights actions, to order his removal "to a jurisdiction with access to all state & federal courts, " or to order him into "federal custody immediately."[3] (ECF No. 1, at 19.)

The court cannot find that Johnson has stated any ground for the relief under § 2254. Johnson's constitutional challenges to the PLRA restrictions on his ability to file civil actions without prepayment of the filing fee have no bearing whatsoever on the fact or duration of his confinement.[4] Thus, they do not present any cognizable § 2254 habeas claim. Neither do Johnson's conclusory allegations about other subject matter he may wish to raise in a civil action, concerning excessive force, medical care and mail problems, and difficulties getting paperwork from prison officials to file civil actions. Such challenges to conditions of confinement fall well outside the core of habeas corpus subject matter and must be raised, if at all, in a civil action under federal or state law against the responsible prison officials. See, e.g., Nelson v. Campbell , 541 U.S. 637, 643 (2004).

Because Johnson's claims do not, in any respect, challenge the fact or duration of his confinement, he has stated no ground for relief under § 2254. Therefore, the court will summarily dismiss his petition. An appropriate order will issue this day.


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