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Hawk v. Coakley

United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Beckley

December 15, 2017

RAYMOND E. HAWK, Petitioner,
v.
JOE COAKLEY, Warden, FCI Beckley, Respondent.

          PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION

          Dwane L. Tinsley, United States Magistrate Judge

         Pending before the court is the petitioner's Application for Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (ECF No. 1). This matter is assigned to the Honorable Irene C. Berger, United States District Judge, and, by Standing Order, it is referred to the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge for submission of proposed findings and a recommendation for disposition, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B).

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         At the time he filed his petition, the petitioner was incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution at Beckley, West Virginia, serving a 108-month term of imprisonment imposed by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, following his conviction, pursuant to a guilty plea, on one count of conducting a racketeering enterprise, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1962. United States of America v. Hawk, No. 2:09-cr-54-001, ECF No. 669 (E.D. Tenn., Oct. 12, 2010). However, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) inmate locator on its website, www.bop.gov, the petitioner was released from custody on January 20, 2017.

         The petitioner's section 2241 petition indicates that, on January 24, 2013, he was diagnosed by a BOP contracted optometrist with age-related, dry macular degeneration (AMD). The petitioner asserts that the National Eye Institute (NEI) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) commissioned two studies, Age-Related Eye Disease Study 1 and 2 (AREDS and AREDS-2), that revealed that, while there is no cure for AMD, treating the condition with supplements containing vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, zinc, copper, lutein and zeaxanthin, can slow the progression of the disease. (ECF No. 1 at 4).

         The petitioner contends that prison officials withheld “the AREDS-2 medications” from him for 210 days, placing his vision at risk, before advising him that he would be required to purchase the requested supplements himself through the commissary at his own expense. (Id. at 5). The petitioner contends that this action violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The petitioner seeks an Order directing the respondent to furnish the petitioner with the recommended treatment for AMD at BOP cost and to order reimbursement to the petitioner for any out of pocket expenses in acquiring the suggested supplements.

         ANALYSIS

         There are a number of reasons for summarily dismissing the petitioner's petition.

         A. The petition does not allege a cognizable claim for habeas corpus relief.

         First, a section 2241 petition is generally used to attack the manner in which a federal sentence is being executed. See 28 U.S.C. § 2241. In a 2241 petition, a prisoner may seek relief concerning issues such as parole denial, sentence computation, loss of good conduct time, the Inmate Financial Responsibility Program, placement in residential reentry centers, or residential drug treatment programs. “[T]he Supreme Court [has] held that the writ of habeas corpus was the exclusive civil remedy for prisoners seeking release from custody.” Glaus v. Anderson, 408 F.3d 382, 386 (7th Cir. 2005).

         Thus, at bottom, a habeas corpus petition is designed to challenge to “the fact or duration of [a prisoner's] physical confinement, ” or “seek[] immediate release or a speedier release from active confinement.” Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 498 (1973). Here, the petitioner does not seek immediate or speedier release from active confinement. Thus, his request for relief is not appropriate under 28 U.S.C. § 2241.

         B. The petition does not allege a cognizable Eighth Amendment claim.

         The petitioner's filing can also be liberally construed to be asserting a claim of deliberate indifference to a serious medical need, which would be addressable under the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution in a civil rights action. Where, as here, such a claim is brought against a federal official, such as the Warden of a BOP facility, the claim is addressed under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971).

         In Bivens, the Supreme Court created a counterpart to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 so that individuals may bring suit against a federal actor for violating a right guaranteed by the United States Constitution or other federal law. Because petitioner is a federal prisoner, he must pursue relief under Bivens, as opposed to under section 1983. A Bivens action is used to hold federal officers ...


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