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Helbig v. United States

United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Tallahassee Division

July 31, 2019

SUSANNE D. HELBIG, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, et al., Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Michael J. Frank United States Magistrate Judge.

         This action filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 is before the court on Petitioner's “Motion for Judicial Notice and For Final Disposition of Movant's Original Filing” (Doc. 10). Petitioner alleges that she was subject to cruel and unusual punishment while serving her federal sentence, and she seeks a reduction in her sentence for these alleged violations of the Eighth Amendment. (Doc. 1). For the reasons set forth below, the undersigned respectfully recommends that this action be dismissed because federal law does not authorize the relief that Petitioner seeks for alleged violations of the Eighth Amendment.

         I. Background

         Petitioner filed a habeas petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 and raised three grounds, which she has phrased as issues for the court to address:

(1) “Denial of proper dental treatment, the infliction of pain and suffering by prolonging a minor dental defect and escalating it to emergency status by not completing started invasive treatments. Is this cruel and unusual punishment? (Doc. 1 at 3).
(2) “Does the adjudicated sentence permit or condone a custodial agency to mistreat, torture, and/or cripple their wards? (Doc. 1 at 4).
(3) “Does one day of pain and suffering calculate punishment adjudicated the same as one day without, when it comes to the calculation of time to be served incarcerated, deprived of freedom?” (Doc. 1 at 4).

         As relief, Petitioner seeks an answer to these three questions, calculation of the value of the time she served while she was in pain, and a reduction in her sentence commensurate with the pain she allegedly suffered. (Doc. 1 at 6).

         Upon review of the petition and the grounds asserted, the undersigned took into consideration Petitioner's pro se status and construed her petition as an action brought pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388, 91 S.Ct. 1999 (1971) (holding that there exists an implied private right of action for damages against federal officers who violate a citizen's constitutional rights). The undersigned, therefore, ordered Petitioner to file an amended complaint. (Doc. 7).

         Petitioner filed an objection to the undersigned's order and argued that she intentionally filed a habeas action because it was the mechanism to obtain an immediate or speedier release from federal prison. (Doc. 8). The undersigned overruled the Petitioner's objection and noted that the Eleventh Circuit does not permit “release from confinement” as a remedy for a violation of the Eighth Amendment. See Fernandez v. United States, 941 F.2d 1488, 1494 (11th Cir. 1991). The undersigned provided Petitioner additional time to file an amended complaint and pay the remainder of the filing fee or submitting a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. 9).

         Instead of filing an amended complaint, however, Petitioner filed her “Request for Judicial Notice and for Final Disposition of Movant's Original Filing” (Doc. 10), which is currently pending. Petitioner steadfastly maintains that this action should proceed under § 2241. Her sole claim is that the prison failed to provide dental care in violation of the Eighth Amendment's proscription against cruel and unusual punishments.

         II. Standard

         Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts require a federal court to screen a habeas petition prior to any answer or other pleading. This Rule applies to habeas actions under both 28 U.S.C. § 2254 and 28 U.S.C. § 2241. See R. 1(b), Rules Governing § 2254 (“[T]he district court may apply any or all of these rules to a habeas petition not covered by Rule 1(a).”). Rule 4 requires that the petition be dismissed “[i]f it plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court.” R. 4, Rules Governing § 2254 Cases; see McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 856, 114 S.Ct. 2568, 2573 (1994).

         III. ...


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