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Harris v. U.S. Marshals Service

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London

June 24, 2015



KAREN K. CALDWELL, Chief District Judge.

Petitioner Christopher L. Harris is an inmate confined by the Bureau of Prisons in the United States Penitentiary-McCreary, located in Pine Knot, Kentucky. Proceeding without an attorney, Harris has filed a four-page submission entitled "Personal Replevin Action At Common Law (Habeas Corpus Ad Subjiciendum)" [R. 1], and a two-page submission entitled "Foreign Bill of Credit." [R. 2]. Harris has also filed various motions in which he asks this Court to order the United States Marshals Service to release him from federal custody [R. 3]; enter a "mandatory perpetual injunction" [R. 4]; and enter a summary judgment in his favor [R. 6]. The Clerk of the Court has administratively classified this proceeding as a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241.

As a preliminary matter, Harris did not pay the $5.00 filing fee upon the filing of his "petition, " nor did he file a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. The Court's online PACER database reveals that in the years since his federal conviction in Indiana, Harris has filed dozens of § 2241 habeas corpus petitions in various district courts, and has recently filed the following three § 2241 habeas petition in this Court:

(1) Harris v. Holland, No. 5:15-CV-2-KKC (E. D. Ky. 2015) (dismissed on May 18, 2015, R. 6 and 7, therein]);

(2) Harris v. Holland, No. 6:14-CV-220-DLB (E.D. Ky. 2014) (dismissed on January 8, 2015, R. 11, therein); and

(3) Harris v. Sepanek, No. 0:14-CV-99-HRW (E.D. Ky. 2014) (dismissed on August 8, 2014, R. 9 and 10, therein; reconsideration denied on August 20, 2014, R. 15, therein). See also Harris v. Holder, No. 1:14-CV-11734, 2014 WL 4999196, at *1-6 (S.D. W.Va. Aug. 26, 2014) (identifying prior cases)

Harris therefore is plainly aware of his obligation to pay the $5.00 filing fee required by 28 U.S.C. § 1914, but he has nonetheless repeatedly failed to do so. Cf. Harris v. Holland, No. 6:14-220-DLB (E.D. Ky. 2014); Harris v. McGrew, No. 2:13-CV-3810-PSG-JPR (C.D. Cal.), appeal dismissed, 13-56107 (9th Cir. 2013). The Court will therefore assess the $5.00 filing fee and direct its payment from Harris's inmate account.

The Court conducts an initial review of habeas corpus petitions. 28 U.S.C. § 2243; Alexander v. Northern Bureau of Prisons, 419 F.Appx. 544, 545 (6th Cir. 2011). The Court must deny the petition "if it plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief." Rule 4 of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts (applicable to § 2241 petitions pursuant to Rule 1(b)). The Court evaluates Harris's petition under a more lenient standard because he is not represented by an attorney. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); Burton v. Jones, 321 F.3d 569, 573 (6th Cir. 2003). At this stage, the Court accepts the petitioner's factual allegations as true, and his legal claims are liberally construed in his favor. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007). For the reasons set forth below, however, Harris's § 2241 petition will be denied, his pending motions will be denied as moot, and this proceeding will be dismissed.


Even under the broad framework of § 2243, it does not "plainly" appear from the petition and any attached exhibits that Harris is entitled to relief. This is because neither of Harris's submissions make any sense. Harris refers to several parts of the Uniform Commercial Code and to his Indiana federal criminal case, United States v. Harris, No. 1:98-CR-121-SEB-DKL-3, but he does not explain how the two relate to each other. Harris employs other bizarre language, phrases, and terms, which have no connection to each other. Harris does not explain the basis of his claims in plain and simple terms, nor does he articulate what type of relief he is seeking in this action. Harris's filings are so rambling, indecipherable, and disjointed, that they violate Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(1)-(3), which requires a civil litigant to state a claim for relief containing:

(1) a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction, unless the court already has jurisdiction and the claim needs no new jurisdictional support;
(2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief; and
(3) a demand for the relief sought, which may include relief in the alternative or different types of relief.

The resources of the federal judiciary are limited, and this Court is not required to speculate about what a plaintiff or petitioner-even a pro se plaintiff or a pro se habeas petitioner-is alleging, particularly one who has availed himself so regularly of the legal process in the federal court system. Again, pro se pleadings are to be held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); Jourdan v. Jabe, 951 F.2d 108, 110 (6th Cir.1991), but a pro se litigant must ...

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