United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
JELANI AGYEI KAMAU KAYIN EL, a/k/a GILARDI C. BURNS, No. 10954-025, Petitioner,
MONROE COUNTY JAIL, and OFFICERS Monroe County Jail, Respondents.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
HERNDON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
is a federal prisoner, currently incarcerated in the Monroe
County Jail (“the Jail”). He brings this habeas
corpus action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 to challenge
the constitutionality of his confinement.
case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the
Petition pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section
2254 Cases in United States District Courts. Rule 4 provides
that upon preliminary consideration by the district court
judge, “[i]f it plainly appears from the petition and
any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to
relief in the district court, the judge must dismiss the
petition and direct the clerk to notify the
petitioner.” Rule 1(b) of those Rules gives this Court
the authority to apply the rules to other habeas corpus
cases, such as this action under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. After
carefully reviewing the Petition and related documents, the
Court concludes that Petitioner is not entitled to habeas
relief, and the petition must be dismissed.
same date when he filed this action (December 29, 2017),
Petitioner also filed a civil rights case seeking to recover
damages pursuant to either Bivens v. Six Unknown Named
Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), or 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Kayin El v. USA, et al., No. 17-cv-1398-SMY. On
February 1, 2018, that case was dismissed as legally
frivolous. (Doc. 6 in No. 17-cv-1398).
instant case, Petitioner states that he is being held in the
Jail while awaiting trial on criminal charges, and is also
serving a sentence for having violated his federal probation.
(Doc. 1, p. 1). This information is consistent with the
records of this Court in Petitioner's pending criminal
case, United States v. Burns, No. 17-cr-30110-MJR,
where he is charged with failure to surrender to begin
serving the sentence imposed as a result of the probation
violation. (Doc. 1 in No. 17-cr-30110-MJR). In an earlier
criminal case, United States v. Burns, No.
13-cr-30233-MJR, Plaintiff's supervised release was
revoked on January 26, 2017, and he was sentenced to 9
months' imprisonment. (Docs. 127, 129, 130, 140 in No.
13-cr-30233-MJR). According to the Government's response
to Petitioner's pending motion for bond in No.
17-cr-30110-MJR, he is still serving that 9-month sentence.
(Doc. 52 in No. 17-cr-30110-MJR). A hearing has been
scheduled for March 8, 2018, in the 2017 criminal case to
consider the motion for bond as well as Petitioner's
motion to continue the trial. (See Docs. 42, 57, in No.
stated grounds for challenging his current confinement
include alleged due process violations, lack of medical care,
brain damage he claims to have suffered during his
incarceration, deprivation of telephone, mail, and commissary
privileges, being placed on lockdown, lack of access to legal
materials, and inability to call his attorney. (Doc. 1, p.
2). He seeks immediate release from the Jail, as well as
“immediate dismissal” of his criminal case
“due to due process of law issues.” (Doc. 1, p.
further claims that the case should be dismissed in
connection with his “properly discharging this debt and
settling this account . . . that will be turned into an
asset, stock, or bond and sold on the Stock Exchange which
will create Capitol [sic] for the United States Government
and this particular court as well.” Id. He
objects to the Court placing his “Estate or Family
Name” in all capital letters. He states that he has
submitted Internal Revenue Service Form 966 to
“dissolve any corporate status that was created by the
U.S. Government at or around the time of my physical entry
into this wor[l]d/dimension.” Id.
January 16, 2018, Plaintiff filed a copy of a grievance form
(Doc. 4) which he may have submitted to Jail officials. He
complains that the Jail has no true grievance process, and
states that Jail officials are not signing financial
documents that he needs to send to this Court. They refuse to
provide him with legal material, copies, or phone access. He
also alleges that he has not been given his prescribed
vitamin supplements, and has not seen a doctor. (Doc. 4, p.
2). He claims that he has been verbally abused and threatened
with lockdown by Jail officers. Id.
has brought this action under the umbrella of habeas corpus
law. 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Typically, the writ of habeas
corpus is used to completely free an inmate from unlawful
custody. Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 484-85
(1973). Release from custody is indeed what Petitioner seeks
in this case. However, this Court must look beyond that
request for relief, to independently evaluate the substance
of Petitioner's claim and determine whether the correct
statute - in this case 28 U.S.C. § 2241 - is being
invoked. Preiser, 411 U.S. at 500 (dismissing §
1983 civil rights claims that should have been brought as
petition for writ of habeas corpus); Bunn v. Conley,
309 F.3d 1002, 1006-07 (7th Cir. 2002) (district court should
not have recharacterized declaratory judgment action as
petition for habeas corpus); Godoski v. United
States, 304 F.3d 761, 763 (7th Cir. 2002) (court must
evaluate independently the substance of the claim being
brought, to see if correct statute is being invoked). If a
prisoner is challenging the conditions of his confinement,
rather than the fact of confinement, then his remedy is under
civil rights law - not habeas corpus. Graham v.
Broglin, 922 F.2d 379, 381 (7th Cir. 1991); see also
Pischke v. Litscher, 178 F.3d 497, 500 (7th Cir. 1999).
2241 provides, in relevant part: “The writ of habeas
corpus shall not extend to a prisoner unless - . . . [h]e is
in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or
treaties of the United States[.]” 28 U.S.C. §
2241(c)(3). The federal habeas corpus statute cannot be used
to challenge conditions of confinement. See 28
U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3); Glaus v. Anderson, 408
F.3d 382, 386-87 (7th Cir. 2005); Williams v.
Wisconsin, 336 F.3d 576, 579 (7th Cir. 2003); DeWalt
v. Carter, 224 F.3d 607, 617 (7th Cir. 2000);
Pischke, 178 F.3d at 500; Graham, 922 F.2d
the vague claims of a due process violation, which Petitioner
does not explain, the instant Petition does not reveal any
basis to support a conclusion that Petitioner's custody
is in violation of the Constitution or any law or treaty. The
record in his criminal cases, as well as the Petition itself,
demonstrate that Petitioner is serving a lawful sentence
imposed after his probation was revoked, and that he is
simultaneously in custody pending a trial on the 2017 charge
for failing to surrender. Notably, Petitioner's motion
requesting release on bond is scheduled to be heard in ...