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Clark v. United States

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

June 27, 2019

SACOREY LENNEL CLARK, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, CITY OF GREENVILLE, IL, JOHN DOE #1, JOHN DOE #2, JOHN DOE #3, JOHN DOE #4, JOHN DOE #5, JOHN DOE #6, JOHN DOE #7, JOHN DOE #8, JOHN DOE #9, JOHN DOE #10, JOHN DOE #11, JOHN DOE #12, and JOHN DOE #13, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Nancy J. Rosenstengel Chief U.S. District Judge.

         Petitioner Sacorey Lennel Clark, an inmate of the United States Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”), currently incarcerated at Federal Correctional Institute in Greenville, Illinois (“Greenville”), brings this habeas corpus action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. He also labels his petition as one under the Mandamus Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1361.

         In the petition, Clark complains about a number of issues with the BOP including: the confiscation of his pre-paid postage to outside individuals, being improperly identified as a sovereign citizen, a strip search in front of other inmates, the confiscation of his personal property and legal materials, failing to provide him with information regarding unknown insurance, surety, and bonding providers, and ongoing retaliation by prison officials. (Doc. 1, pp. 3, 4, 6, 8, 10-13). Clark seeks relief in the form of an injunction requiring Respondents to work with him regarding his incoming and outgoing legal and personal mail, obtain a notary of legal documents, and remedy issues preventing Clark from obtaining insurance, indemnity, and bonding information. (Doc. 1, p. 16). He also seeks a number of documents including his original birth certificate and social security numbers. (Id. at p. 16).

         This matter is now before the Court for review of the petition pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in United States District Courts, which 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) gives the Court the authority to apply the Rules to other habeas corpus cases.

         Background

         Clark's petition is confusing and convoluted. It includes a number of seemingly unrelated allegations regarding wrongs that were done to him by officials during his time at the BOP. He references the Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act throughout the petition. He alleges, among other things, that he was disciplined in November 2018, sent to disciplinary segregation for ten days, and had his materials seized in an attempt to label him a sovereign citizen. (Doc. 1, p. 4). In February 2019, he was labeled a sovereign citizen and again placed in segregation and had his legal materials seized. (Id. at p. 10). Clark alleges that this occurred without first being provided a confiscation notice/form. He also alleges that he was strip searched in unrelated events in July, August, September, and October. (Id. at p. 6). He was also prevented from mailing out certain documents, including his current 2241 petition, and he has not been provided with disclosure of unknown named insurance, surety, and bonding providers despite numerous requests. (Id. at pp. 8, 11).

         Although Clark does not indicate any specifics regarding his current term of imprisonment, he is currently serving a term of 180 months' imprisonment for a felon in possession of a firearm conviction. United States v. Clark, No. 16-cr-107-JAR, Doc. 222 (“Criminal Case”). Clark first filed a Section 2241 petition in the Eastern District of Missouri on April 5, 2018. Clark v. United States, No. 18-cv-524-JCH (E.D. Mo. 2018) (“First 2241 Petition”). The district judge dismissed that petition, finding it had no basis in law and fact and was based on typical “sovereign citizen” arguments. (First 2241 Petition, Doc. 4, pp. 2-3). Clark appealed the decision, which was affirmed by the Eighth Circuit.

         Clark subsequently filed a Section 2241 petition in this Court. That petition, filed on March 13, 2019, contains nearly identical arguments to his current petition. See Clark v. United States, No. 19-cv-297-SMY (Doc. 1) (“Second 2241 Petition”). The petition alleges that he was placed in segregation in February 2019 and was labeled by the BOP as a sovereign citizen. (Second 2241 Petition, Doc. 1, p. 5). The petition also mentions his placement in segregation in November 2018 and the strip searches in the months of June through October (Id. at p. 6). He also mentions his outgoing mail being stolen and seeks the identity of unknown named insurance, surety, and bonding providers. (Id. at p. 12). That petition is still pending before the Court.

         Clark filed the petition in this case on April 22, 2019 (Doc. 1).

         Discussion

         A. Section 2241 Petition

         This Court is obligated to independently evaluate the substance of Clark's claims to determine if the correct statute, in this case 28 U.S.C. § 2241, is being invoked. See 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). A petition for a writ of habeas corpus is the proper route “[i]f the prisoner is seeking what can fairly be described as a quantum change in the level of custody - whether outright freedom, or freedom subject to the limited reporting and financial constraints of bond or parole or probation, or the run of the prison in contrast to the approximation to solitary confinement that is disciplinary segregation.” Graham v. Broglin, 922 F.2d 379, 381 (7th Cir. 1991). If, however, the prisoner “is seeking a different program or location or environment, then he is challenging the conditions rather than the fact of confinement and his remedy is under civil rights law.” Id.; see also Pischke v. Litscher, 178 F.3d 497, 499-500 (7th Cir. 1999).

         Clark brings this action under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. However, the relief he actually seeks is a change to his conditions of confinement. He seeks access to his mail, the ability to obtain certain legal documents including: power of attorney, common-law copyright notice, and security agreements, as well as his birth certificate, social security number, access to computers and printers, and insurance, indemnity, and bonding information from the Respondents. (Doc. 1, p. 16). Although he mentions being placed in segregation as a result of a disciplinary ticket, he does not indicate that he is challenging that disciplinary ticket or his term in segregation.

         His claims relate to his conditions of confinement. He challenges the confiscation of his legal materials and mail. He also maintains that he was subjected to an improper strip ...


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