United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Dennis D. Linehan, Petitioner,
Emily Johnson Piper, Respondent.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
BOWBEER, United States Magistrate Judge
Dennis D. Linehan is currently detained indefinitely as a
sexually dangerous person by the State of Minnesota pursuant
to a judgment entered two decades ago in state court. See
In re Linehan, 594 N.W.2d 867 (Minn. 1999). In 2000,
Linehan filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in this
District under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenging the validity
of that civil detention. The petition was denied with
prejudice, and a certificate of appealability
(“COA”) was granted on one issue raised by the
petition. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ultimately
affirmed the denial. See Linehan v. Milczark, 315
F.3d 920 (8th Cir. 2003).
has since sought relief from that civil-detention judgment
several times in the state courts, most recently in habeas
corpus proceedings initiated in 2016. See Linehan v.
Piper, No. A16-1584, 2017 WL 1208757, at *1
(Minn.Ct.App. Apr. 3, 2017). Each of those attempts has been
unsuccessful to date.
matter is now before the Court on a new petition for a writ
of habeas corpus from Linehan. (Pet. [Doc. No. 1].) Although
the petition itself invokes 28 U.S.C. § 2241 as a basis
for habeas corpus relief (Pet. at 1), Linehan is being held
“pursuant to the judgment of a State court, ”
see 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a), specifically, pursuant
to the judgment entered at the conclusion of the
civil-commitment proceedings. Linehan's petition is
therefore subject to the procedural and substantive
limitations set forth in § 2254. See, e.g.,
Doranti v. Dep't of Human Services, No.
13-cv-1667 (DWF/LIB), 2013 WL 3974532, at *1-3 (D. Minn. July
those limitations, a federal district court is without
jurisdiction to consider a second or successive application
for habeas corpus relief governed by § 2254 unless the
petitioner has first obtained authorization from the
appropriate court of appeals to file that petition.
See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)(A); Crawford v.
Minnesota, 698 F.3d 1086, 1088 (8th Cir. 2012).
“[T]he phrase ‘second or successive' must be
interpreted with respect to the judgment challenged.”
Magwood v. Patterson, 561 U.S. 320, 333 (2010).
Here, as in the 2000 federal habeas corpus proceedings,
Linehan challenges the validity of the civil-commitment
judgment entered in state court two decades ago. Thus, to the
extent that Linehan seeks habeas corpus relief from that
judgment,  his petition is “second or
Linehan has not yet received authorization from the Eighth
Circuit to proceed with a second or successive habeas corpus
petition, the petition must be either dismissed without
prejudice or transferred to the Eighth Circuit for further
consideration. This Court recommends dismissal rather than
transfer, as the petition does not appear to meet the
statutory requirements for second or successive petitions.
See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(2). That said,
dismissal of this action without prejudice would not prevent
Linehan from seeking authorization from the Eighth Circuit of
his own accord.
a § 2254 habeas corpus petitioner cannot appeal an
adverse ruling on his petition unless he is granted a COA.
See 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(1); Fed. R. App. P.
22(b)(1). A COA cannot be granted unless the petitioner
“has made a substantial showing of the denial of a
constitutional right.” 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2). To
make such a showing, “[t]he petitioner must demonstrate
that reasonable jurists would find the district court's
assessment of the constitutional claims debatable or
wrong.” Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484
(2000). In this case, it is highly unlikely that any other
court, including the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, would
treat Linehan's current habeas corpus petition
differently than it is being treated here. Linehan has not
identified, and this Court cannot discern, anything novel,
noteworthy or worrisome about this case that warrants
appellate review. It is therefore recommended that Linehan
not be granted a COA in this matter.
on the foregoing, and on all of the files, records, and
proceedings herein, IT IS HEREBY RECOMMENDED
action be DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE for
lack of jurisdiction;
Petitioner Dennis D. Linehan's application to proceed
in forma pauperis [Doc. No. 3] be DENIED AS
certificate of appealability be granted.
Objections: This Report and Recommendation is not an
order or judgment of the District Court and is therefore not
appealable directly to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Local Rule 72.2(b)(1), “a party may file and serve
specific written objections to a magistrate judge's
proposed finding and recommendations within 14 days after
being served a copy” of the Report and Recommendation.
A party may respond to those objections within 14 days after
being served a copy of the objections. LR 72.2(b)(2). ...