United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Marvin Munt, pro se plaintiff.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND
R. TUNHEIM CHIEF JUDGE
Joel Marvin Munt is serving a life sentence after a Minnesota
jury convicted him of murder, kidnapping, robbery, assault,
and criminal vehicular operation. See State v. Munt,
831 N.W.2d 569, 574 (Minn. 2013). Munt previously challenged
his conviction in federal court through a petition for a writ
of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, which was
denied by the district court; the decision was affirmed on
appeal. See Munt v. Grandlienard, 829 F.3d 610, 612
(8th Cir. 2016). Munt now seeks another writ of
habeas corpus, this time challenging a thirty-day stint
served in segregated confinement. See Munt v. Smith,
No. A16-0462, 2016 WL 7042010, at *2 (Minn.Ct.App. Dec. 5,
2016). Because Munt was released from segregated confinement
before the instant petition was filed, the Court will adopt
the Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) issued
by the Magistrate Judge recommending that the Court deny the
petition and dismiss the action.
serving his life sentence, Munt was assigned to thirty days
in segregated confinement after a hearing officer found Munt
guilty of violating a prison rule against disorderly
conduct. Id. at *1. Munt's
disciplinary hearing took place on June 3, 2015, and he was
put in segregated confinement the same day. (Pet. at 1, Jan.
2, 2018, Docket No. 1.) After his release from segregated
confinement, Munt filed a petition for a writ of habeas
corpus in state court challenging the validity of his
assignment to segregated confinement. Munt, 2016 WL
7042010, at *1. The state court denied Munt's petition on
mootness grounds, which was affirmed on appeal. Id.
January 2, 2018, over two years after Munt was released from
segregated confinement, Munt filed this habeas petition under
28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenging the same 30-day period and
the prison regulations governing the disciplinary
proceedings.(Pet. at 1, 3) Munt's petition seeks
relief in various forms, none of which relate to a release
from state custody. (Pet. at 13). United States Magistrate
Judge Franklin L. Noel issued an R&R recommending that
the Court deny Munt's habeas petition and dismiss the
action. (R&R at 5, Jan. 29, 2018, Docket No. 4.) Munt
objects. (Objs., Feb. 8, 2018, Docket No. 5; Supp., Feb. 14,
2018, Docket No. 6.) Because Munt was not “in
custody” at the time of his habeas filing, the Court
will deny the petition and dismiss the action.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
the filing of an R&R by a magistrate judge, “a
party may serve and file specific written objections to the
proposed findings and recommendations.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
72(b)(2); accord D. Minn. LR 72.2(b)(1). “The
district judge must determine de novo any part of the
magistrate judge's disposition that has been properly
objected to.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3); accord D.
Minn. LR 72.2(b)(3).
federal habeas statute gives the United States district
courts jurisdiction to entertain petitions for habeas relief
only from persons who are ‘in custody
in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the
United States.'” Maleng v. Cook, 490 U.S.
488 at 490 (1989) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3)). A
long-standing jurisdictional requirement is that the
“petitioner be ‘in custody' under the
conviction or sentence under attack at the time his petition
is filed.” Id. at 490-91; see also Carafas
v. LaVallee, 391 U.S. 234, 238 (1968) (“This is
required not only by the repeated references in the statute,
but also by the history of the great writ.”). If a
petitioner was not “in” the relevant
“custody” at the time of filing, then his
petition must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.
Charlton v. Morris, 53 F.3d 929, 929 (8th
Cir. 1995) (per curiam) (concluding that the “District
Court was without jurisdiction to address the merits of
[petitioner's] section 2254 petition because [he] . . .
was no longer ‘in custody' for his state
true that, for habeas purposes, being “in
custody” does not hinge on whether a person is
“literally locked behind bars.” Defoe v.
Swanson, No. 09-2016, 2009 WL 4729935, at *3-4 (D. Minn.
Sep. 24, 2009). “A person who has been released from
prison, but remains subject to the restrictions of parole, is
considered to be ‘in custody' for habeas
purposes.” Id. (citing Jones v.
Cunningham, 371 U.S. 236, 239 (1963)). The Supreme Court
has “never held, however, that a habeas petitioner may
be ‘in custody' under a conviction when the
sentence imposed for that conviction has fully
expired at the time his petition is filed.”
Maleng, 490 U.S. at 491. If a sentence has fully
expired, and the release is unconditional, the petitioner is
no longer in custody for habeas purposes. Id. at
case, Munt's disciplinary term had fully expired years
before his § 2254 petition was filed. (See Pet.
at 1.) Munt's thirty-day assignment ended on July 3,
2015, and his filing date was January 2, 2018. (See
id.) Munt must have been serving a sentence by reason of
the prison rule violation he challenges “at the
time the petition was filed.” Spencer v.
Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 7 (1998) (emphasis added). Nothing in
the record supports, nor does Munt attempt to argue, that he
was still in custody at the time of filing. In addition,
Munt's release from segregated confinement appears
unconditional, having been assigned to thirty days and fully
serving that assignment. (Pet. at 1.)
of his physical release from segregated confinement, Munt
contends that his disciplinary assignment will continue to
have adverse collateral consequences. (Objs. at 2-3.) Munt
mistakenly argues that the collateral consequences doctrine
constitutes an exception to the in-custody requirement.
(Objs. at 3). Indeed, the habeas statute has a broad mandate
and “does not limit the relief that may be granted to
discharge of the applicant from physical custody.”
Carafas, 391 U.S. at 239. But such relief is only
available when the court has jurisdiction. See Defoe v.
Swanson, 2009 WL 4729935, at *3-4. “If the
statutory ‘in custody' requirement is satisfied,
and jurisdiction therefore exists when a habeas case is
filed, the court's jurisdiction is not