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King v. United States

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

June 27, 2018

Calvin Thomas King, Petitioner,
v.
United States of America and D.O.C. Stillwater, Respondents.

          Calvin Thomas King, OID #175897, Minnesota Correctional Facility-Stillwater, pro se.

          Matthew Frank, Minnesota Attorney General's Office, for Respondents.

          ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          SUSAN RICHARD NELSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter is before the Court for consideration of Petitioner Calvin Thomas King's Objections [Doc. No. 6] to United States Magistrate Judge Hildy Bowbeer's Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) dated April 24, 2018 [Doc. No. 5]. The magistrate judge recommended that King's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (“Habeas Petition”) [Doc. No. 1] be denied, and that this action be dismissed.

         Pursuant to statute, this Court reviews de novo any portion of the magistrate judge's R&R to which specific objections are made, and “may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations” contained in that R&R. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b); D. Minn. LR 72.2(b)(3). Based on that de novo review, and for the reasons set forth below, the Court overrules Petitioner's Objections and adopts the R&R in its entirety.

         II. BACKGROUND

         King is currently incarcerated at the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Stillwater. On July 31, 2017, after pleading guilty to aggravated robbery in the first degree, he received a 48-month sentence. He did not appeal that judgment. (See Habeas Pet. at 1.)

         In his Habeas Petition, King alleges that a series of events have occurred throughout the State of Minnesota, and potentially the nation, during his incarceration at Minnesota Correctional Facility-Stillwater. (See id. 1-4) In particular, King asserts wide-ranging claims of theft, espionage, and interference with his free exercise of religion. (See id.) He alleges, for example, that a discrete radio transmitter has been communicating to him a “satanic group['s]” plan to conceal a criminal conspiracy to defraud him. (See id. at 3-4.)

         Due to the nature of these allegations, Magistrate Judge Bowbeer found that King's Habeas Petition challenges “not the legality of his state-court conviction or sentence, but the conditions of his confinement in state prison, ” and that such claims “are not cognizable on habeas corpus review.” (R&R at 1-2.) Although she noted that courts may sometimes reinterpret pro se habeas petitions as civil complaints, she nevertheless recommended dismissal as opposed to reinterpretation. (See id. at 2.) Magistrate Judge Bowbeer found that even if King's Habeas Petition were reinterpreted as a civil complaint, he would be required to amend it because: (1) it currently fails to state a claim for relief against any of the named respondents-turned-defendants; (2) the United States government appears to have had no involvement whatsoever in the events at issue in the litigation; and (3) given that Minnesota is not a “person, ” King cannot seek relief from the State or an administrative unit thereof-such as Minnesota Correctional Facility- Stillwater-directly under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged constitutional violations. (See id.) Moreover, Magistrate Judge Bowbeer found that if King's Habeas Petition were reinterpreted as a civil complaint, it would be subject to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), including its filing fee provisions. See generally 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b). However, the magistrate judge found, King likely did not intend to pay, or did not know of, the $350.00 filing fee required under the PLRA for all civil actions filed by prisoners. (R&R at 3.) Finally, Magistrate Judge Bowbeer found that if King's Habeas Petition were to be reinterpreted and consequently dismissed, as it would be for the aforementioned reasons, statutory provisions would threaten King's ability to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”) in the future. (See id.)

         The magistrate judge made three additional recommendations. She recommended the denial of King's Application to Proceed IFP [Doc. No. 2], the denial of his Motion for Investigation [Doc. No. 4], and the denial of a Certificate of Appealability. (Id. at 4.)

         King filed timely Objections to the R&R on May 2, 2018, triggering this de novo review.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. King Has Failed to Challenge the Fact of ...


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