United States District Court, D. Minnesota
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Bowbeer United States Magistrate Judge
David Earl Wattleton “was indicted for making bomb
threats, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 844(e)” in
the United States District Court for the Northern District of
Georgia, “and the jury rendered an insanity
verdict.” United States v. Wattleton, 296 F.3d
1184, 1187 (11th Cir. 2002). Since that time, Wattleton has
been civilly committed pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4243; he
is presently detained at the Federal Medical Center in
Rochester, Minnesota (“FMC-Rochester”). Wattleton
has filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus seeking
release from detention or, barring that, transfer to a
less-restrictive facility. That petition is now before the
Court pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254
Cases in the United States District Courts.
habeas petition is, in large part, a repeat of a petition he
filed in this District only months ago. See Wattleton v.
Paul, No. 18-CV-3033 (DSD/LIB), 2018 WL 6815059 (D.
Minn. Nov. 29, 2018); R. & R. adopted, 2018 WL
6807393 (D. Minn. Dec. 27, 2018). Nothing about the relevant
law has changed in the meantime. As explained to Wattleton
previously, under the well-established case law of this
circuit, a petitioner “may not collaterally attack his
decision to assert a successful insanity defense.”
Archuleta v. Hedrick, 365 F.3d 644, 648 (8th Cir.
2004) (citing Curry v. Overholser, 287 F.2d 137,
139-40 (D.C. Cir. 1960)). Thus, Wattleton simply cannot use a
petition for a writ of habeas corpus to challenge his
verdict. To the extent that Wattleton believes he is entitled
to release for reasons other than the invalidity of his
verdict, a vehicle for that remedy remains available to him:
a motion brought pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4247(h) in the
Northern District of Georgia. Id. at 648-49.
Finally, insofar as Wattleton believes that these conclusions
are incorrect, the answer is not to file duplicative habeas
petitions, but instead to file an appeal from the dismissal
of the habeas petition. Wattleton may not simply return to
federal district court on repetitive habeas claims until he
receives an answer to his liking. See also Kuhlmann v.
Wilson, 477 U.S. 436, 444 n.6 (1986) (plurality opinion)
(“[W]here a prisoner files a petition raising grounds
that were available but not relied upon in a prior petition,
or engages in other conduct that disentitles him to the
relief he seeks, the federal court may dismiss the subsequent
petition on the ground that the prisoner has abused the
writ” (quotation omitted).).
request for a transfer, by contrast, is not substantively
duplicative of Wattleton's most recent prior habeas
litigation. Nevertheless, this claim also fails. Wattleton
contends that conditions at FMC-Rochester are sufficiently
dire as to render it not a “suitable facility”
for purposes of 18 U.S.C. § 4247(a)(2). But
Wattleton's gripes with the conditions at FMC-Rochester
are exceedingly minor (see Pet. at 5 [Doc. No. 1])
(“He alleges that certain prison officials have been
engaged in a shame trolling scheme aimed at annoying,
bothering, and distressing petitioner. In other instances
petitioner has been subjected to hypervigilant behavior
monitoring. Nothing petitoiner [sic] does or says is benign,
everything that petitioner complains about is banal.”),
and by his own account, Wattleton's complaints extend to
only a single living unit at FMC-Rochester (see id.)
Even assuming that every allegation in the petition is true,
Wattleton has fallen far short of demonstrating that
FMC-Rochester is not a “suitable facility” within
the meaning of § 4247(a)(2).
the Court recommends that the petition for a writ of habeas
corpus be denied. Wattleton's application to proceed
in forma pauperis may also be denied, based on that
recommendation. See Kruger v. Erickson, 77 F.3d
1071, 1074 n.3 (8th Cir. 1996).
on the foregoing, and on all of the files, records, and
proceedings herein, IT IS HEREBY RECOMMENDED
David Earl Wattleton's petition for a writ of habeas
corpus of [Doc. No. 1] be DENIED; and
Wattleton's application to proceed in forma
pauperis [Doc. No. 2] be DENIED.
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. See Local
Rule 72.2(b)(2). All objections and responses must comply
with the word or line limits set forth in Local Rule 72.2(c).