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Tracy v. Murphy

United States District Court, District of Maine

September 19, 2014

PAUL DAVID TRACY, Petitioner,
v.
THE HON. MICHAELA MURPHY, et al., Respondents

Plaintiff PAUL DAVID TRACY represented by PAUL DAVID TRACY C/O GAYLE FARRIS, P.O.A.PRO SE

Respondent MICHAELA MURPHY Honorable, NORMAN CROTEAU Prosecutor, ANDREW ROBINSON Asst. Prosecutor

RECOMMENDED DECISION ON 28 U.S.C. § 2254 PETITION

John C. Nivison U.S. Magistrate Judge

Petitioner Paul David Tracy has filed a petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2254. (Petition, ECF No. 1.)[1] According to the state court judgment attached to the petition, Petitioner was convicted in state court in Maine of multiple counts of gross sexual assault and unlawful sexual contact. (Judgment, ECF No. 1-6 at 1-2.) Following a preliminary review in accordance with Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases, the recommendation is that the Court dismiss the petition without ordering the State to answer.

Petitioner challenges his present physical confinement at the Maine State Prison. (Petition at 4.) As explained below, the petition, which consists largely of general, unspecified assertions, does not state a claim. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a), a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a state court may apply to a federal district court for a writ of habeas corpus “only on the ground that he is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.” The Supreme Court has noted that “‘Congress . . . has determined that habeas corpus is the appropriate remedy for state prisoners attacking the validity of the fact or length of their confinement . . . .’” Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384, 392 (2007) (quoting Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 482 (1994)) (quotation marks omitted).[2] Petitioner does not assert that his conviction or sentence was imposed in violation of the United States Constitution or other federal law.

In addition to seeking his release from custody, Petitioner requests relief relating to his “private property interests” and “commercial rights.” He also makes allegations regarding two state court bail bond documents that he attached to the petition. To the extent that Petitioner is attempting to assert a claim regarding the financial terms of the bail bonds, such a claim is not cognizable under section 2254 because it relates to Petitioner’s property interest (i.e., money), and not Petitioner’s custody. Cf. Washington v. McQuiggin, 529 F. App’x 766, 773 (6th Cir. 2013) (noting that claims regarding “fines or restitution orders fall outside the scope of the federal habeas statute because they do not satisfy the ‘in custody’ requirement of a cognizable habeas claim”). By its terms, section 2254(a) applies only to claims relating to the right to be released from custody; it does not apply to Petitioner’s other interests such as a monetary account or other property.[3]

Conclusion

Based on the foregoing analysis, an evidentiary hearing is not warranted under Rule 8 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases. The recommendation, therefore, is (1) that the Court dismiss the petition for habeas relief under 28 U.S.C. section 2254, and (2) that the Court deny a certificate of appealability pursuant to Rule 11 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases because there is no substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2). In addition, if the Court adopts the recommendation, the further recommendation is that the Court deny Petitioner’s Motion for Instant Hearing (ECF No. 2).


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