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Wilson v. Kelley

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division

April 29, 2019

DETERRIUS LAMONT WILSON ADC # 148279 PETITIONER
v.
WENDY KELLEY, Director, Arkansas Department of Corrections RESPONDENT

          ORDER

         Pending before the Court is a document filed on behalf of Petitioner Deterrius Lamont Wilson (“Mr. Wilson”), who is currently incarcerated in the Grimes Unit of the Arkansas Department of Correction. Doc. 1. The Court treated the document as a 28 U.S.C. § 2254 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus. However, service is not yet appropriate due to two deficiencies.

         A. Next Friend Status

         First, the initial filing document, or “Petition, ” is signed by “Juanita Wilson, ” (“Ms. Wilson”), who identifies herself as Mr. Wilson's mother. Ms. Wilson provides no explanation for why Mr. Wilson did not sign the document filed to initiate this action.

         A habeas application must be Asigned and verified by the person for whose relief it is intended or by someone acting in his behalf.@ 28 U.S.C. § 2242; see Rule 2(c)(5), Rules Governing § 2254 Cases in United States District Courts (habeas petition must be Asigned under penalty of perjury by the petitioner or by a person authorized to sign it for the petitioner under 28 U.S.C. § 2242@). Standing to proceed as a “next friend” on behalf of a habeas petitioner “is by no means granted automatically to whomever seeks to pursue an action on behalf of another.” Whitmore v. Arkansas, 495 U.S. 149, 163 (1990). The proposed next friend bears the burden of establishing the “propriety of his status” in order to “justify the jurisdiction of the court.” Id. at 164. Two showings are required: (1) that the petitioner is unable to prosecute the habeas petition himself due to “inaccessibility, mental incompetence, or other disability, ” and (2) that the next friend is “truly dedicated to the best interest of the person on whose behalf he seeks to litigate, ” which can be established by showing “some significant relationship” between the next friend and that person. Id. at 163-64.

         Although the Court can assume, at this point, that Ms. Wilson is committed to her son's best interests, she has not demonstrated that Mr. Wilson is unable to seek relief on his own behalf. He is incarcerated in the ADC's Grimes Unit, [1] and the Court sends and receives mail from ADC prisoners on a daily basis. Thus, Ms. Wilson's request to proceed as next friend is DENIED.

         B. Insufficient Information

         Second, the “Petition” does not provide sufficient information for this Court to screen the proposed claims to determine if they should be allowed to proceed. See § 2254 Rule 2(d) (federal habeas petition “must substantially follow” standard § 2254 form); § 2254 Rule 4 (a federal court should summarily dismiss a habeas petition if it plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court”).

         The “Petition” consists of two pages, followed by copies of a Sentencing Order filed on January 3, 2019, and an Amended Sentencing Order filed on February 19, 2019, entered in State v. Wilson, Crittenden County Circuit Court No. 2009-1377 1377 (“Wilson I”).[2] The “Petition” asserts in a conclusory fashion that: (1) the sentence imposed in the Sentencing Order was “illegal”; and (2) the sentencing court never gave Mr. Wilson “the option to withdraw his guilty plea on the parole change.”

         The “Petition” fails to allege why either of these allegations rises to the level of a cognizable habeas claim.[3] See Adams v. Armontrout, 896 F.2d 332, 334 (8th Cir. 1990) (a petitioner “must state specific, particularized facts which entitle him or her to habeas corpus relief for each ground specified.”). The “Petition” also makes other allegations which are clearly inappropriate in a habeas action.[4] Finally, the “Petition” provides no information as to whether Mr. Wilson has made any effort to exhaust his state court remedies before seeking federal habeas relief.[5]

         If Mr. Wilson wishes to pursue habeas relief in connection with this matter, he must complete and submit the § 2254 form Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (Form AO 241).

         IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED THAT:

         1. Juanita Wilson's request to proceed as next friend on behalf of Mr. Wilson is DENIED.

         2. The Clerk of the Court is directed to send Mr. Wilson: (a) a blank Application to Proceed Without Prepayment of Fees and Certificate of Prisoner Account (Form AO 240); (b) a blank 28 U.S.C. § 2254 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (Form AO 241); and (c) a copy of the docket sheet and the Court's ruling in Wilson v. Kelley, No. 5:15-cv-00017-JTR, Doc. 14.

         3. If Mr. Wilson wishes to continue with this action, he must, on or before May 29, 2019, either: (a) file the completed Application to Proceed Without Prepayment of Fees (Form AO 240), including the Certificate of ...


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