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Schipke v. Faucher

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

January 18, 2017

STEVE FAUCHER, Respondent.




         Petitioner Mary Elizabeth Schipke ("Schipke") was confined at York Correctional Institution ("York") when she filed this habeas petition. She challenges her detention in state prison pursuant to her arrest by Meriden police officers and seeks numerous other forms of relief.[1] For the reasons set forth below, the Petition (Doc. No. 1) is TERMINATED AS MOOT, and each of the pending Motions (Doc Nos. 3, 4, 5, 6, 11, 14) is DISMISSED and/or TERMINATED AS MOOT.


         Schipke claims that she inherited the house and piece of property located at 129 Goodwill Avenue in Meriden, Connecticut. See Writ of Habeas Corpus Pet. to Challenge Illegal Detention (“Petition”) (Doc. No. 1) at 1.[2] On November 25, 2016, she arrived at the house and unpacked her things. Id. At some point the next day, three Meriden police officers walked up to the front porch and demanded to know why Schipke was there. See id. The officers placed Schipke under arrest for trespassing and burglary, handcuffed her, dragged her to a police car, and threw her in the back seat. See id. at 1-2. While moving Schipke from the porch to the police car, the police officers severely injured Schipke's chest. See id. Despite her injury, the police officers brought Schipke to the Meriden jail, where she was photographed, fingerprinted, and placed in a freezing and filthy cell. See id. at 2.

         The officers denied Schipke the ability to bail herself out of jail and to make an uninterrupted telephone call. See id. Schipke remained at the police station for two days. See id. The officers denied her a medical diet and refused to provide her with a blanket, a mattress, or a jacket. See id. On November 28, 2016, a Superior Court judge arraigned Schipke and set bond at $500.00. See id. Because Schipke could not make bond, police officials transported her to York. See id. at 3.

         Prison officials at York denied Schipke a medical diet, purified water, and her reading glasses. See id. Schipke seeks to be released from prison, the immediate return of her truck, trailer, and possessions by the police, an order prohibiting the sale or destruction of her family home in Meriden, an order that she be provided with her medical diet and purified water, and an order requiring that the prison afford her law library access. See id. at 4.

         In addition to filing a habeas petition, Schipke has filed six motions seeking injunctive relief. See generally Mot. for Immediate Ct. Order for Special Medical Diet Foods & Bottled Water for Def. under ADA/ADAAA & Other Orders (“Food Mot.”) (Doc. No. 3); Emergency Mot. to Stay All State Ct. Proceedings & Sale of Schipke House (“Property Mot.”) (Doc. No. 4); Mot. for Emergency Restraining Order Against YCI Mental Health Dep't (“Medication Mot.”) (Doc. No. 5); Mot. for Ct. Order for Relief from Pain of Hunger & Physical Pain (“Private Att'y Gen. Mot.”) (Doc. No. 6); Mot. for Immediate Ct. Hr'g under Writ of Habeas Corpus (“Hearing Mot.”) (Doc. No. 11); Mot. for Immediate Ct. Protection from Escalating Civil Rights Violations (“Escalating Violations Mot.”) (Doc. No. 14). The relief sought in the Motions is substantially identical to the relief sought in the petition for a writ of habeas corpus, with the additional requests that the court enjoin York employees from forcing her to take certain medications, see Medication Mot. at 1-2, and provide injunctive relief related to alleged Eighth Amendment violations at York, [3] see Private Att'y Gen. Mot. at 1-2.


         As a preliminary matter, the court has become aware that Schipke is no longer confined at York or any other Connecticut prison facility. Offender Information Search, Conn. Dep't of Corr., (last visited January 13, 2017) (generating no results after entering Schipke's inmate number-418087-and clicking “Search All Inmates”); Escalating Violations Mot. at 7 (referring to release). Accordingly, the relief sought by Schipke with regard to her release from York and the conditions of confinement at that facility is now moot.[4]

         The relief sought by Schipke with regard to the sale of her family home and the return of her possessions and vehicles that were confiscated by the police are not the types of relief that are cognizable in a habeas petition. See Price v. Johnson, 334 U.S. 266, 291 (1948) (“The primary purpose of a habeas corpus proceeding is to make certain that a [person] is not unjustly imprisoned.”), abrogation on other grounds recognized by McCleskey v. Zant, 499 U.S. 467, 482 (1991). With regard to Schipke's seized possessions and vehicles, the appropriate course of action would be to file a motion for return of seized property in state court. See Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-36a.[5]

         Schipke mentions that her aunt, who lived in the home located at 129 Goodwill Avenue in Meriden, Connecticut, passed away on August 31, 2016. See Petition at 1. Schipke contends that she is the sole heir to the property and believes that someone is attempting to sell the house and the property to a church that is located next door to the property. See id. at 3. To the extent that the estate of Schipke's aunt is in probate, this court has no subject matter jurisdiction to entertain an action that would interfere with a probate court's control over property that is in the probate court's custody. See Marshall v. Marshall, 547 U.S. 293, 311-12 (2006). The probate exception bars a federal court from doing anything to administer a will or to “disturb or affect the possession of property in the custody of a state court.” Id. at 310 (quoting Markham v. Allen, 326 U.S. 490, 494 (1946)).


         For the reasons set forth above, the Petition (Doc. No. 1) is TERMINATED AS MOOT. The Motions (Doc. Nos. 3, 4, 5, 6, 11, 14) seeking various forms of injunctive relief are TERMINATED AS MOOT, to the extent they seek relief related to allegedly unlawful prison conditions, and DISMISSED without prejudice, to the extent they seek injunctive relief that is not cognizable in ...

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