United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
A. DOOLEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Douglas George Martin (“Martin”), filed this
complaint pro se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Martin
contends that, when his sentence concluded, he was sent to
the Sierra Pretrial Program instead of being released. By
this action. the defendants violated his First and Eighth
Amendment rights. Martin names three defendants, Supervisor
of Probations Jeffery Mejias, Commissioner of Corrections
John Doe, and Tony Connection Inc. He seeks an
order releasing him from the Sierra Pretrial Program and $1,
000 for each day he was in the program. The complaint was
received on July 17, 2019, and Martin's motion to proceed
in forma pauperis was granted on July 25, 2019.
section 1915A of title 28 of the United States Code, the
Court must review prisoner civil complaints and dismiss any
portion of the complaint that is frivolous or malicious, that
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or
that seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune
from such relief. Id. In reviewing a pro se
complaint, the Court must assume the truth of the
allegations, and interpret them liberally to “raise the
strongest arguments [they] suggest.” Abbas v.
Dixon, 480 F.3d 636, 639 (2d Cir. 2007). see also
Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir. 2010)
(discussing special rules of solicitude for pro se
litigants). Although detailed allegations are not required,
the complaint must include sufficient facts to afford the
defendants fair notice of the claims and the grounds upon
which they are based and to demonstrate a right to relief.
Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56
(2007). Conclusory allegations are not sufficient.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The
plaintiff must plead “enough facts to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.
was serving a sentence of one year and four days. Doc. No. 1
at 5. Martin's sentence concluded on April 5, 2019. He
was not released. Instead, he was sent to a pretrial program
run by the Department of Correction. Id. at 4.
Miriam Mendoza works at Sierra Pretrial Program. Defendant
Jeffery Mejias is her supervisor. He instructed staff to open
Martin's incoming and outgoing mail. Id. Martin
cannot go outdoors without a supervisor. Id. at 4-5.
Mendoza has instructed staff to open Martin's incoming
and outgoing mail and threatened to put a bracelet on Martin
if he continued to complain. Id. at 5.
initial matter, the Court cannot entertain Martin's
request that the court order his release, as such relief is
only available through a habeas corpus petition. Generally,
habeas corpus is used to challenge the fact or duration of
confinement while a civil rights action is used to challenge
the conditions of that confinement. See Preiser v.
Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 484 & 499 n.14 (1973)
(challenge to fact or duration of confinement must be made in
petition for writ of habeas corpus, but challenge to
conditions of confinement could be simultaneously litigated
in section 1983 action). Martin alleges that he is being
confined beyond the expiration of his sentence in a facility
operated by the Department of Correction and at the direction
of the Department of Correction. The relief he seeks, Court
ordered release, is directed to this allegedly
unconstitutional confinement. Assuming Martin's
allegation that his confinement is by order of the Department
of Correction is true, Martin's request for release must
be asserted in a petition for writ of habeas corpus. It is
not cognizable in a section 1983 action. Accord Duncan v.
Walker, 533 U.S. 167, 176 (2001) (habeas corpus used to
challenge state court order of civil commitment or state
court order of civil contempt); Pollack v.
Holanchock, No. 10 CV 2402(RPP), 2011 WL 4867558, at *4
(S.D.N.Y. Oct. 13, 2011) (acknowledging ability of persons in
facility operated by New York State Office of Mental Health
to file habeas petition challenging detention in that
facility). Martin's request for release is dismissed.
also seeks damages in the amount of $1, 000.00 per day for
each day he was held at the Sierra Center beyond the end of
his sentence. The Court considers this a claim for false
imprisonment. “There is no privilege in a jailer to
keep a prisoner in jail beyond the period of his lawful
sentence * * * The fact that the jailer is without personal
knowledge that the prisoner is held unlawfully does not
constitute a defense to an action for false
imprisonment.” Sostre v. Rockefeller, 312
F.Supp. 863, 888 (S.D.N.Y. 1970) (internal quotation marks
and citation omitted), aff'd in part, rev'd in
part on other grounds sub nom. Sostre v. McGinnis, 442
F.2d 178 (2d Cir. 1971).
Supreme Court has held that, if a determination favorable to
the plaintiff in a section 1983 action “would
necessarily imply the invalidity of his conviction or
sentence, ” the plaintiff must show that the conviction
or sentence has been reversed on direct appeal or declared
invalid before he can recover damages for false imprisonment
under section 1983. Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477,
486-87 (1994). Martin alleges that he fully served his
sentence. Thus, this claim, based on actions
occurring after the conclusion of the sentence, does not
implicate the validity of Martin's conviction or
sentence. Martin's claim for damages may proceed. See
Lawhorn v. Algarin, No. 16-CV-6336-FPG, 2018 WL 1046794,
at *5 (W.D.N.Y. Feb. 26, 2018) (determining that
Heck did not bar claim for unlawful detention prior