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FULWOOD v. ALEXANDER

April 28, 1967

William T. X. FULWOOD
v.
Myrl ALEXANDER, Director, Federal Bureau of Prisons, and Jacob J. Parker, Warden, United States Penitentiary, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania



The opinion of the court was delivered by: FOLLMER

 FOLLMER, District Judge.

 William T. X. Fulwood, a prisoner at the United States Penitentiary, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, originally filed this action, in forma pauperis, in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Subsequently the cause was transferred to this district. Although Fulwood designated this as a petition for writ of habeas corpus, it appears to be an action in the nature of mandamus under 28 U.S.C. § 1361. Service of process has been made and the defendants have filed an answer, with certain documents attached as exhibits, and request that judgment be entered in their favor.

 Fulwood's complaint is divided into six numbered paragraphs. Each of these paragraphs will be discussed separately. Since the plaintiff is an inmate of a penal institution, the normal legal niceties are lacking. Accordingly, the complaint will be given a reasonably liberal reading in ascertaining whether claims have been stated upon which relief could be granted. Roberts v. Pegelow, 313 F.2d 548, 550 (4th Cir. 1963); Long v. Katzenbach, 258 F. Supp. 89, 91 (M.D.Pa.1966).

 In the first paragraph Fulwood states that on May 12, 1966, he was returned to the Lewisburg Penitentiary. Upon his arrival, his personal property was taken by the prison authorities. On May 31, 1966, he received a memorandum stating he could obtain his property which was approved, which property Fulwood received on June 1, 1966.

 Exhibit B-1 of the defendants' answer shows that all personal property, except certain specifically designated religious articles were kept by or returned to Fulwood on the date of his readmission to the penitentiary. On May 17, 1966, according to defendants' Exhibit B-2, Fulwood was advised he could have certain religious books and a letter from Elijah Muhammad. Defendants' Exhibit B-3 lists the property approved for his personal use and requests that he pick up the material if it is desired. Apparently this is the property which Fulwood admits was returned.

 It is clear that there is nothing to the allegations contained in the first paragraph. Obviously, the prison authorities, in maintaining effective prison security, have the right to examine the property of a prisoner entering the institution to ascertain whether there is any contraband therein. Moreover, it does not appear that there is anything about which to complain, thus there is no duty owed to the plaintiff under 28 U.S.C. § 1361.

 Fulwood alleges in the second paragraph of the complaint that he had an argument with the Chaplain. It is impossible to determine what the exact nature of his complaint is in this regard. Moreover, it is not at all apparent what this has to do with the named defendants. There is nothing stated in the second paragraph upon which relief could be granted.

 In the third paragraph of the complaint Fulwood claims that a newspaper clipping was taken from him by an officer who informed him that it was contraband. He further claims that he has been unsuccessful in obtaining a copy of the rules and regulations of the penitentiary in this regard.

 In 18 U.S.C. § 1791, the statute dealing with traffic in contraband articles, it is provided as follows:

 
"Whoever, contrary to any rule or regulation promulgated by the Attorney General, introduces or attempts to introduce into or upon the grounds of any Federal penal or correctional institution or takes or attempts to take or send therefrom any thing whatsoever, shall be imprisoned not more than ten years."

 The applicable regulation, 28 C.F.R. § 6.1 provides:

 
"The introduction or attempt to introduce into or upon the grounds of any Federal penal or correctional institution or the taking or attempt to take or send therefrom anything whatsoever without the knowledge and consent of the warden or superintendent of such Federal penal or correctional institution is prohibited."

 In regard to 18 U.S.C. § 1791 and 28 C.F.R. § 6.1, it is stated in Carter v. United States, 333 F.2d 354, 355-356 ...


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