United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
D. Mariani United States District Judge
January 3, 2017, Plaintiff Aaron Taylor
("Plaintiff"), a former inmate housed at the
Dauphin County Prison, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania,
initiated this civil rights action pursuant 42 U.S.C. §
1983, challenging his underlying criminal case. (Doc. 1). At
the same time he filed the complaint, Plaintiff filed a
motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc.
2). An initial screening of the complaint has been conducted,
and for the reasons set forth below, the motion to proceed
in forma pauperis will be granted, and the complaint
will be dismissed.
Screening Provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform
Prison Litigation Reform Act, Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat.
1321 (April 26, 1996), authorizes a district court to review
a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner is
proceeding in forma pauperis or seeks redress
against a governmental employee or entity. See 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2),  28 U.S.C. §
1915A. The Court is required to identify
cognizable claims and to sua sponte dismiss any
claim that is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief
from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
This initial screening is to be done as soon as practicable
and need not await service of process. See 28 U.S.C.
civil rights action, Plaintiff challenges his underlying
criminal proceedings from the Dauphin County Court of Common
Pleas. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff alleges that he was not afforded a
fair criminal trial, he did not receive a "payment
determination hearing, " he was incarcerated without
bail and without mental health treatment, the District Judge
had "no rights" to commit him, and his caseworker
did not provide support during his incarceration.
[Id. at pp. 2-3).
relief, Plaintiff seeks release from the Dauphin County
Prison, release of his car from the Pennsylvania State
Police, and monetary relief. (Id. at p. 3).
seeking to impose liability due to the deprivation of any
rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution
and laws, the appropriate remedy is a civil rights action.
See Learner v. Fauver, 288 F.3d 532, 540 (3d Cir.
2002). However, when a prisoner challenges either the fact or
duration of his confinement, the appropriate remedy is a
petition for writ of habeas corpus. Preiser v.
Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 45, 494 (1973); Tedford v.
Hepting, 990 F.2d 745, 748 (3d Cir. 1993). "The
underlying purpose of proceedings under the 'Great
Writ' of habeas corpus has traditionally been to
'inquire into the legality of the detention, and the only
judicial relief authorized was the discharge of the prisoner
or his admission to bail, and that only if his detention were
found to be unlawful.'" Learner, 288 F.3d
at 540 (quoting Powers of Congress and the Court
Regarding the Availability and Scope of Review, 114
Harv.LRev. 1551, 1553(2001)).
review of the complaint reveals that Plaintiff does not seek
relief based on the deprivation of certain rights and
privileges. Rather, he seeks immediate release from custody
and challenges the legality of his incarceration. It is
well-settled that prisoners cannot use § 1983 to
challenge the fact or duration of their confinement or to
seek immediate or speedier release. See Preiser, 411
U.S. 475. Because Plaintiff is seeking immediate release from
custody and challenging the legality of his incarceration,
the appropriate remedy is a petition for writ of habeas
corpus. See Learner, 288 F.3d at 540 (federal habeas
corpus review is available where the deprivation of rights
"impacts the fact or length of detention").
Consequently, the complaint will be dismissed without
prejudice to any right Plaintiff may have to reassert his
present claims in a properly filed habeas
petition. See Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544
U.S. 74, 81 (2005) (stating that inmates should use habeas
corpus when they seek to invalidate the duration of
confinement directly or indirectly).
reasons set forth above, the complaint will be dismissed
without prejudice. A separate order shall issue.