United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Talwani United States District Judge.
reasons set forth below, the Court denies the petition for a
writ of habeas corpus.
December 24, 2015, Frederick Banks filed a petition for a
writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241,
purportedly on behalf of Philip Chism. Banks is a federal
pretrial detainee who is facing charges of interstate
stalking. See United States v. Banks, Grim.
No. 15-00168 (W.D. Pa.). Philip Chism was convicted in
Massachusetts of murder and other crimes. He was represented
by counsel and was awaiting sentencing at time Banks
commenced this action. See Commonwealth v.
Chism, 1377CR01446, 1477CR00109 (Essex Sup. Ct.
contends that Chism is being held in violation of federal law
because he committed his crimes while under the control of
"extreme electronic harassment by operators of the
CIA." Pet. (D. 1) ¶ 2(a). Banks maintains that he
has standmg to bring this petition as "next friend"
to Chism because he is also a "victim of electronic
harassment." Id. ¶ 7.
petition has not been served pending the Court's initial
review of the action. See 28 U.S.C. § 2243
(providing that, if "it appears from the application
[for a writ of habeas corpus] that the applicant... is not
entitled [to the writ], " the district court is not
required to serve the petition on the respondent).
Absence of "Next Friend" Status
Court cannot adjudicate the substance of the petition because
Banks does not qualify as a "next friend" of Chism.
A petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed in a federal
court "shall be in writing signed and verified by the
person for whose relief it is intended or by someone
acting in his behalf.'' 28 U.S.C. § 2242
para. 1 (emphasis added). However, "*next friend'
standing 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). A "next fiiend" must (1) provide an
"adequate explanation ... why the real party interest
cannot appear on his own behalf to prosecute the
action"; and (2) be "truly dedicated to the best
interests of the person on whose behalf he seeks to
litigate." Id. "The burden is on the
'next friend' clearly to establish the propriety of
his status and thereby justify the jurisdiction of the
court." Id. at 164. It "was not intended
that the writ of habeas corpus should be availed of, as
matter of course, by intruders or uninvited meddlers, styling
themselves next friends." Id. (quoting
United States ex rel. Bryant v. Houston,
273 F. 915, 916 (2d. Cir. 1921)).
Banks has not shown that he is a "next friend" to
Chism. Banks has not provided an adequate explanation as to
why Chism, who is represented by counsel, cannot appear on
his own behalf. Likewise, he has not demonstrated that he is
"truly dedicated" to Chism's interests.
Banks's assertion that he and Chism are both victims of
electronic harassment by government officials is insufficient
to meet this requirement. Further, even if Banks qualified as
a "next friend, " Banks could only bring this case
through an attorney. See 28 U.S.C, § 1654
(providing that "parties may plead and conduct their own
cases personally or by counsel"); see also
Herrera-Venegas v. Sanchez-Rivera, 681 F.2d 41,
42 (1st Cir. 1982) ("The federal courts have
consistently rejected attempts at third-party lay
representation By law an individual may appear in federal
courts only pro se or through legal counsel." (citations
Warning of Possible Sanctions
attempt to proceed as "next fiiend" to a
Massachusetts criminal defendant is part of a pattern of
frivolous litigation that Banks has pursued throughout the
federal district courts of this country. One federal district
court reported recently reported that Banks has filed over
205 cases "dismissed as frivolous at the pleading
stage" in eighteen federal district courts. Banks
v. Valaluka, C.A. No. 15-01935, 2015 WL
7430077, at *1 (N.D. Ohio, Nov. 18, 2015). "When courts
began to dismiss his civil actions under § 1915(g),
Banks attempted to circumvent the statute by filing habeas
petitions under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 or petitions for writs
of mandamus to assert various civil rights violations."
Id. Banks has also "expanded his efforts by
filing cases and motions on behalf of other prisoners, often
without their knowledge or consent." Id., 2015
WL 7430077, at *2.
2008, Banks filed an action in the District of Massachusetts
concerning the alleged theft of his property by President
George Bush and others. Noting his history of filing
fiivolous actions, the Court dismissed the action under 28
U.S.C. § 1915(g). See Banks v.
Sutherland, C.A. No. 08-10880-JLT (D. Mass. May 28,
is warned that, should he continue a course of abusive
litigation in the Federal District Court for the District of
Massachusetts, he could be subject to sanctions, including