United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
JOANNA M. SNYDER, Plaintiff,
JILL ROSENTHAL, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
Nathaniel M. Gorton United States District Judge
reasons stated below, the Court dismisses this action without
December 7, 2018, pro se litigant Joanna M. Snyder
(“Snyder”) filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 (“§ 1983”) against her
Massachusetts probation officer and her husband's federal
probation officer. See Compl. (Docket No. 1).
According to her pleading, Snyder resides in Montana,
although she previously resided in Massachusetts and served a
criminal sentence at MCI Framingham. She represents that on
August 1, 2015, prior to the termination of a period of
probation, she left Massachusetts, “absconding with
good cause.” Compl. ¶ 17. This unauthorized
departure from the state resulted in the issuance of a
Massachusetts “non-extraditable” warrant.
Id. ¶ 18.
before October 2016, Snyder married her current husband. At
the time, he was on probation (or supervised release) on a
federal conviction. Snyder's husband was reincarcerated
after a determination that his marriage to Snyder was a
violation of the terms of his supervised release. His
projected release date was scheduled for October 26, 2018.
represents that when her husband reported to his probation
officer on October 29, 2018, he was told he could live with
Snyder only if she cleared up the matter of her Massachusetts
warrant. The plaintiff maintains that her probation officer
conspired with her husband's Federal probation office to
ensure that the status of Snyder's warrant be changed
from “non-extraditable” to
“extraditable” prior to his release. This plan
was purportedly executed for the purpose of keeping the
alleges that, on November 17, 2018, she and her husband were
pulled over by law enforcement and arrested on outstanding
warrants. She is now detained at the Flathead County
Detention Center (“FCDC”) in Kalispell, Montana.
Snyder attached to her complaint a copy of a motion that she
presumably filed in the Essex Superior Court in which she
asks the court to recall the warrant against her. She also
included copies of letters from her addressed to the
Massachusetts Commissioner of Probation and the
Commonwealth's governor in which she asks that the
warrant be rescinded.
plaintiff did not pay the $400 filing fee or file a motion
for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. She did file
an inmate transaction statement from FCDC covering the
periods October 7, 2018 through October 12, 2018 and November
17, 2018 through November 26, 2018.
28 U.S.C. § 1915A, prisoner complaints in civil actions
that seek redress from a governmental entity or officers or
employees of a governmental entity are subject to a
preliminary screening. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915A(a). The Court is required to dismiss the complaint if
it is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28
U.S.C. § 1915A(b). In conducting this review, the Court
liberally construes Snyder's complaint because she is
proceeding pro se. See Haines v. Kerner,
404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972).
Snyder has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted. Snyder couches her action as one for “abuse of
position, which is causing me to suffer freedom from
religious persecution, 1st Amendment, 6th Amendment, Right to
Quick & Speedy trial, and 8th Amendment freedom from
cruel and unusual punishment.” Compl. at 1 (as in
original). However, the underlying thrust of all the
individual causes of action is the alleged illegality of her
confinement. A challenge to the fact or duration of
confinement may only be pursued through a petition of a writ
of habeas corpus. See Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S.
475, 484 (1973) (“The essence of habeas corpus is an
attack by a person in custody upon the legality of that
custody, and . . . the traditional function of the writ is to
secure release from illegal custody.”). Even assuming
the “literal applicability, ” of § 1983 to
the defendants' alleged misconduct, because Snyder is
challenging the fact of her confinement, her § 1983
claims “must yield to the more specific federal habeas
statute, with its attendant procedural and exhaustion
requirements.” Nelson v. Campbell, 541 U.S.
637, 643 (2004).
Snyder wishes to challenge the validity of her confinement in
a federal court, she may do so by bringing a petition for a
writ of habeas corpus.
this action is DISMISSED without prejudice for failure to
state a claim upon which relief can be ...