The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chief Judge Curtis L. Collier
Bruce Edward Lawson ("Lawson"), a pro se prisoner, has filed an incomplete application to proceed in forma pauperis (Court File No. 1); a document entitled complaint (Court file No. 3); and a document entitled Petition of Habeas Corpus Ad Subjiciendum (Court File No. 3).*fn1 As it does not appear that Lawson has sufficient funds to pay a filing fee, the application to proceed in forma pauperis will be GRANTED (Court File No.1). For the reasons explained below the complaint and petition will be DISMISSED.
On April 12, 2005, a judgment of conviction was entered against Lawson in Criminal Case No. 1:04-cr-137 after he pleaded guilty to a Two Count indictment. Lawson pursued a direct appeal and the judgment of conviction was affirmed by the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. United States v. Lawson, No. 05-5598, 2006 WL 1538889 (6th Cir. June 5, 2006), cert. denied, 127 S.Ct. 426 (2006). Lawson moved for post-conviction relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 and the case is presently pending in this district. Lawson v. United States, Civil Action No. 1:07-cv-199 (E.D. Tenn.). Lawson subsequently filed a petition entitled Habeas Corpus Ad Subjiciendum challenging his imprisonment. The petition was dismissed in November of 2007 due to Lawson's failure to comply with the Court's Order requiring him to submit facts and legal grounds establishing his detention was illegal. See Lawson v. United States, Civil Action No. 1:07-cv-244 (E.D. Tenn. Nov. 29, 2007).
The complaint and petition filed by Lawson to amend his habeas petition in Civil Action No. 1:07-cv-244 (E.D. Tenn. 2007), are the same documents filed in this case. Just as the Court found in the previous habeas case, these unusual documents are difficult to decipher and mostly unintelligible. Lawson files his complaint pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4001(a) which provides that "[n]o citizen shall be imprisoned or otherwise detained by the United States except pursuant to an Act of Congress." In this complaint Lawson refers to the Tennessee Constitution and the United States Constitution and claims his prosecution was unlawful, improper, and unconstitutional. Lawson claims his conviction is somehow fraudulent and that he was falsely arrested and unlawfully incarcerated. Lawson, however, has failed to submit any facts to support these conclusions. Lawson's petition, identified as a Petition of Habeas Corpus Ad Subjiciendum, contains to decipherable claims.
The present complaint and petition are clearly duplicative of the supplemental complaint and petition filed in Civil Case No. 1:07-cv-244, as they are xerox copies of the complaint and petition filed in Civil Case No. 1:07-cv-244. These documents are frivolous, indecipherable, and have no legal validity. Petitioner's identical complaint and petition for federal habeas corpus relief in Civil Case No. 1:07-cv-244 was dismissed for failing to comply with the Court's order requiring submission of facts and legal grounds establishing the illegality of Lawson's current detention. Bruce Lawson v. United States, Civil Action No. 1:07-cv-244 (E.D. Tenn. Nov. 29, 2007) (Court File Nos. 3-5). Likewise, this complaint and petition fail to identify any facts or legal grounds establishing the illegality of Lawson's conviction or his current detention. It is within a district court's power to dismiss a suit that is duplicative of another federal court suit. See Colorado River Water Conservation Dist. v. United States, 424 U.S. 800, 817 (1976) (the general principle is to avoid duplicative litigation); Friends of the Earth, Inc. v. Crown Central Petroleum Corp., 95 F.3d 358, 362 (5th Cir. 1996) ("A district court has the authority to dismiss a duplicative claim filed by the same plaintiff"); Oliney v.Gardner, 771 F.2d 856, 859 (5th Cir. 1985) (A second complaint alleging the same cause of action as a prior complaint may be dismissed).
In addition to being indecipherable and frivolous, the Court concludes this case will be dismissed as this case is duplicative of the earlier suit, Civil Action No. 1:07-cv-244 (E.D. Tenn. Nov. 29, 2007). See Peoples v. Reno, 230 F.3d 1359 (6th Cir. Sept. 26, 2000) (unpublished table decision), available in 2000 WL 1477502 (affirming the dismissal of a case as duplicative of an earlier action). Accordingly, this petition will be sua sponte DISMISSED as DUPLICATIVE of Civil Case No. 1:07-cv-244 and alternatively as frivolous and indecipherable.
An appropriate judgment will enter.
CURTIS L. COLLIER CHIEF UNITED STATES ...