United States District Court, District of Columbia
E. BOASBERG United States District Judge
March 25, 2016, Plaintiff Gerald Henneghan brought this
pro se action on behalf of himself and, purportedly,
his minor child, asserting a variety of constitutional claims
against officials and judges in the District of Columbia.
See ECF No. 1 (Complaint). In his Complaint,
Henneghan primarily asks this Court to order a United States
Marshal to locate and return his minor son to his custody, as
Defendants have taken him in furtherance of their
“Black Supremacists, Black Supremacy Sympathizers and
Socialists” political ideology. Id.,
¶¶ 16, 17. He focuses on Defendants' alleged
efforts to unconstitutionally deprive him and his son (as
well as other children) of their right to familial integrity
by “kidnapping” his son from a public library on
July 26, 2012, placing the child in foster care, and denying
claims prosecuted by Henneghan in an effort to reunite with
the child. Id., ¶¶ 19-76, 83 & Exhs.
A-H. As Plaintiff has refused to pay the requisite filing fee
for this case or petition to proceed in forma
pauperis in this Court, despite repeated Court orders
directing that he do so, the Court will now dismiss this
action without prejudice to its refiling.
history of this action is short in the telling. Because
Plaintiff described himself to be seeking a writ of habeas
corpus, he paid only the $5 filing fee required for such a
claim, rather than the larger fee necessary for filing a
general civil case. Id. The Court, after reviewing
the Complaint and two of his subsequently filed
“Emergency Ex Parte Motions” seeking the same
relief, informed him that this was “not a true habeas
action” and, as a result, ordered that “he must
pay the balance of the filing fee ($395) or file a motion
seeking leave to proceed in forma pauperis.”
Minute Order of May 20, 2016. Plaintiff did not subsequently
pay the filing fee or petition for IFP status, but chose
instead to unsuccessfully appeal that Order to the Court of
Appeals. See ECF Nos. 5, 6. After the D.C. Circuit
dismissed that appeal, this Court renewed its Order that
Henneghan either pay his filing fee or file a motion to
proceed IFP by December 29, 2016, warning that his
“[f]ailure to do so would result in dismissal [of his
action] without prejudice.” Minute Order of Dec. 8,
Court must now fulfill that promise as Henneghan has still
not taken either of the ordered actions. As the Court has
explained, this case is not truly a habeas action, but,
instead, asserts a litany of civil-rights claims to vindicate
alleged constitutional wrongs committed by officials and
judges in the District of Columbia. By contrast, “the
essence of habeas corpus is an attack by a person in
custody upon the legality of that custody.”
Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 484 (1973)
(emphasis added); see Boumediene v. Bush, 553 U.S.
723, 739-46 (2008) (describing history and purpose of habeas
corpus as a means for detainee to challenge legality of his
detention in judicial forum). Henneghan never alleges that he
is in custody. Nor do Henneghan's efforts to seek,
inter alia, access to state-agency documents related
to his son's child-protective case sound in such a vein.
extent that he means to assert that his son is in state
custody and thus to launch a collateral attack on the
state-court judgment placing him in foster care, the federal
habeas statute does not confer jurisdiction on this Court to
consider such a claim. Lehman v. Lycoming Cty.
Children's Servs. Agency, 458 U.S. 502, 515-16
(1982) (holding federal habeas statute does not confer
jurisdiction to review state-court judgment of child's
placement in foster care); Jacobson v. Summit Cty.
Children Servs. Bd., 202 F. App'x 88, 90 (6th Cir.
2006) (holding, under Lehman, federal courts do not
have jurisdiction to review state court's placement of
children in foster care by means of habeas-corpus
application); Middleton v. ...