United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Southern Division
RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Russ Walker United States Magistrate Judge.
Jamar Dean, an inmate with criminal charges currently pending
against him before the Dale County District Court for
unlawful possession of a controlled substance, possession
with intent to distribute a controlled substance and
possession of drug paraphernalia, filed the instant petition
for habeas relief while confined in the Dale County
Jail. Because, at the time of filing, Dean was a
pre-trial detainee held on these charges and presented claims
relating to these charges, the court construed this habeas
petition as one filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. In this
petition, Dean presents a speedy trial claim under the Sixth
Amendment seeking timely disposition of the state criminal
charges and a preliminary hearing.
respondents filed answers in which they argue that the habeas
petition is due to be denied because Dean has not properly
exhausted his state court remedies. Doc. No. 15 at 3-5; Doc.
No. 21 at 3-6. Specifically, the law allows Dean to seek
relief from any orders issued by the trial court regarding
scheduling of a preliminary hearing and trial date by filing
a petition for writ of mandamus with the Alabama Court of
Criminal Appeals. See Ex parte Anderson, 979 So.2d
777 (Ala. 2007). If Dean is represented by counsel in the
state proceedings, counsel should file the mandamus petition
with the appellate court. Id. If unsuccessful before
the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals on his preliminary
hearing and speedy trial claims, Dean may seek mandamus
relief before the Alabama Supreme Court.
on the foregoing, the court entered an order affording Dean
an opportunity to demonstrate why this habeas petition should
not be denied as the claims raised therein are subject to
dismissal for his failure to exhaust available state
remedies. Doc. No. 22. The time for Dean to file a response
to this order expired on December 15, 2017. Id. Dean
failed to file a response to this order within the time
provided by the court.
the statutory language of § 2241 itself does not contain
a requirement that a petitioner exhaust state remedies,
… the requirements of § 2254 - including
exhaustion of state remedies - apply to” Dean as he
challenges the constitutionality of state court actions.
Dill v. Holt, 371 F.3d 1301, 1302 (11th Cir. 2004).
“‘[T]he writ of habeas corpus is a single
post-conviction remedy principally governed by two different
statutes, ' § 2241 and § 2254, with the second
of those statutes serving to limit the authority granted in
the first one. [Medberry v. Crosby, 351 F.3d 1049,
1059-1062 (11th Cir. 2003)]. For that reason, even though
[Dean] brought his petition seeking habeas relief under
§ 2241, he is nevertheless subject to § 2254's
exhaustion requirement[.]” Dill, 371 F.3d at
directs that this court shall not grant relief on a petition
for writ of habeas corpus “unless it appears that the
applicant has exhausted the remedies available in the courts
of the State.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1)(A). A
petitioner “shall not be deemed to have exhausted the
remedies available in the courts of the State, within the
meaning of this section, if he has the right under the law of
the State to raise, by any available procedure, the question
presented.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(c). In order to
exhaust his state remedies properly, a petitioner must fairly
present the alleged constitutional violations on which he
seeks relief throughout the state courts for review,
including the State's highest court. O'Sullivan
v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 828, 845 (1999). Although a speedy
trial claim is reviewable in a federal habeas action, it must
be first be exhausted in the state courts. See Brown v.
Estelle, 530 F.2d 1280, 1283 (5th Cir. 1976). The same
is true for a claim alleging lack of a preliminary hearing.
undisputed evidentiary materials filed in this case,
including the relevant state court records, establish that
Dean has not yet exhausted his available state court remedies
with respect to the preliminary hearing and speedy trial
claims presented in this petition for habeas corpus relief.
To circumvent the exhaustion requirement which applies to a
federal habeas action, a petitioner must demonstrate there is
an “absence of available state corrective
process” or “circumstances exist that render such
process ineffective to protect [his] rights.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254(b)(1)(B)(i)-(ii); see Duckworth v.
Serrano, 454 U.S. 1, 3 (1981). Dean has failed to
establish that state court remedies are unavailable or that
such remedies are ineffective. Thus, this court does not deem
it appropriate to rule on the merits of Dean's claims
without requiring that he first exhaust available state
remedies. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(1)(b)(2).
Furthermore, under principles of comity and federalism, a
federal court should abstain from intervening in a state
criminal prosecution until all state criminal proceedings are
completed and a petitioner exhausts [all] available state
remedies, unless the petitioner demonstrates (1) evidence of
bad faith prosecution, (2) irreparable injury if abstention
is exercised by the federal court, or (3) the absence of an
adequate alternative state forum where the constitutional
issues can be raised. Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S.
37, 44-46 & 53-54 (1971); see Braden, 410 U.S.
at 489; Hughes v. Att'y Gen. of Fla., 377 F.3d
1258, 1263 (11th Cir.2004). “[O]nly in the most unusual
circumstances is a defendant entitled to have federal
interposition by way of injunction or habeas corpus until
after the jury comes in, judgment has been appealed from and
the case concluded in the state courts.” Drury v.
Cox, 457 F.2d 764, 764-65 (9th Cir.1972). Absent such
exceptional circumstances, a pretrial detainee may not
adjudicate the merits of his constitutional claims before a
judgment of conviction has been entered by a state court.
Braden, 410 U.S. at 489. “Derailing of a
pending state proceeding by an attempt to litigate
constitutional defenses prematurely in federal court”
is not allowed. Id. at 493. Federal habeas relief
should not be used as a “pretrial motion forum for
state prisoners.” Id.
[The petitioner] has not alleged facts showing that his
prosecution is motivated by bad faith, nor has he alleged
facts entitling him to review under the “irreparable
injury” exception. See Younger, 401 U.S. at
53-54 (citing Watson v. Buck, 313 U.S. 387, 402
(1941) (finding that irreparable injury exists if the statute
under which a defendant is being prosecuted is
“flagrantly and patently violative of express
constitutional prohibitions in every clause, sentence and
paragraph, and in whatever manner and against whomever an
effort might be made to apply it” or if unusual
circumstances exist that would call for equitable relief);
Carden v. Montana, 626 F.2d 82, 84 (9th Cir. 1980)
(“Only in cases of proven harassment or prosecutions
undertaken by state officials in bad faith without hope of
obtaining a valid conviction and perhaps in other
extraordinary circumstances where irreparable injury can be
shown is federal injunctive relief against pending state
prosecutions appropriate.”). Finally, [as discussed
above, the petitioner] fails to show that he has no available
state corrective process, and he presents no argument that
would warrant federal court interference in the normal
functioning of the state's criminal processes.
Alabama's state courts have adequate and effective state
procedures for review of [the petitioner's]
constitutional claims either before trial or, in the event
[the petitioner] is convicted, through appellate and
For the reasons noted above, this court concludes that [the
petitioner] has not shown that he should be excused from the
exhaustion requirement. He has not shown an absence of
available state corrective process or that exceptional
circumstances exist that render such process ineffective and
that would warrant federal intrusion at this juncture.
Accordingly, pretrial habeas interference by this court is
not authorized in this case. See Braden, 410 U.S. at
493. After exhausting available state remedies, [the
petitioner] may pursue federal habeas proceedings.
Robinson v. Hughes, Civil Action No.
1:11-CV-841-TMH, 2012 WL 255759, at *2-3 (M.D. Ala. Jan. 5,
2012), Recommendation adopted (Jan. 27, 2012).
light of the foregoing, the court concludes that Dean must
first exhaust his available state court remedies on the
claims presented herein prior to seeking habeas relief in