United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
CHARLES S. COODY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
cause is before the court on a petition for habeas corpus
relief filed by Petitioner Nkosi Chamberlain
[“Chamberlain”]. Chamberlain is an inmate
incarcerated at the Pike County Jail in Troy, Alabama. In the
instant 28 U.S.C. § 2241 application, Chamberlain
challenges his detention for a year without indictment and
without being granted a reasonable bond, contends he is being
denied his right to a speedy trial, and maintains he is being
subjected to a racially selective prosecution in violation of
right to equal protection. Chamberlain seeks dismissal of the
charges against him, relief from excessive bond, or pre-trial
release Doc. 1.
response filed November 6, 2017, Respondent asserts
Chamberlain has failed to exhaust available state remedies
regarding each claim pending before this court. Specifically,
Respondent asserts that on June 3, 2016, three arrest
warrants were issued against Chamberlain charging him with
drug offenses. He was arrested on the charges on October 19,
2016. On October 21, 2016, the District Court for Pike County
set Chamberlain's appearance bond at $252, 500. On
November 29, 2016, Chamberlain, through counsel, waived his
preliminary hearing and his case was bound over to the Pike
County Grand Jury. The charges against Chamberlain remain
pending. Respondent maintain Chamberlain's claims may
properly be brought in the pending state court action which
can address the issues raised by him in this case. Docs. 8,
8-1, 8-2, 8-5, 8-8; Docs. 9, 9-10, 9-11, 9-12.
light of this argument, the court entered an order affording
Chamberlain an opportunity to show cause why this habeas
petition should not be dismissed for his failure to exhaust
available state remedies. Chamberlain filed no response and
the time allowed for doing so has expired. Upon consideration
of Respondent's answer and supporting evidentiary
material, the court concludes the petition for habeas relief
is due to be denied and dismissed without prejudice for
Chamberlain's failure to exhaust state remedies.
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” Chamberlain as he challenges the
validity of state court actions which remain a potential
basis for his confinement until resolution of the criminal
charges pending against him in state court. 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. For that
reason, even though [Chamberlain] brought his petition
seeking habeas relief under § 2241, he is nevertheless
subject to § 2254's exhaustion requirement”
because the actions he seeks to challenge arise from the
orders of a state court. Id. at 1302-1303 (internal
quotations and citations omitted).
directs 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(1)(b)(1)(A).
State remedies are ordinarily not considered exhausted if a
petitioner may present his claims to the state courts by any
available and adequate procedure. Braden v. 30th Judicial
Circuit Ct. of Ky., 410 U.S. 484, 489 (1973). “To
satisfy the exhaustion requirement, the petitioner must have
fairly presented the substance of his federal claim to the
state courts.” Picard v. Connor, 404 U.S. 270,
27-78 (1971). To fully exhaust, “state prisoners must
give the state courts one full opportunity to resolve any
constitutional issues by invoking one complete round of the
State's established appellate review process.”
O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 828, 845
(1999); Richardson v. Procunier, 762 F.2d 429, 432
(5th Cir. 1985).
evidentiary materials filed establish that Chamberlain has
not exhausted his available state court remedies regarding
the claims presented in this habeas petition. In addition, to
the extent Chamberlain seeks to present a federal defense to
the charges lodged against him, “federal habeas corpus
does not lie, absent ‘special circumstances, ' to
adjudicate the merits of an affirmative defense to a state
criminal charge prior to judgment of conviction by a state
court.” Braden, 410 U.S. at 489 (internal
citation omitted). The law is settled that to circumvent the
exhaustion requirement, 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).). This court does not
deem it appropriate to rule on the merits of
Chamberlain's claims without requiring he first exhaust
available state remedies. See 28 U.S.C. §
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
[court] 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.
[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, 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 [Petitioner's] constitutional
claims either before trial or, in the event [Petitioner] is
convicted, through appellate and post-conviction proceedings.
For the reasons noted above, this court concludes that
[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, [Petitioner]
may pursue federal habeas proceedings.
Robinson v. Hughes, 2012 WL 255759, at *2-3 (M.D.
Ala. Jan. 5, 2012), adopted at 2012 WL 253975 (Jan.
review of the pleadings and records, it is clear Chamberlain
has not exhausted his available state court remedies with
respect to the claims presented in the petition for habeas
corpus relief. The court finds no basis which would warrant
federal court interference in the normal functioning of the
state's criminal processes. See Peterson v.
Dahl, 192 F. App'x. 632 (9th Cir. 2006). Even if one
or more of the claims presented constitute possible defenses
to the state criminal charges, a federal court should abstain
from considering those claims out of deference to the state
courts. Younger, 401 U.S. at 41. Alabama's state
courts have adequate and effective state procedures for
review of Chamberlain's constitutional claims either
before trial or in the event he is convicted of the charges
pending against him. Federal habeas relief should not be used
as a “pretrial motion forum for state prisoners.”
Braden, 410 U.S. at 493. After the state proceedings
are concluded, Chamberlain may pursue federal habeas
proceedings after exhausting available state remedies.
light of the foregoing, the court concludes this petition is
due to be dismissed without prejudice to Chamberlain's
right to seek federal habeas corpus relief after the
conclusion of ...