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Williams v. McBrayer

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division

February 12, 2018

MARK ANTHONY WILLIAMS, Petitioner pro se,
v.
KEITH MCBRAYER, Sheriff, Respondent.

         PRISONER HABEAS CORPUS 28 U.S.C. § 2241

          ORDER AND FINAL REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          WALTER E. JOHNSON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Petitioner pro se, Mark Anthony Williams, confined in the Henry County Jail in McDonough, Georgia, submitted a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus Under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 by a Person in State Pretrial Detention. (Pet. [1].)

         Petitioner also submitted a request to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”). (Aff. [2].) The authorized institutional officer certifies that petitioner has $20.97 in his inmate account. (Id. at 3-4.) Accordingly, the undersigned finds that petitioner has sufficient funds to pay the $5.00 filing fee. IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that petitioner's request to proceed IFP [2] is DENIED, and he must pay the $5.00 filing fee within FOURTEEN (14) DAYS from the date of this Order.

         The matter is before the Court for a preliminary review of the Petition pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases, which also applies to Section 2241 actions, as provided in Rule 1(b). For the reasons stated below, the undersigned RECOMMENDS that the Petition be DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.

         I. DISCUSSION

         Petitioner states that he has been confined in the Henry County Jail since December 28, 2016. (Pet. 1.) Petitioner claims that (1) he “was not given proper access” to the law library, (2) he “was not allowed to have a grievance form when requested, ” (3) his arrest warrant included incorrect information, (4) he “was not transported to a first appearance/commitment hearing within [seventy-two hours] of [his] arrest, ” (5) he “did not receive notice of scheduled court appearances by regular mail, ” (6) he “was not transported to [his] scheduled court appearance” on May 1, 2017, (7) his “trial has been delayed for over a year, ” and (8) he was “denied access to relevant [legal materials].” (Id. at 4-6.) Petitioner seeks immediate release, “a preliminary and permanent injunction prohibiting criminal prosecution, ” and expungement of his charges from his criminal record. (Id. at 7.)

         Summary dismissal of a habeas petition is proper when the petition and the attached exhibits plainly reveal that relief is not warranted. See 28 U.S.C. foll. § 2254, Rule 4; McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 856 (1994) (stating that Rule 4 dismissal is appropriate when petition “appears legally insufficient on its face”). In the present case, the Petition is legally insufficient for the following reasons.

         First, the undersigned addresses petitioner's claims regarding his arrest warrant, court appearances, and the progress of his criminal case. In Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971), the United States Supreme Court reaffirmed “the settled doctrines that have always confined very narrowly the availability of injunctive relief against state criminal prosecutions.” Younger, 401 U.S. at 53. “The Younger abstention doctrine is based on the premise that a pending state prosecution will provide the accused with a sufficient chance to vindicate his federal constitutional rights.” Turner v. Broward Sheriff's Office, 542 F. App'x 764, 766 (11th Cir. 2013) (per curiam). “Younger abstention is required when (1) the proceedings constitute an ongoing state judicial proceeding, (2) the proceedings implicate important state interests, and (3) there is an adequate opportunity in the state proceedings to raise constitutional challenges.” Id.

         In the present case, all three requirements of Younger abstention are satisfied. Petitioner's state criminal proceedings are ongoing, such proceedings implicate important state interests in enforcing criminal law, and petitioner has adequate opportunities to raise constitutional challenges in those proceedings. Because Younger prohibits the District Court from interfering in petitioner's state criminal proceedings, petitioner's claims regarding his arrest warrant, court appearances, and the progress of his criminal case should be dismissed without prejudice. See Smith v. Mercer, 266 F. App'x 906, 908 (11th Cir. 2008) (per curiam) (“A dismissal pursuant to the Younger doctrine is without prejudice, and does not preclude later re-filing of the [petition].”).

         Although petitioner cannot obtain relief on those claims in federal court, he may file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the proper state court pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 9-14-1(a). Petitioner's failure to exhaust his state court remedies further prevents the District Court from granting federal habeas relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1) & (c).

         Next, the undersigned addresses petitioner's claims regarding law library access and grievances. Habeas and civil rights cases are “mutually exclusive: if a claim can be raised in a federal habeas petition, that same claim cannot be raised in a separate . . . civil rights action.” Hutcherson v. Riley, 468 F.3d 750, 754 (11th Cir. 2006). Because claims regarding law library access and grievances can be raised in a civil rights action, those claims cannot be raised in a habeas petition. If petitioner wishes to file a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights action, he should submit a proper § 1983 complaint as a new case under a new docket number.[1]

         Accordingly, the undersigned RECOMMENDS that the Petition be DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases.

         II. CERTIFICATE ...


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