Clark v. Ross
ORDER Adopting #7 Report and Recommendations and dismissing case without prejudice; Denying as moot all other pending motions. Signed by Honorable Timothy L. Brooks on March 31, 2021. (src)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
JAMES BRIAN CLARK
CASE NO. 3:21-CV-03009
JIM ROSS, SHERIFF OF
Currently before the Court is a Report and Recommendation ("R&R") (Doc. 7) filed
on March 15, 2021, by the Honorable Mark E. Ford, United States Magistrate Judge for
the Western District of Arkansas. Magistrate Judge Ford recommends dismissing James
Brian Clark's Petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in
State Custody (Doc. 1), his Motion for Counsel (Doc. 4), his Motion for Sanctions (Doc.
5), and his Motion to Compel Appearance (Doc. 6). After the R&R was issued, Mr. Clark
filed a Motion to Dismiss State Court Indictment (Doc. 8) and Motion for Compassionate
Release from Jail (Doc. 10). Finally, on March 22, Mr. Clark filed an Objection to the R&R
(Doc. 9). The Court has now reviewed the entire docket of the case de novo and is
prepared to rule on the habeas petition and the separate motions that were filed
The R&R explains that Mr. Clark's habeas petition is subject to dismissal on two
separate grounds. First, he failed to pay the $5.00 filing fee and did not complete an
application to proceed in forma pauperis, as he was ordered to do. The Court agrees
with the Magistrate Judge that the case is subject to dismissal on this basis alone.
Second, the R&R advises that the Court should abstain from hearing the substantive
claims in the habeas petition pursuant to the doctrine set forth in Younger v. Harris, 401
U.S. 37, 43-54 (1971). The R&R explained:
There are ongoing state judicial proceedings pending against Clark, which
implicate the important state interest of enforcing state criminal law, and
those pending state criminal proceedings afford Clark an adequate
opportunity to raise the constitutional questions he now presents.
(Doc. 7, p. 6).
Mr. Clark's Objection to the R&R fails to offer any factual or legal reason why the
Court should not abstain from hearing the case. Instead, he argues that he is innocent
of the multiple criminal charges the state of Arkansas has brought against him.
demands to be freed on bond pending his trial. He contends that the many continuances
of his trial date (caused, at least in part, by the COVID pandemic) have denied him the
right to a speedy trial. And he insists that his court-appointed attorney has failed to
adequately represent him in the state court proceedings. None of these complaints meet
the high bar necessary to qualify as an exception to the Younger abstention doctrine. Mr.
Clark's recourse is to seek relief by filing a motion in state court-something he has not
yet tried to do, judging by the Court's review of the criminal dockets in both of his pending
cases. His Objection is therefore OVERRULED.
IT IS ORDERED that the R&R (Doc. 7) is ADOPTED IN ITS ENTIRETY and the
Petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody
(Doc. 1) is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE for the reasons stated in the R&R.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that in light of the Court's dismissal of the underlying
habeas petition, all other pending Motions are DENIED AS MOOT.
IT IS SO ORDERED on this 31
day of March, 20
ES DISTRICT JUDGE
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