Durell v. Halkitis et al
ORDER construing Doc. 5 as a request for reconsideration of earlier order (Doc. 3 ); denying motion to reconsider. Signed by Judge Steven D. Merryday on 4/11/2018. (BK)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
DAN E. DURELL,
CASE NO. 8:18-cv-469-T-23CPT
MICHAEL HALKITIS, et al.,
Durell’s complaint alleges that the defendants violated his rights under both
the Double Jeopardy Clause and the Interstate Agreement on Detainers. In 1986
Durell was convicted in 8:86-cr-342-T-RAL of racketeering involving extortion,
murder, and transporting firearms, and he was sentenced to thirty-five years’
imprisonment. Durell complains that the following year he was convicted in the
circuit court for Pasco County, Florida, under charges based on the same criminal
conduct that supported the federal convictions. Durell seeks to sue both the state
prosecutor and the public defender. An earlier order (Doc. 3) dismisses the
complaint because Durrell cannot pursue a claim against any of the defendants.
In response to the order Durrell expresses his lack of understanding (1) how
the state court system can prosecute him for the same acts for which he was federally
prosecuted and (2) how the state courts could validly prosecute him when his trial
was not within the time limits established in the Interstate Agreement on Detainers
First, a prosecution by both the federal government and a state for the same act
does not violate the Double Jeopardy Clause. Each separate sovereignty may
independently prosecute for the same criminal act if the act violates the laws of
more than one sovereignty. “The dual sovereignty doctrine is founded on the
common-law conception of crime as an offense against the sovereignty of the
government. When a defendant in a single act violates the ‘peace and dignity’ of
two sovereigns by breaking the laws of each, he has committed two distinct
‘offences.’” Heath v. Alabama, 474 U.S. 82, 88 (1985). See also Bartkus v. People of State
of Illinois, 359 U.S. 121, 132 (1959) (“[S]uccessive state and federal prosecutions are
not in violation of the Fifth Amendment.”); Westfall v. United States, 274 U.S. 256,
258 (1927) (Holmes, J., concurring) (“[A]n act may be criminal under the laws of
both jurisdictions, [which] general proposition is too plain to need more than
statement.”). Accord United States v. Woods, 216 F. App’x 931, 938 (11th Cir. 2007)
(“Thus, the Double Jeopardy Clause does not bar successive prosecutions by a state
and the federal government.”) (citing Heath); United States v. Sanchez, 992 F.2d 1143,
1148–49 (11th Cir. 1993) (“[I]t is at least well established that successive prosecutions
for the same unlawful act will not offend the Constitution when they are brought
under the laws of separate sovereigns. . . . When a defendant in a single act violates
the ‘peace and dignity’ of two sovereigns by breaking the laws of each, he has
committed two distinct ‘offences.’”), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1110 (1994).
Second, Durrell complains that his trial by the State of Florida occurred
beyond the speedy trial limit established in the IAD. Relief under federal habeas
corpus is generally not available because, unlike a claim based on the Sixth
Amendment right to a speedy trial, an alleged violation of the IAD is not a
constitutional claim and, as a consequence, requires a showing of manifest injustice.
Seymore v. Alabama, 846 F.2d 1355, 1359 (11th Cir. 1988), cert. denied, 488 U.S. 1018
[N]ot all violations of a ‘law of the United States’ may be
asserted in a habeas corpus proceeding. Indeed, when
determining whether nonconstitutional federal claims are
cognizable in federal habeas proceedings, ‘the appropriate
inquiry [is] whether the claimed error of law [is] ‘a fundamental
defect which inherently results in a complete miscarriage of
justice,’ and whether ‘it . . . present[s] exceptional
circumstances where the need for the remedy afforded by the
writ of habeas corpus is apparent.’ Davis v. United States, 417
U.S. 333, 346 (1974) (emphasis added) (quoting Hill v. United
States, 368 U.S. 424, 429 (1962).
See also Remeta v. Singletary, 85 F.3d 513, 519 (11th Cir. 1996) (“IAD violations are
not cognizable in habeas proceedings absent a showing that the violation prejudiced
the rights of the accused by affecting or impugning the integrity of the fact-finding
process.”), cert. denied, 520 U.S. 1147 (1997). See also Phillips v. Jarrell, 281 F. App’x
885, 886 (11th Cir. 2008) (“Phillips has failed to allege any prejudice from the alleged
IADA violations. Thus, his IADA claims are not cognizable under § 2254 and we
affirm the district court’s denial of his habeas petition.”) (applying Seymore and
Remeta), cert. denied 555 U.S. 1108 (2009).
Durrell may have had a civil rights action that he could have pursued against
the individuals who allegedly violated his rights under the IAD, as Cuyler v. Adams,
449 U.S. 433, 449–50 (1981), explains:
The remedial purpose of the Agreement supports an
interpretation that gives prisoners the right to a judicial hearing
in which they can bring a limited challenge to the receiving
State’s custody request. In light of the purpose of the Detainer
Agreement, as reflected in the structure of the Agreement, its
language, and its legislative history, we conclude as a matter of
federal law that prisoners transferred pursuant to the provisions
of the Agreement are not required to forfeit any pre-existing
rights they may have under state or federal law to challenge
their transfer to the receiving State. Respondent Adams has
therefore stated a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for the
asserted violation by state officials of the terms of the Detainer
See also Harden v. Pataki, 320 F.3d 1289, 1293–94 (11th Cir. 2003) (“Thus, we find
that, in the absence of any bar imposed by Heck, Harden properly stated a § 1983
damages claim for failure to comply with both federal and state extradition laws.”).
A civil rights action, however, was subject to Florida’s four-year statute of limitation.
The alleged violation under the IAD occurred decades ago.
Accordingly, Durrell’s letter (Doc. 5), construed as a request to reconsider the
earlier order (Doc. 3), is DENIED. This action remains closed
ORDERED in Tampa, Florida, on April 11, 2018.
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