Postma v. Altena
ORDER Petitioners writ of habeas corpus dismssed without prejudice, certificate of appealablity denied. Signed by Judge Mark W Bennett on 03/28/13. (copy w/NEF mailed to pro se party) (jkh)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF IOWA
HAROLD O. POSTMA,
This matter is before the court on the petitioner’s application for a writ of habeas
corpus. The petitioner filed such application on January 29, 2013.
A habeas corpus action “is an attack by a person in custody upon the legality of that
custody.” Preiser v. Rodriquez, 411 U.S. 475, 484 (1973). In order to be in custody,
there must be a “significant restraint” on one’s liberty. Russell v. City of Pierre, 530 F.2d
791, 792 (8th Cir. 1976). The fine, surcharge or costs totaling $397.50 that was imposed
in State v. Postma, Case No. NTA0018912 (Sioux County Dist. Ct. 2011), and the fine
of $180.00 that was imposed in State v. Postma, Case No. STP153957 (Sioux County Dist.
Ct ____),1 is an insufficient restraint on the petitioner’s liberty. See Russell, 530 F.2d at
792 (finding fine is not a significant restraint on one’s liberty). Therefore, the court lacks
subject matter jurisdiction to consider the validity of the fines imposed.
Nonetheless, the petitioner complains about a civil contempt sanction related to
those cases. See Int’l Union v. Bagwell, 512 U.S. 821, 827-28 (1994) (explaining that
civil contempt sanctions are considered to be coercive and avoidable through obedience
and, therefore, they may be imposed in an ordinary civil proceeding upon notice and an
Iowa state court criminal and civil records may be accessed at the following
address: http://www.iowacourts.gov/Online_Court_Services/. See Stutzka v. McCarville,
420 F.3d 757, 760 n.2 (8th Cir. 2005) (addressing court’s ability to take judicial notice of
opportunity to be heard and without a jury trial or proof beyond a reasonable doubt).
Because the petitioner did not appeal either of the amounts due, did not pay them, admitted
that he was able to pay the amounts due and demonstrated that he was not going to pay the
amounts due, the Iowa District Court for Sioux County found the petitioner to be in
contempt and sentenced him to seven days in jail, but it suspended such sentence and gave
the petitioner the opportunity to purge himself of contempt by paying in full the balance
that he owed in each of his cases. As a result of failing to pay both balances, the petitioner
was arrested on January 23, 2013.
On January 28, 2013, the petitioner filed a petitioner for a writ of habeas corpus in
the Iowa District Court for Sioux County. See Postma v. Altena, Case No. EQCV024170
(Sioux County Dist. Ct. 201_). That case is still pending. Because he is still pursuing
relief in the courts of Iowa, it is appropriate to dismiss the petitioner’s action for failing
to “exhaust” his federal claims in the appropriate state forum, that is, for failing to comply
with 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1)(A). Before proceeding in this court, the petitioner must
provide the Iowa Supreme Court with a full and fair opportunity to review all of his federal
claims. To the extent he desires a certificate of appealability under 28 U.S.C. § 2253, the
court shall not grant one because there are no appealable issues.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED:
The petitioner’s application for a writ of habeas corpus is dismissed without
prejudice, and a certificate of appealability is denied.
DATED this 28th day of March, 2013.
MARK W. BENNETT
U. S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF IOWA
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