Stier v. Hoffman
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ENTERED: This matter is dismissed without prejudice. A certificate of appealability is denied. Signed by U.S. Senior District Judge Sam A. Crow on 03/21/17. Mailed to pro se party Bruce Robert Stier by regular mail. (smnd)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF KANSAS
BRUCE ROBERT STIER,
CASE NO. 17-3042-SAC
SHERIFF GARETH HOFFMAN,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is a petition for habeas corpus filed under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241 by a pretrial detainee held at the Dickinson County Jail,
Abilene, Kansas. Petitioner proceeds pro se and submitted the filing
Petitioner claims he has been improperly denied pretrial
release, that “no contact” orders entered by the magistrate judge are
unreasonable, that he is unable to receive adequate medical care while
detained, that his detention impairs his ability to assist in his
defense, and that he is not a flight risk. He asserts that the pending
criminal case is based upon conspiracy and fabrication, and he asks
that his criminal case be assigned to a different state district judge
and that a change of venue be granted.
The federal district courts are authorized to grant a writ of
habeas corpus to a petitioner who is “in custody in violation of the
Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. §2241
(c)(3). A pretrial detainee may seek relief under Section 2241.
Yellowbear v. Wyoming Attorney General, 525 F.3d 921, 924 (10th Cir.
The Court has examined the present petition and concludes it is
premature. First, a petitioner normally must exhaust available state
court remedies before seeking federal habeas corpus relief. Garza v.
Davis, 596 F.3d 1198, 1203 (10th Cir. 2010). It does not appear that
petitioner has presented his claims to both the state district and
Second, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that the federal courts
generally should not interfere in a state criminal prosecution filed
before the federal action is commenced. A federal court should abstain
where the state criminal proceeding: (1) is ongoing; (2) provides an
adequate forum for the petitioner to present his claims; and (3)
implicates important state interests. Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37,
43 (1971). The Younger doctrine is based “on notions of comity and
federalism, which require that federal courts respect state functions
and the independent operation of state legal systems.” Phelps v.
Hamilton, 122 F.3d 885, 889 (10th Cir. 1997)(citing Younger, 401 U.S.
The conditions supporting abstention are met here. The criminal
case against petitioner is proceeding in state district court, and
the Kansas courts provide him with available remedies to present his
claims. Finally, the prosecution of a person accused of violating the
state criminal laws presents an important state interest. See Hicks
v. Miranda, 422 U.S. 322, 349 (1975)(discussing the Younger abstention
doctrine and stating that the doctrine allows state courts to try cases
without interference from a federal court).
To avoid the application of the Younger doctrine, petitioner must
demonstrate “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.” Perez v. Ledesma, 401 U.S. 82, 85 (1971); see Younger, 401
U.S. at 54 (recognizing an exception to the abstention doctrine if
the petitioner shows “bad faith, harassment, or any other unusual
circumstance that would call for equitable relief.”)
While petitioner broadly claims that the case against him is the
product of a conspiracy and is not supported by sufficient evidence,
the materials he submits do not show any factual basis for these
claims. The Court finds no basis to conclude that petitioner will be
subjected to an irreparable injury if the state criminal action
proceeds and concludes this matter must be dismissed without
Finally, a state prisoner may not appeal the denial of habeas
corpus without a certificate of appealability (“COA”). A COA may be
issued if the petitioner shows that “reasonable jurists could debate
whether … the petition should have been resolved in a different manner
or that the issues presented were adequate to deserve encouragement
to proceed further.” Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484
(2000)(quotations omitted). The Court finds no ground in this pretrial
action that warrants a COA.
IT IS, THEREFORE, BY THE COURT ORDERED this matter is dismissed
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED a certificate of appealability is denied.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
This 21st day of March, 2017, at Topeka, Kansas.
S/ Sam A. Crow
SAM A. CROW
U.S. Senior District Judge
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