Newson v. Wolf
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ENTERED: Petitioner's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis 2 is granted. This matter is dismissed without prejudice. Signed by U.S. Senior District Judge Sam A. Crow on 04/11/18. Mailed to pro se party Devoris Antoine Newson by regular mail. (smnd)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF KANSAS
DEVORIS ANTOINE NEWSON,
CASE NO. 18-3089-SAC
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is a petition for habeas corpus filed under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241 by a pretrial detainee held in the Geary County Detention
Center. Petitioner proceeds pro se, and the Court grants leave to
proceed in forma pauperis.
Petitioner is in pretrial detention and is the subject of three
pending criminal actions1. He seeks dismissal of the charges and
The petition also alleges the petitioner has been assaulted by
correctional officers, held in maximum security, and denied access
to his legal documents for approximately three months.
The “essence of habeas corpus is an attack by a person in custody
upon the legality of that custody, and the traditional function of
the writ is to secure release from illegal custody.” Preiser v.
Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 484 (1973).
The Court takes judicial notice that petitioner is charged in the District Court
of Geary County in three criminal actions: 17CR000387, 17CR000527, and 17CR000797.
Each matter is set for a status hearing on April 20, 2018.
Section 2241 provides limited jurisdiction that allows a federal
district court to consider habeas corpus challenges by a pretrial
detainee. See Walck v. Edmondson, 472 F.3d 1227, 1235 (10th Cir. 2007).
However, a pretrial detainee ordinarily must exhaust other available
remedies before proceeding in federal habeas corpus under § 2241. See
Hall v. Pratt, 97 Fed. Appx. 246, 247-48 (10th Cir. 2004).
Here, while petitioner commenced a petition for habeas corpus
in the state district court, that matter remains pending on its
docket.2 Petitioner therefore has not yet exhausted available state
court remedies, and, although he complains of inactivity in that case,
this Court has no supervisory or appellate authority to direct the
state courts in the management of their dockets. See Knox v. Bland,
632 F.3d 1290, 1292 (10th Cir. 2011)(“To the extent that [plaintiff]
is seeking relief in the nature of mandamus, ordering Defendants to
take action in their capacities as state judges, ‘[w]e have no
authority to issue such a writ to direct state courts or their judicial
officers in the performance of their duties.’”)(quoting Van Sickle
v. Holloway, 791 F.2d 1431, 1436 n. 5 (10th Cir. 1986)).
Likewise, even if the Court could find that petitioner has
properly exhausted available state court remedies, a federal court
generally is prohibited from interfering with an ongoing state
criminal action. Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 53-54 (1971). Younger
abstention is appropriate where “(1) the state proceedings are
ongoing; (2) the state proceedings implicate important state
interests; and (3) the state proceedings afford an adequate
opportunity to present the federal constitutional challenges.” Phelps
The habeas corpus petition was assigned Case No. 17-CV-000244 in the District Court
of Geary County.
v. Hamilton, 122 F.3d 885, 889 (10th Cir. 1997).
Here, the state court actions were filed before petitioner
brought this action, and the state has an important interest in
conducting criminal proceedings for violations of its laws. Finally,
it is recognized that “ordinarily a pending state prosecution provides
the accused a fair and sufficient opportunity for vindication of
federal constitutional rights.” Kugler v. Helfant, 421 U.S. 117, 124
Finally, petitioner presents claims that are not properly
brought in a habeas corpus action. His claims alleging mistreatment
by correctional officers, custody in maximum segregation, and access
to his legal property are claims challenging the conditions of his
confinement, and such claims brought by a state or county prisoner
must be presented in a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
See McIntosh v. United States Parole Comm’n, 115 F.3d 809, 811-12 (10th
Cir. 1997)(contrasting habeas and civil rights remedies).
This petition for habeas corpus is dismissed without prejudice
to allow petitioner to complete the exhaustion of state court
remedies. Petitioner’s claims concerning the conditions of his
confinement are dismissed without prejudice to their presentation in
a civil rights action.
IT IS, THEREFORE, BY THE COURT ORDERED petitioner’s motion for
leave to proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. #2) is granted.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED this matter is dismissed without prejudice.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
This 11th day of April, 2018, at Topeka, Kansas.
S/ Sam A. Crow
SAM A. CROW
U.S. Senior District Judge
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