Akram v. Woods
ORDER denying 5 Motion to Stay; and Directing Petitioner to Inform the Court within Thirty (30) Days whether to Proceed with Current Claims or Dismiss Case. Signed by District Judge John Corbett O'Meara. (WBar)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
ADRIAN MAHDEE AKRAM,
CASE NO. 16-11357
HON. JOHN CORBETT O’MEARA
ORDER DENYING PETITIONER’S MOTION FOR A STAY (ECF NO. 5)
DIRECTING PETITIONER TO INFORM THE COURT WHETHER HE WANTS TO
PROCEED WITH HIS CURRENT CLAIMS OR DISMISS HIS CASE
On or about April 7, 2016, state prisoner Adrian Mahdee Akram (“Akram”) wrote
to the Clerk of this Court and indicated that he was indigent and needed assistance of
counsel to file a habeas corpus petition. Akram also inquired about the tolling of the
statute of limitations and whether he should file a federal habeas corpus petition or a
“6.500 motion” in state court. The Clerk of the Court treated Akram’s letter as a petition
for the writ of habeas corpus and filed it as such. On June 7, 2016, the Executive
Magistrate Judge ordered Akram to pay the filing fee or to apply for permission to
proceed without prepayment of the filing fee and to submit a petition for the writ of
habeas corpus.1 Akram subsequently paid the filing fee, and on July 11, 2016, he filed
an application for the writ of habeas corpus and a motion to stay these proceedings.
Akram alleges in his habeas petition that he was convicted in 2012 of first-degree
murder, felon in possession of a firearm, and felony firearm.
He states that the
Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed his convictions and that the Michigan Supreme
Court denied leave to appeal.
The Court understands Akram’s grounds for habeas relief to be: (1) trial counsel
was ineffective for failing to investigate potential witnesses; (2) the state trial court (a)
violated his right to confront the witnesses against him by excluding impeachment
evidence and (b) was complacent about allowing false identification evidence to go
uncorrected; and (3) the trial court erred when it denied his motion to suppress
eyewitness identification testimony. It appears that Akram may also be arguing that: (4)
the prosecution withheld key evidence; (5) his retrial violated the Double Jeopardy
Clause; (6) the trial court violated his right to confront the witnesses against him by
excluding evidence that a witness mischaracterized his criminal record; and (7) the trial
court deprived him of due process and a fair trial by refusing to sequester a police
officer who testified for the prosecution.
In his motion for a stay, Akram states that he filed a post-conviction motion for
fraud on the court and that the motion remains pending in state court. He asks the
Court to hold his habeas petition in abeyance while he exhausts state remedies for this
Although the Executive Magistrate Judge is not the Magistrate Judge assigned to this
case, he has authority to issue preliminary orders in habeas corpus cases filed by
prisoners. LR 72.1(b)(2) (E.D. Mich. Mar. 1, 2010).
Finally, in a letter addressed to the Chief Judge of this Court,2 Akram states that
an injustice has been done in his case.
Specifically, Akram states that the Court
erroneously treated his letter to the Clerk of the Court as a habeas petition when he
merely wanted to know whether his state-court motion tolled the time for filing a federal
habeas petition and whether he could obtain legal assistance in filing a habeas petition.
The letter also reiterates Akram’s allegation that he has litigation pending in state court.
The doctrine of exhaustion of state remedies requires state prisoners to “give the
state courts an opportunity to act on [their] claims before [they] present those claims to
a federal court in a habeas petition.” O’Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838, 842 (1999).
Federal district courts ordinarily have authority to grant stays, and in appropriate cases,
they may hold a habeas petition in abeyance while an inmate returns to state court to
exhaust state remedies for previously unexhausted claims. Rhines v. Weber, 544 U.S.
269, 275-76 (2005). But stays are appropriate only in “limited circumstances,” id. at 77,
such as when “the petitioner had good cause for his failure to exhaust, his unexhausted
claims are potentially meritorious, and there is no indication that the petitioner engaged
in intentionally dilatory litigation tactics.” Id. at 278.
Akram is not engaged in dilatory litigation tactics, but he has not explained the
basis for his fraud-on-the-court claim, and the state court’s docket indicates that the trial
court summarily denied Akram’s motion on June 20, 2016. See People v. Akram, No.
07-012443-01-FC (Wayne Cty. Cir. Ct. June 20, 2016). Thus, Akram’s fraud-on-thecourt claim does not appear to be potentially meritorious. Furthermore, Akram has not
The letter was forwarded to this Court and filed in this case as docket entry 6.
shown “cause” for his failure to exhaust state remedies for his new claim before seeking
relief or assistance from this Court. The Court therefore concludes that a stay is not
appropriate in this case. Consequently, the Court denies Akram’s motion for a stay and
to hold the habeas petition in abeyance (ECF No. 5). Akram shall have thirty (30) days
from the date of this order to inform the Court whether he wants to proceed with any of
the seven claims listed above or whether he prefers to have the Court dismiss his
habeas corpus petition without prejudice.
The Court denies Akram’s request for appointment of counsel. Additionally, the
Court declines to say at the present time whether the filing of Akram’s recent state-court
motion tolled the federal statute of limitations (28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)), because federal
courts may not give advisory opinions. Flast v. Cohen, 392 U.S. 83, 96-97 (1968).
Date: September 21, 2016
s/John Corbett O’Meara
United States District Judge
I hereby certify that on September 21, 2016, a copy of this order was served
upon Petitioner at Chippewa Correctional Facility, 4269 W. M-80, Kincheloe, MI 49784
by first-class U.S. mail.
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