Dunlap v. Horton
MEMORANDUM OPINION and ORDER Dismissing Case Without Prejudice re 1 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus - Signed by District Judge Judith E. Levy. (FMos)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 17-cv-11338
Judith E. Levy
United States District Judge
Mag. Judge David R. Grand
ORDER DISMISSING CASE WITHOUT PREJUDICE
Michigan state prisoner Darnell Dunlap, who is presently serving
a sentence of twenty-five to forty years for second-degree murder, has
Investigation.” In the letter, Petitioner raises many concerns related to
his state-court conviction and asks the Court to investigate the matter.
The letter has been docketed as a habeas corpus petition. The Court
will dismiss the case without prejudice because a petitioner may not
commence a habeas action by filing a letter. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 3, and
Rule 2(c) and (d), Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United
States District Courts.
Upon the filing of a habeas corpus petition, the Court must
promptly examine the petition to determine “if it plainly appears from
the face of the petition and any exhibits annexed to it that the
petitioner is not entitled to relief.” Rule 4, Rules Governing Section
2254 Cases. If the Court determines that the petitioner is not entitled
to relief, the court shall summarily dismiss the petition. McFarland v.
Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 856 (1994) (“Federal courts are authorized to
dismiss summarily any habeas petition that appears legally insufficient
on its face.”).
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 3 explains that “[a] civil action is
commenced by filing a complaint.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 3. The Supreme
Court has held that, “[t]he logical conclusion, therefore, is that a habeas
suit begins with the filing of an application for habeas corpus relief –
the equivalent of a complaint in an ordinary civil case. Woodford v.
Garceau, 538 U.S. 202, 208 (2003). Furthermore, Rules 2(c) and 2(d) of
the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases provide that an application for
writ of habeas corpus shall be in the form of a petition which specifies
each ground for relief.
Petitioner’s letter fails to comply with these
requirements and will be dismissed on that basis.
The Court declines to construe Petitioner’s letter as a habeas
corpus petition challenging the second-degree murder conviction
because it is not clear whether that is what Petitioner intended.
Petitioner previously filed a habeas petition challenging his seconddegree murder conviction, which was denied on the merits. See Opinion
and Order Denying Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, 4/21/16, Case
No. 5:14-cv-11537, (Dkt. 30). In that case, Petitioner specifically sought
relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Thus, if Petitioner intended the pending
matter to be filed as a habeas corpus petition, he clearly had the
knowledge to file it as such. Moreover, the filing of a successive habeas
corpus petition requires prior authorization from the Sixth Circuit
Court of Appeals, which Petitioner has not obtained.
For the foregoing reasons, IT IS ORDERED that this matter is
DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
Dated: May 10, 2017
Ann Arbor, Michigan
s/Judith E. Levy
JUDITH E. LEVY
United States District Judge
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
The undersigned certifies that the foregoing document was served
upon counsel of record and any unrepresented parties via the Court’s
ECF System to their respective email or First Class U.S. mail addresses
disclosed on the Notice of Electronic Filing on May 10, 2017.
s/Felicia M. Moses
FELICIA M. MOSES
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