EVANS v. NADROWSKI
OPINION filed. Signed by Judge Peter G. Sheridan on 6/5/2015. (kas, )
N:OT FOR PUBLICATION
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT·
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY ·
c. EVANS, JR,
Civil Action No. 15-1501 (PGS)
JUN 05 2015
WILLIAM T. WALSH CLERK
SHERIDAN, DISTRICT JUDGE
This matter is before the Court upon Petitioner Benjamin C. Evans Jr.'s ("Petitioner")
P¢tition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus challenging an arrest warrant issued by Upper Freehold
Junicipal Court. (ECF No. 1.) For the reasons expressed below, this Court will construe the
Jltter as a habeas petition pursuant to 28 U.S. C. § 2241 , dismiss the petition without prejUdice to
tJb filing of a petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 after Petitioner exhausts remedies available in
tJb courts of the State of New Jersey, and deny a certificate of appealability. See 28 U.S.C. §
2254, Rule 4.
Petitioner alleges that his constitutional rights were violated on February 16, 2015 when
he was taken into custody and brought to the "Hamilton State·Police Barracks" in Mercer County,
lew Jersey instead of appearing before the judge who issued his arrest warrant. (Pet., Ground 4,
No. 1.) Petitioner further argues that the warrant authorizing his arrest is fraudulent because
it hoes not contain a signature by the officer who purportedly applied for the warrant and provided
p11obable cause, nor does it contain the signature of a judge. (Id.) Petitioner requests that this
~burt order his release from custody.
(ld. at '1[15.)
"Habeas corpus petitions must meet heightened pleading requirements." McFarland v.
Sc:ott, 512 U.S. 849, 856, 114 S.Ct. 2568, 129 L.Ed.2d 666 (1994). A petition is required to
slecify all the grounds for relief available to the petitioner, state the facts supporting each ground,
skte the relief requested, and be signed under penalty of perjury. See 28 U.S. C. § 2254 Rule 2(c),
akplicable to § 2241 petitions through Rule I (b). "Federal courts are authorized to dismiss
s~mmarily any habeas petition that appears legally insufficient on its face."
McFarland, 512 U.S.
856; Siers v. Ryan, 773 F.2d 37, 45 (3d Cir. 1985). Habeas Rule 4 accordingly requires the
d~mrt to examine a petition prior to ordering an answer and, if it appears "that the petitioner is not
e4titled to relief in the district court, the judge must dismiss the petition and direct the clerk to
n!tify the petitioner." 28 U.S.C. § 2254 Rule 4, applicable through Rule !(b).
A district court has subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3) to entertain a
p~e-trial petition for habeas corpus brought by a person who is in custody pursuant to an untried
Jhte indictment. See Maleng v. Cook, 490 U.S. 488, 490, 109 S.Ct. 1923, 104 L.Ed.2d 540
( 1989); Braden v. 3Oth Judicial Circuit Court ofKy., 41 0 U.S. 484, 93 S. Ct. 1123, 35 L.Ed.2d 44 3
(1973); Mokone v. Fenton, 710 F.2d 998,999 (3d Cir. 1983); Moore v. DeYoung, 515 F.2d 437,
4r 2, 44 3 (3d Cir. 1975). This Court has jurisdiction over the Petition under 2 8 U.S. C. § 2241 and
clnstrues the Petition as such.
While this Court has jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 to entertain this pre-trial habeas
cJ.rpus Petition, it is clear that such relief should not be granted. Petitioner asks this Court to grant
pll-trial habeas relief based on grounds related to his state pre-trial criminal proceedings thus far.
S~ecifically, he is arguing that the arrest warrant was deficient.
The problem with the Petition is
t!t "federal habeas corpus does not lie, absent 'special circumstances,' to adjudicate the merits of
affirmative defense to a state criminal charge prior to a judgment of conviction by a state court."
Jfaden, 410 U.S. at 489 (quoting Ex parte Royall, 117 U.S. 241, 253, 6 S.Ct. 734, 29 L.Ed. 868
(1!886)). As the Supreme Court explatned over 100 years ago,
We are of the opinion that while the . . . court has the power to do so, and may
discharge the accused in advance of his trial if he is restrained of his liberty in
violation of the national constitution, it is not bound in every case to exercise such
a power immediately upon application being made for the writ. We cannot suppose
that congress intended to compel those courts, by such means, to draw to
themselves, in the first instance, the control of all criminal prosecutions commenced
in state courts exercising authority within the territorial limits, where the accused
claims that he is held in custody in violation of the constitution of the United States.
The injunction to hear the case summarily, and thereupon 'to dispose of the party
as law and justice require,' does not deprive the court of discretion as to the time
and mode in which it will exert the powers conferred upon it. That discretion should
be exercised in the light of the relations existing, under our system of government,
between the judicial tribunals of the Union and of the states, and in recognition of
the fact that the public good requires that those relations not be disturbed by
unnecessary conflict between courts equally bound to guard and protect rights
secured by the constitution.
Fl parte Royall, 117 U.S. at 251.
The proper procedure for Petitioner is to exhaust his constitutional claims before all three
le1vels of the New Jersey courts and, if he is unsuccessful, to thereafter present them to this Court
ij a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. See Moore, 515 F.2d at
Upon careful review, this Court finds that the petition does not present any extraordinary or
exceptional circumstances and is an attempt "to litigate constitutional defenses prematurely in
fe6eral court." !d. at 445. Petitioner is not entitled to a pretrial Writ of Habeas Corpus, and this
9furt will dismiss the Petition without prejudice to the filing of a petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
after he exhausts remedies available in the courts of the State ofNew Jersey. See Duran v.
Jomas, 393 F.App'x 3 (3d Cir. 2010) (affirming dismissal of § 2241 petition alleging that
p~titioner was subjected to warrantless arrest, was detained without probable cause hearing, and
tlt state court had imposed excessive bail).
III. CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
This Court denies a certificate of appealability because Petitioner has not made "a
substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right" under 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2). See
v. Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322, 123 S.Ct. 1029, 154 L.Ed.2d 931 (2003).
Based on the foregoing, this Court will dismiss the Petition without prejudice and deny a
certificate of appealability.
Peter G. Sheridan, U.S.D.J.
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