EDWARDS v. ELLIS et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION filed. Signed by Judge Peter G. Sheridan on 8/31/2016. (eaj)
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
Civil Action No. 15-3770 (PGS)
WARDEN CHARLES ELLIS, et al.,
It appearing that:
On or about June 5, 2015, Petitioner Mincey Edwards (‘Petitioner”) submitted a
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §2254. (ECF No. 1.)
In his Petition, Petitioner alleged that on March 28, 2014, he was arrested by the
Trenton Police Department for a charge that he did not identify. (Pet’r’s Br. 2, ECF No. 1.) He
was confined in Mercer County Jail for that new charge and on April 24, 2014, Petitioner was also
charged with a parole violation.
(Id.) Petitioner received bail for the new charge and was given
“a sticker” for the parole violation. (Id.) As of the date he filed his Petition, Petitioner had not
yet received a hearing for the parole violation. (Id.)
3. Petitioner raised the following grounds for relief in his Petition:
Ground One: Confined in violation of [his] due process and equal
protection rights because for 13 months [he has] not gotten notice
nor had a probable cause hearing for violations of parole/probation.
Ground Two: The State of New Jersey has violated [his] rights ‘hen
it failed to conduct a trial within 180 days. On 3.28.14 [he] was
charged with new criminal charges and never waived any of [his]
Ground Three: [Petitioner] was appointed ineffective assistance of
counsel in Mr. Garzio who has failed to do anything for [Petitioner].
In an October 14, 2015 Opinion and Order, the Court dismissed the Petition and
informed Petitioner that he must first exhaust his claims in state court. (ECF Nos. 3-4.) To the
extent he was trying to “adjudicate the merits of an affirmative defense to a state criminal charge
prior to a judgment of conviction by a state court,” see Braden v. 30th Judicial Circuit Court of
Kentucky, 410 U.S. 484, 489 (1973) (quoting Exparte Royall, 117 U.S. 241, 253 (1886)), the Court
found that there were no “special circumstances” present in this case which would warrant
intervention by the Court. (Id.)
5. Thereafter, Petition filed a “Motion for the Writ of Habeas Corpus to be Granted and
to Immediately Lift the Violation of Probation Detainer” (ECF No. 5) and a •‘Motion to Stay
Pending Exhaustion of State Court Remedies” (ECF No. 6).
6. To ensure it had all the necessary information, on February 22, 2016. the Court ordered
Respondent to file an answer and allowed Petitioner to submit a reply. (ECF No. 7.)
7. In its March 2016 Answer, Respondent argued that Petitioner’s pre-trial claims are
unexhausted and there are no extraordinary circumstances present to warrant action by the COLIrt.
Respondent further argues that Petitioner’s claim of ineffective assistance of counsel is not yet
ripe. (ECF No. 8.) In his Reply, Petitioner re-asserts the same arguments as those raised in his
initial Petition. (ECF No. 15.)
Having reviewed the Answer and Reply, the Court will again dismiss the Petition
without prejudice. A district court has subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.
to entertain a pre-trial petition for habeas corpus brought by a person who is in custody pursuant
to an untried state indictment. See Maleng v. Cook. 490 U.S. 488, 490 (1989); Braden v. 30th
Judicial Circuit Court ofKy., 410 U.S. 484 (1973); Mokone v. Fenton, 710 F.2d 998, 999 (3d Cir.
1983); Moore v. DeYoung, 515 F.2d 437, 442, 443 (3d Cir. 1975). To the extent Petitioner is still
a pre-trial detainee,’ this Court has jurisdiction over the Petition under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241 and
construes the Petition as such.
While this Court has jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241 to entertain this pre-trial habeas
corpus Petition, it is clear that such relief should not be granted. Petitioner asks the Court to grant
pre-trial habeas relief based on grounds related to his state pre-trial criminal proceedings thus far.
The problem with the Petition is that ‘federal habeas corpus does not lie, absent specia1
circumstances,’ to adjudicate the merits of an affirmative defense to a state criminal charge prior
to ajudgment of conviction by a state court.” Braden, 410 U.S. at 489 (quoting Exparte Royal!,
117 U.S. 241, 253 (1886)). As the Supreme Court explained 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,
In a subsequent change-of-address notification, Petitioner indicates that he might have since
been tried and convicted in state court. (ECF No. 16.)
Even if the Court were to construe the instant Petition as one pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
would still be dismissed because the claims are all unexhausted.
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.
Ex parte Royall, 117 U.S. at 251.
The proper procedure for Petitioner is to exhaust his constitutional claims before all three
levels of the New Jersey courts and, if he is unsuccessful, to thereafter present them to this Court
in a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
2254. See Moore. 515 F.2d at
449. 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
federal court.” Id. at 445. Petitioner is not entitled to a pretrial Writ of Habeas Corpus, and this
Court will dismiss the Petition without prejudice to the filing of a petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
2254 after he exhausts remedies available in the courts of the State of New Jersey. See Duran v.
Thomas. 393 F.Appx 3 (3d Cir. 2010) (affirming dismissal of
2241 petition alleging that
petitioner was subjected to warrantless arrest, was detained without probable cause hearing, and
that state court had imposed excessive bail).
9. The 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.
Miller-El v. Cockiell, 537 U.S. 322 (2003).
10. An appropriate order follows.
Peter G. Sheridan, U.S.D.J.
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