Martin v. Pinkney et al
Memorandum of Opinion and Order: Petitioner's Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (ECF No. 5 ) is granted, his Motion for Preliminary Injunction (ECF No. 2 ) is denied, the Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S. C. § 2241 (ECF No. 1 ) is denied and this action is dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2243. Further, under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3), this Court certifies an appeal could not be taken in good faith.. Judge Patricia A. Gaughan on 5/10/17. (LC,S)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
Tramaine Edward Martin,
Edward Sheldon, Warden
CASE NO. 1:17 CV 120
JUDGE PATRICIA A. GAUGHAN
Memorandum of Opinion and Order
Pro se Petitioner Tramaine Edward Martin filed the above-captioned Petition for a Writ
of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Petitioner is a pretrial detainee, awaiting trial in the
Cuyahoga County Jail on charges of rape, attempted rape, gross sexual imposition and
kidnaping. In his Petition, he asserts four basic claims: (1) the trial court denied his request to
represent himself; (2) he was arrested in the City of Cleveland on a defective warrant from
Cleveland Heights; (3) because the warrant was defective, he should not have been indicted; and
(4) because he should not have been indicted, any bail or conditions of release are excessive.
For the reasons set forth below, the Petition is denied and this action is dismissed.
Ten-year old K.B. reported that Petitioner engaged in sexual activity with her between
December 2, 2016 and December 4, 2016. Cleveland Heights Municipal Court Judge A. Deane
Buchanan signed a warrant for Petitioner’s arrest on December 4, 2016. Petitioner contends
Cleveland Heights police “pinged” his cellular telephone to pinpoint his location after notifying
him that he was wanted for questioning. He states he agreed to come to the police station later
that day, December 5, 2016, unaware that a warrant had been issued for his arrest. He contends
police officers followed him from a job site in Cleveland to the Home Depot on East 200th
Street in Cleveland, where they arrested him. He asserts that the warrant was not signed by a
neutral magistrate because he and Judge Buchanan “have a verified history of conflicts.” (ECF
No. 1 at 5). He also challenges technical aspects of the warrant.
Petitioner was bound over to the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas where he
was indicted on one count of rape, one count of attempted rape, two counts of gross sexual
imposition and one count of kidnaping. See State of Ohio v. Martin, No. CR-16-612220-A
(Cuyahoga Cty Ct. Comm. Pl. indict. filed Dec. 20, 2016). Those charges are still pending.
Petitioner filed this federal Habeas Petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 asking this Court
to order the state to dismiss the charges against him and release him from custody. In addition
to challenging the warrant that led to his arrest, he claims he is being denied the right of selfrepresentation. He further indicates that because the warrant that led to his arrest was defective,
his indictment should be dismissed. He further rationalizes that because his indictment should
be dismissed, any bail posted for his release is excessive. He also objects to the conditions of
supervised release, GPS monitoring, and the cash/surety/property bond requirement claiming it
projects a presumption of guilt rather than a presumption of innocence.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Under 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3), federal courts may grant habeas relief on claims by a
state pretrial detainee if he is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the
United States. Phillips v. Hamilton Cnty. Ct. of Common Pleas, 668 F.3d 804, 809 (6th Cir.
2012). Nevertheless, the Supreme Court has cautioned that “federal habeas corpus does not lie,
absent ‘special circumstances,’ to adjudicate the merits of an affirmative defense to a state
criminal charge prior to a judgment of conviction by a state court.” Braden v. 30th Judicial Cir.
Ct. of Ky., 410 U.S. 484, 489, 490 (1973) (quoting Note, Developments in the Law–Federal
Habeas Corpus, 83 Harv. L. Rev. 1038, 1094 (1970)). The Court explained that:
Early federal intervention in state criminal proceedings would
tend to remove federal questions from the state courts, isolate
those courts from constitutional issues, and thereby remove their
understanding of and hospitality to federally protected interests.
[The exhaustion doctrine] preserves orderly administration of
state judicial business, preventing the interruption of state
adjudication by federal habeas proceedings.
Likewise, the Sixth Circuit observed that exercise of the Court’s power under § 2241
should be limited:
[A]lthough § 2241 establishes jurisdiction in the Federal Courts to
consider pretrial habeas corpus petitions, the Courts should
abstain from the exercise of that jurisdiction if the issues raised in
the Petition may be resolved either by trial on the merits in the
state courts or by other state procedures available to the Petitioner.
Abstention from the exercise of the habeas corpus jurisdiction is
justified by the doctrine of comity, a recognition of the concurrent
jurisdiction created by our federal system of government in the
separate state and national sovereignties. Intrusion into state
proceedings already underway is warranted only in extraordinary
Atkins v. Michigan, 644 F.2d 543, 546 (6th Cir. 1981) (internal citations omitted).
Even when special circumstances dictate that the federal court should address the merits
of the Petition, the Petitioner must still exhaust his state court remedies before filing for habeas
relief. Unlike exhaustion under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, exhaustion under § 2241 is not a statutory
requirement. Compare 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1)(A), with 28 U.S.C. § 2241. The Sixth Circuit
recognized that, “in the § 2241 context, ‘decisional law has superimposed such a requirement in
order to accommodate principles of federalism.’” Phillips, 668 F.3d at 810 n. 4 (quoting United
States ex rel. Scranton v. New York, 532 F.2d 292, 294 (2d Cir. 1976)). Even habeas petitioners
proceeding under § 2241 “must exhaust all available state court remedies before proceeding in
federal court, and this usually requires that they appeal an adverse decision all the way to the
state’s court of last resort.” Phillips, 668 F.3d at 810 (citing Klein v. Leis, 548 F.3d 425, 429 n.
2 (6th Cir. 2008)). The requirement of exhaustion “has developed to protect the state courts’
opportunity to confront initially and resolve constitutional issues arising within their
jurisdictions and to limit federal judicial interference in state adjudicatory processes.” Atkins,
644 F.2d at 546 (citations omitted).
Courts in this Circuit have distilled these doctrines into a rule that principles of comity
and federalism require federal courts to abstain from deciding pre-conviction habeas challenges
unless the petitioner demonstrates that: (1) he has exhausted available state court remedies, and
(2) special circumstances warrant federal intervention. Hawkins v. Thomas, No. 3:16 CV 901,
2017 WL 85376, at *1-4 (M.D. Tenn. Jan. 10, 2017); Brown v. Bolton, No. 3:09 CV 513, 2010
WL 1408014 (W.D. Ky. April 1, 2010); Moore v. Federspiel, No. 2:09 CV 1267, 2009 WL
2170168, at *1 (E.D. Mich. July 20, 2009).
There are only two generally recognized claims that have been determined to present a
special circumstance justifying pre-conviction intervention by a federal court in a § 2241 habeas
corpus proceeding: (1) double jeopardy-based allegations; and (2) denial of the right to a speedy
trial. See, e.g., Lowe v. Prindle, No. 2:14-104-KKC, 2014 WL3695386, at *3-4 (E.D. Ky. July
24, 2014). Federal Courts distinguish between speedy trial claims based on the type of relief the
Petitioner seeks. Atkins, 644 F.2d at 546. If the requested relief would dismiss a state court
case on speedy trial grounds, the Federal Court should abstain from reaching a decision in
recognition of comity considerations. Humphrey v. Plummer, 840 F. Supp. 2d 1040, 1043-44
(S.D. Ohio 2011). Where the Petitioner seeks an order requiring the state to bring him to trial
promptly, the Court may consider the claim in a § 2241 Petition.
This Court must abstain from addressing Petitioner’s claims. He challenges the warrant
that led to his arrest, the validity of the indictment, the trial court’s decision to deny him the
right to represent himself at trial, and the conditions of his release on bail. None of these claims
fall within the recognized exceptions to abstention. All of them can be resolved by the state
courts through state procedures available to the Petitioner. Petitioner must exhaust his available
state court remedies, including trial and appeal to the highest court in the state. This Court must
decline to interfere with the pending state criminal proceeding.
For all the foregoing reasons, Petitioner’s Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (ECF
No. 5) is granted, his Motion for Preliminary Injunction (ECF No. 2) is denied, the Petition for a
Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (ECF No. 1) is denied and this action is
dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2243. Further, under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3), this Court certifies
an appeal could not be taken in good faith.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
/s/ Patricia A. Gaughan
PATRICIA A. GAUGHAN
United States District Judge
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