Hairston v. Franklin County Court of Common Pleas
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION AND ORDER - Petitioner's Motion to proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. 5 ) is GRANTED. The Magistrate Judge RECOMMENDS that 1 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus be DISMISSED pursuant to Rule4 of the Rules Gover ning Section 2254 cases in the United States District Courts (Rule 4). Petitioner's motion for oral argument (Doc. 7 ) is DENIED. Objections to R&R due by 6/30/2017. Signed by Magistrate Judge Terence P. Kemp on 6/16/2017. (agm)(This document has been sent by regular mail to the party(ies) listed in the NEF that did not receive electronic notification.)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
RICO ISAIH HAIRSTON,
CASE NO. 2:17-CV-00353 JUDGE
MICHAEL H. WATSON
Magistrate Judge Kemp
FRANKLIN COUNTY COURT OF
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION AND ORDER
Petitioner Rico Isaih Hairston, a state pre-trial detainee, filed this case seeking a writ
of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Petitioner has also moved for leave to proceed
in forma pauperis. That motion (Doc. 5) is GRANTED. For the reasons that follow, the
Magistrate Judge RECOMMENDS that petitioner's claims be DISMISSED pursuant to Rule
4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 cases in the United States District Courts (“Rule 4”).
Petitioner’s motion for oral argument (Doc. 7) is DENIED.
I. Facts and Procedural History
According to the petition, Petitioner is currently being held in the Franklin County
Corrections Center, perhaps in connection with a parole violation warrant. He also has had
new criminal charges filed against him in Case No. 17-CR-1548 in the Franklin County,
Ohio Court of Common Pleas. According to the online docket sheet in that case, Petitioner
has been charged with six felony counts, including rape, attempted rape, and gross sexual
In his petition, Petitioner alleges that he was escorted to the Common Pleas Court
on April 5, 2017, where he was “told by the Sheriffs that [his] arraignment was held
without [him] being present, and a $500,000 bond was set.” (Doc. 1, at 2.) He further
alleges that the “public defender on that call” pleaded not guilty for him. Id. Petitioner
contends that the state court’s arraignment proceeding and pre-trial detention
determination violated state court policy, his Sixth Amendment rights to a speedy trial and
to confront witnesses, his Fourteenth Amendment due process rights, the Eighth
Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, and the Thirteenth
Amendment’s prohibition against slavery. Id. at 2, 6–8. Petitioner states that he contacted
the State Public Defender’s Office to complain that he was not present at the arraignment
but indicates that he has taken no other steps to challenge or appeal the arraignment
proceedings and pre-trial detention determination. Id. at 2–3. Petitioner asks this Court for
an “an injunction” and seeks to be released from the Franklin County Corrections Center.
Id. at 8.
II. Law and Analysis
Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Proceedings in the United States District
Courts provides that “[i]f it plainly appears from the petition ... that the petitioner is not
entitled to relief in the district court, the judge must dismiss the petition . . . .” Rule 4
applies to habeas corpus petitions filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 and § 2241. Evans v. U.S.
Marshal Serv., 2015 WL 1476654, at *2 (S.D. Ohio Mar. 31, 2015). In addition, 28 U.S.C. §
2243 provides that a district court may summarily dismiss a habeas petition if it appears
that a petitioner is not entitled to relief. See Blevins v. Lamanna, 23 Fed.Appx. 216, 218 (6th
Cir. 2001). In this case, it appears that Petitioner is not entitled to relief and that dismissal
A state pre-trial detainee can seek federal habeas relief under §2241. Phillips v. Court
of Common Pleas, Hamilton Cty., Ohio, 668 F.3d 804, 809 (6th Cir. 2012); Atkins v. Michigan, 644
F.2d 543, 546 n. 1 (6th Cir.1981). Nevertheless, federal courts generally abstain from
exercising jurisdiction over such actions “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.” Atkins, 644 F.2d at 546. Abstention is justified under the doctrine of comity, and
courts have developed an exhaustion requirement in order to give the state courts the
opportunity to confront and resolve constitutional issues arising within their jurisdictions
and to limit federal judicial interference in state court processes. Id; see also Phillips, 668
F.3d at 811 n. 4 (explaining that decisional law has imposed an exhaustion requirement for
§2241 petitions in order to accommodate principles of federalism). Accordingly, federal
courts abstain from exercising jurisdiction over pre-conviction habeas petitions unless a
petitioner demonstrates that special or exceptional circumstances warrant federal habeas
intervention and that he has exhausted all available remedies in state court. See Braden v.
30th Judicial Cir. Ct. of Ky., 410 U.S. 484, 489 (1973).
Construed in the most favorable manner, Petitioner appears to claim that his bond
was excessive and that he was not present at his arraignment to challenge the bond
amount. Although he alleges that the $500,000 bond constitutes “cruel and unusual
punishment” in violation of the Eighth Amendment, it appears that his claim is more
accurately governed by the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against excessive bail. The
protection against unreasonable bail pending trial is one of a handful of special
circumstances that may warrant pre-conviction habeas intervention by a federal court.
Atkins, 644 F.2d at 549. It constitutes a special circumstance because the right to be free from
excessive bail before trial might be irremediably lost if a petitioner is forced to wait for a
final judgment on the merits of his state court case before seeking federal habeas relief. Id.
That said, even though a state petitioner who alleges excessive bail is not required to wait
for a final judgment on the merits in state court, he must still exhaust all of his state court
remedies before federal habeas intervention is warranted. Id.
It is clear from the petition that Petitioner has not exhausted his state court remedies.
Although Petitioner alleges that he complained to the public defender’s office that he was
not present at the arraignment, he admits that he has not taken any other action to formally
challenge or appeal the state court’s pre-trial detention determination. Ohio has a state
habeas corpus statute (Ohio Rev. Code §§ 2725.01, 2725.02), and the Ohio Supreme Court
has determined that, “[h]abeas corpus is the proper remedy to raise the claim of excessive
bail in pre-trial release cases.” Chari v. Yore, 91 Ohio St. 3d 323, 325 (2001). Again, there is
no indication that Petitioner filed a state habeas action or took any other interim steps to
formally challenge the state court’s arraignment proceedings or the pretrial detention
Certain speedy pre-trial claims may also warrant pre-conviction habeas relief. Atkins,
644 F. 2d at 546-47. Specifically, a federal court may issue an order requiring a state to
promptly bring a petitioner to trial after a petitioner has exhausted all state remedies
available to him on that issue. Id. On the other hand, on the basis of comity considerations,
federal courts abstain from exercising habeas jurisdiction where a petitioner seeks to have
charges dismissed before trial on speedy trial grounds. Id. See also Humphrey v. Plummer, 840
F. Supp. 2d 1040, 1042–44 (S.D. Ohio 2011). Petitioner alleges that his right to a speedy trial
has been violated, and he seeks an “an injuction” and to be released from custody. (Doc.
1, at 8.) This does not appear to be equivalent to asking this Court to order the state court
to promptly bring him to trial. Even if Petitioner sought such relief, it is again clear from
the petition that he has not exhausted his state court remedies on this claim. He alleges that
he complained to the public defender’s office but does not allege in his petition that he has
filed any motions in the state court on speedy trial grounds. Moreover, the Court notes
that, according to the online docket of the state court, Petitioner has now waived his speedy
trial rights pending a competency evaluation.
Finally, none of Petitioner’s other claims, even construed in the manner most
favorable to Petitioner, qualify as a special or exceptional circumstances that might warrant
federal pre-trial intervention in a state court proceeding. Nor has he properly exhausted
his state court remedies for any other claims. Accordingly, this Court must decline to
interfere with the pending state criminal proceedings.
III. Recommended Decision
For these reasons, the Magistrate Judge RECOMMENDS that the petition for a
writ of habeas corpus be DENIED and that this case be DISMISSED.
IV. Procedure on Objections
If any party objects to this Report and Recommendation, that party may, within
fourteen days of the date of this Report, file and serve on all parties written objections to
those specific proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made, together
with supporting authority for the objection(s). A judge of this Court shall make a de novo
determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or
recommendations to which objection is made. Upon proper objections, a judge of this Court
may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made
herein, may receive further evidence or may recommit this matter to the magistrate judge
with instructions. 28 U.S.C. 636(B)(1).
The parties are specifically advised that failure to object to the
Recommendation will result in a waiver of the right to have the district judge review the
Report and Recommendation de novo, and also operates as a waiver of the right to appeal the
decision of the District Court adopting the Report and Recommendation. See Thomas v. Arn,
474 U.S. 140 (1985); United States v. Walters, 638 F.2d 947 (6th Cir. 1981).
The parties are further advised that, if they intend to file an appeal of any adverse
decision, they may submit arguments in any objections filed, regarding whether a
certificate of appealability should issue.
/s/ Terence P. Kemp
United States Magistrate Judge
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