Olivier v. State of Tennessee et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION OF THE COURT AND ORDER: Because it appears from Petitioner's submission that he is unable to pay the filing fee, his IFP application (Doc. No. 2) is GRANTED. For these reasons, and those previously set forth by the Court i n Petitioner's previous case, Olivier v. Tennessee, et al., No. 3:17-cv-0832 (M.D. Tenn. May 25, 2017), this matter is DISMISSED without prejudice to Petitioner's ability to refile upon the exhaustion of his state court remedies. Because Petitioner has failed to make a substantial showing of a constitutional violation in this matter, a certificate of appealability is DENIED. See Castro v. United States, 310 F.3d 900 (6th Cir. 2002) (A petitioner is entitled to a COA only if he ha s made a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right. 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2).). Signed by Chief Judge Waverly D. Crenshaw, Jr on 6/1/17. (xc:Pro se party by regular mail. ) (DOCKET TEXT SUMMARY ONLY-ATTORNEYS MUST OPEN THE PDF AND READ THE ORDER.)(am)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE
STATE OF TENNESSEE, et al.,
CHIEF JUDGE CRENSHAW
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Presently before the court are Petitioner’s pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (Doc. No. 1), and his application to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP) (Doc.
No. 2.) Because it appears from Petitioner’s submission that he is unable to pay the filing fee, his
IFP application (Doc. No. 2) is GRANTED.
The petition in this case is identical in all respects to the petition previously dismissed
in Olivier v. Tennessee, et al., No. 3:17-cv-0832 (M.D. Tenn. May 25, 2017) (Trauger, J.), except
that each petition refers to a different state criminal action. In both cases, Petitioner, who is free
on bail awaiting trial in Montgomery County, has alleged that his constitutional rights have been
violated in connection with his arrest and pending prosecution on state criminal charges. He has
further alleged that he has been unable to have his claims adjudicated by a state court, because
Tennessee courts will not entertain an appeal or habeas corpus action until after a defendant is
convicted. He asks the Court to order the Montgomery County Court to dismiss the case against
him and order him released from his bond.
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,” and 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
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 found that the district court had properly granted relief on a fully exhausted speedy trial
claim, but “emphasize[d] that nothing we have said would permit the derailment of a pending state
proceeding by an attempt to litigate constitutional defenses prematurely in federal court,” and
rejected the notion that its decision would “convert federal habeas corpus into ‘a pretrial-motion
forum for state prisoners.’” Id. at 493.
Likewise, the Sixth Circuit has 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
Atkins v. Michigan, 644 F.2d 543, 546 (6th Cir. 1981) (internal citations omitted). Indeed, federal
courts have generally recognized that the “Younger abstention doctrine,” arising from Younger v.
Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971), applies to petitions for the writ of habeas corpus. See, e.g., In re Justices
of Superior Ct. Dep’t of Mass. Tr. Ct., 218 F.3d 11, 17–18 (1st Cir. 2000) (applying abstention
principles to pretrial habeas petition); Davis v. Lansing, 851 F.2d 72, 76 (2d Cir. 1988) (affirming
dismissal of pretrial habeas petition on abstention grounds). The Younger abstention doctrine
requires a federal court to abstain from interfering with pending state civil or criminal proceedings
involving important state interests, absent extraordinary circumstances. Younger, 401 U.S. at
44; see Jones v. Perkins, 245 U.S. 390, 391–92 (1918) (“It is well settled that in the absence of
exceptional circumstances in criminal cases the regular judicial procedure should be followed and
habeas corpus should not be granted in advance of a trial.”).
Petitioner’s case implicates Tennessee’s important interest in adjudicating alleged criminal
conduct, and he has not alleged any extraordinary circumstances warranting this Court’s
intervention before allowing time for him to present his constitutional claims to Tennessee courts
during the normal course of his criminal case. For these reasons, and those previously set forth by
the Court in Petitioner’s previous case, Olivier v. Tennessee, et al., No. 3:17-cv-0832 (M.D. Tenn.
May 25, 2017), this matter is DISMISSED without prejudice to Petitioner’s ability to refile upon
the exhaustion of his state court remedies.
Because Petitioner has failed to make a substantial showing of a constitutional violation in
this matter, a certificate of appealability is DENIED. See Castro v. United States, 310 F.3d 900
(6th Cir. 2002) (“A petitioner is entitled to a COA only if he ‘has made a substantial showing of
the denial of a constitutional right.’ 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2).”).
IT IS SO ORDERED.
WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR.
CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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