United States District Court, D. South Carolina
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
JACQUELYN D. AUSTIN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Tracy Jones (“Petitioner”), proceeding pro se,
brings this action seeking a writ of habeas corpus pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Petitioner is a pretrial detainee
at the Charleston County Detention Center
(“CCDC”), and he files this action in forma
pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915. This case is
subject to summary dismissal.
is presently detained at the CCDC, and he appears to have an
attorney appointed to represent him in the pending state
criminal matter. The Court takes judicial notice that
Petitioner has been charged with armed robbery and that bond
was set at $100, 000 on August 27, 2015. See State of
South Carolina v. Bernard Tracy Jones, Indictment #
has filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus (Doc. 1), an
amended petition for writ of habeas corpus (Doc. 4), and a
supplement to the petition for writ of habeas corpus (Doc.
8). Petitioner appears to contend that his bond is excessive
and that the State has violated his constitutional right to a
speedy trial. [Docs. 1, 4, 8]
requests this Court to order his release and asks that all
charges against him be dismissed. [Docs. 1, 4, 8.]
to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local
Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(c) DSC, the undersigned is authorized
to review such petitions for relief and submit findings and
recommendations to the District Court. Petitioner filed this
action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, the in forma
pauperis statute. This statute authorizes the District
Court to dismiss a case if it is satisfied that the action
“fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted,
” is “frivolous or malicious, ” or
“seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. §
this Court is charged with screening Petitioner's lawsuit
to determine if “it plainly appears from the petition
and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled
to relief in the district court.” Rule 4, Rules
Governing Section 2254 Cases in the U.S. District Courts
(2012); see also Rule 1(b) Rules Governing Section
2254 Cases in the U.S. District Courts (2012) (a district
court may apply these rules to a habeas corpus petition not
filed pursuant to § 2254).
pro se litigant, Petitioner's pleadings are accorded
liberal construction and held to a less stringent standard
than formal pleadings drafted by attorneys. See Erickson
v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93-94 (2007) (per curiam).
However, even under this less stringent standard, the
Petition in this case is subject to summary dismissal. The
requirement of liberal construction does not mean that the
Court can ignore a clear failure in the pleading to allege
facts which set forth a claim cognizable in a federal
district court. See Weller v. Dep't of Soc.
Servs., 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir. 1990).
federal habeas corpus relief for a state prisoner is
available post-conviction. However, pretrial petitions for
habeas corpus are properly brought under 28 U.S.C. §
2241, “‘which applies to persons in custody
regardless of whether final judgment has been rendered and
regardless of the present status of the case pending against
him.'” United States v. Tootle, 65 F.3d
381, 383 (4th Cir. 1995) (quoting Dickerson v.
Louisiana, 816 F.2d 220, 224 (5th Cir. 1987)). Generally
though, “‘an attempt to dismiss an indictment or
otherwise prevent a prosecution'” is not attainable
through federal habeas corpus relief. Dickerson, 816
F.2d at 226 (quoting Brown v. Estelle, 530 F.2d 1280
(5th Cir. 1976)). And, a federal writ of habeas corpus under
28 U.S.C. § 2241 can only be sought after the
petitioner has exhausted his state remedies. See Braden v.
30th Judicial Circuit Court, 410 U.S. 484, 490-91 (1973)
(exhaustion required under 28 U.S.C. § 2241); Moore
v. DeYoung, 515 F.2d 437, 442-43 (3rd Cir. 1975)
(exhaustion required under 28 U.S.C. § 2241).
Younger v. Harris, the Supreme Court held that a
federal court should not equitably interfere with state
criminal proceedings “except in the most narrow and
extraordinary of circumstances.” Gilliam v.
Foster, 75 F.3d 881, 903 (4th Cir. 1996). The
Younger Court noted that courts of equity should not
act unless the moving party has no adequate remedy at law and
will suffer irreparable injury if denied equitable relief.
Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 43-44 (1971);
see also Sprint Commc'ns, Inc. v. Jacobs, 134
S.Ct. 584, 588 (2013) (explaining the circumstances when
Younger abstention is appropriate).
Younger and its progeny, the Court of Appeals for
the Fourth Circuit has constructed the following test to
determine when abstention is appropriate: “(1) there
are ongoing state judicial proceedings; (2) the proceedings
implicate important state interests; and (3) there is an
adequate opportunity to raise federal claims in the state
proceedings.” Martin Marietta Corp. v. Maryland
Comm'n on Human Relations, 38 F.3d 1392, 1396 (4th
Cir. 1994) (citing Middlesex County Ethics Comm'n v.
Garden State Bar Ass'n, 457 U.S. 423, 432 (1982)).
Here, Petitioner is involved in ongoing state criminal
proceedings. The second criterion has been addressed by the
Supreme Court: “[T]he States' interest in
administering their criminal justice systems free from
federal interference is one of the most powerful of the
considerations that should influence a court considering
equitable types of relief.” Kelly v. Robinson,
479 U.S. 36, 49 (1986). The Court also decided the third
criterion in noting ...