United States District Court, D. South Carolina
Edward J. Frasier, Petitioner,
Sheriff Al Cannon, Respondent.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Kaymani D. West Florence, United States Magistrate Judge
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241 was submitted to the court by a local detainee
appearing pro se. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B),
and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(c) (D.S.C.), this magistrate
judge is authorized to review all pretrial matters in such
pro se cases and to submit findings and recommendations to
the district court. See 28 U.S.C. §§
1915(e), 1915A (as soon as possible after docketing, district
courts should review prisoner cases to determine whether they
are subject to summary dismissal).
J. Frasier (“Petitioner”) is detained at the
Charleston County Detention Center, pending trial on state
robbery charges. He submitted a one-page Petition for Writ
of Habeas Corpus to this court, requesting it to grant him a
personal recognizance bond or other bond reduction. ECF No.
1. Petitioner does not provide any information about any
efforts he has made in state court to obtain a bond
Standard of Review
established local procedure in this judicial district, a
careful review was made of the pro se Petition filed in this
case. The review was conducted pursuant to the procedural
provisions of 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915, 1915A, and the
Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, and
in light of the following precedents: Denton v.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25 (1992); Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324-25 (1989); Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972); Nasim v. Warden,
Md. House of Corr., 64 F.3d 951 (4th Cir. 1995);
Todd v. Baskerville, 712 F.2d 70 (4th Cir. 1983);
Boyce v. Alizaduh, 595 F.2d 948 (4th Cir. 1979).
court is required to construe pro se petitions liberally.
Such pro se petitions are held to a less stringent standard
than those drafted by attorneys, Gordon v. Leeke,
574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978), and a federal district
court is charged with liberally construing a petition filed
by a pro se litigant to allow the development of a
potentially meritorious case. Erickson v. Pardus,
551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). When a federal court is evaluating a
pro se petition the petitioner's allegations are assumed
to be true. De'Lonta v. Angelone, 330 F.3d 630,
630 n.1 (4th Cir. 2003). 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 currently cognizable in a federal district court.
Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387,
391 (4th Cir. 1990).
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 of Rules
Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District
Courts; see Rule 1(b) of Rules Governing Section
2254 Cases in the United States District Courts (a district
court may apply these rules to a habeas corpus petition not
filed pursuant to § 2254). Following the required
initial review, it is recommended that the Petition submitted
in this case should be summarily dismissed.
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.
Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971), the United
States 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, 401 U.S.
at 43-44. From Younger and its progeny, the Fourth
Circuit Court of Appeals has culled 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. Md.
Comm'n on Human Relations, 38 F.3d 1392, 1396 (4th
Cir. 1994) (citing Middlesex Cnty. Ethics Comm'n v.
Garden State Bar Ass'n, 457 U.S. 423, 432 (1982)).
information contained in the Petition filed in this case,
supplemented by public records available online, indicates
that an ongoing state criminal proceeding exists. The second
criteria has been addressed by the United States Supreme
Court's statement that “the 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 addressed the third
criteria in noting “‘that ordinarily a pending
state prosecution provides the accused a fair and sufficient
opportunity for vindication of federal constitutional
rights.'” Gilliam v. Foster, 75 F.3d 881,
903 (4th Cir. 1996) (quoting Kugler v. Helfant, 421
U.S. 117, 124 (1975)).
federal habeas relief is available under ' 2241 only if
“special circumstances” justify the provision of
federal review. Dickerson, 816 F.2d at 224-26;
see also Braden v. 30th Judicial Circuit Court, 410
U.S. 484, 489-90 (1973). While “special
circumstances” lacks any precise, technical meaning,
courts have looked to whether procedures exist which would
protect a petitioner's constitutional rights without
pre-trial intervention. Moore v. DeYoung, 515 F.2d
437, 449 (3d Cir. 1975). Thus, where a threat to the
petitioner's rights may be remedied by an assertion of an
appropriate defense in state court, no special circumstance
is shown. Id.; see also Drayton v. Hayes,
589 F.2d 117, 121 (2d Cir. 1979) (double jeopardy claim
entitled to pretrial habeas intervention since “the
very constitutional right claimed . . . would be
violated” if the petitioner were forced to go to
trial). Where the right may be adequately preserved by
orderly post-trial relief, such as by appeal or collateral
review processes, special circumstances are likewise
nonexistent. Moore, 515 F.2d at 449.
desires a bond reduction. This federal court cannot grant the
requested relief because Petitioner's criminal charges
are state charges, not federal charges. Nevertheless, he may
be able to request bond reduction from the state trial judge
presiding over his case through pretrial motion. If the trial
court denies such motion, he can raise such denial as a
ground for relief in a direct appeal and/or in a
post-conviction relief application. As a result, his request
is comparable to the speedy-trial claim that was involved in
the Moore case. In Moore, 515 F.2d at 443,
the court concluded that the federal court should abstain
from considering a speedy-trial claim at the pretrial stage
because the claim could be raised at trial and on direct
appeal. See United States v. MacDonald,435 U.S. 850
(1978); Dickerson, 816 F.2d at 226-27. Because
Petitioner can pursue his claims in state court both during
and after trial, he fails to demonstrate "special
circumstances, " or to show that he has no ...