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Green v. Vandermosten

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

January 10, 2019

David Green, #300923-0355, Petitioner,
v.
Director J. Vandermosten; Administrator S. Bodiford; and Israel Holiser, Respondents.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Shiva V. Hodges United States Magistrate Judge

         David Green (“Petitioner”), proceeding pro se, filed this petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Civ. Rule 73.02(B)(2)(c) (D.S.C.), the undersigned is authorized to review such petitions for relief and submit findings and recommendations to the district judge. For the reasons that follow, the undersigned recommends that the district judge dismiss the petition in this case.

         I. Procedural Background

         On December 27, 2018, the court issued an order notifying Petitioner that his § 2241 habeas petition was subject to summary dismissal because he failed to allege sufficient facts to show that exceptional circumstances existed to justify federal review of his pending state criminal proceedings. [ECF No. 6]. The order further advised Petitioner that he had fourteen days within which to file an amended habeas petition or otherwise cure the identified deficiencies in his pleadings. Id. Petitioner filed an amended habeas petition on January 9, 2019. [ECF No. 8].

         II. Factual Background

         Petitioner is a pretrial detainee in the Greenville County Detention Center (“GCDC”) awaiting disposition of charges for heroin and cocaine trafficking, simple possession of marijuana, and driving under suspension. [ECF No. 8 at 1-3]. Petitioner alleges he is being held on an excessive $35, 000 bond with GPS monitoring, despite being ineligible for monitoring. Id. at 8. Petitioner also states he filed a motion to relieve his attorney in July 2018, and he contends he is not able to file his own motions while his motion is pending. Id. Finally, Petitioner complains about the conditions of his confinement at GCDC, claiming he (a) is housed in an overcrowded housing unit that interferes with his ability to read mail and use the computer and phone in private, (b) is not provided adequate toilet paper and cleaning supplies, (c) is being punished for other inmates' actions, and (d) has been punitively placed in a holding cell without a hearing or ticket. Id.[1]

         III. Discussion

         A. Standard of Review

         Under established local procedure in this judicial district, a careful review has been made of this petition pursuant to the Rules Governing Section 2254 Proceedings for the United States District Court, [2] the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214, and other habeas corpus statutes. Pro se complaints are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys. Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978). A federal court is charged with liberally construing a complaint filed by a pro se litigant to allow the development of a potentially meritorious case. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). In evaluating a pro se complaint, the plaintiff's allegations are assumed to be true. Fine v. City of N.Y., 529 F.2d 70, 74 (2d Cir. 1975). The mandated liberal construction afforded to pro se pleadings means that if the court can reasonably read the pleadings to state a valid claim on which a pro se party could prevail, it should do so. Nevertheless, the requirement of liberal construction does not mean that the court can ignore a clear failure in the pleading to allege facts that set forth a claim currently cognizable in a federal district court. Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387, 390-91 (4th Cir. 1990).

         B. Analysis

         Petitioner filed this amended habeas petition seeking to be released on a $35, 000 bond without GPS monitoring. [ECF No. 8 at 9]. 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)). However, federal habeas relief is available under § 2241 only if exceptional circumstances justify the provision of federal review. Dickerson, 816 F.2d at 227.

         In Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971), 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. at 43-44 (citation omitted). 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. 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)).

         Petitioner states he is currently detained pending disposition of state criminal charges, satisfying the first part of the test. The second part of the test is met because the Supreme Court has noted 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 Fourth Circuit has addressed the third criterion in noting “‘that ordinarily a pending state prosecution provides the accused a fair and sufficient opportunity for vindication of federal constitutional rights.'” Gilliam, 75 F.3d at 904 (quoting Kugler v. Helfant, 421 U.S. 117, 124 (1975)). Petitioner can pursue his excessive bail and ...


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