United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
Maurice D. Washington, Petitioner,
Al Cannon, Respondent.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
GORDON BAKER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Washington, a pro se state pretrial detainee, seeks
habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. (Dkt. No. 1). This
matter is before the Court for initial screening. Under 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Civil Rule
73.02(B)(2)(c) (D.S.C.), the undersigned is authorized to
review the petition and submit a recommendation to the
District Judge. For the following reasons, the undersigned
recommends summarily dismissing under Younger v.
Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971).
is in jail on four criminal charges. (See Dkt. No. 1
at 1.) He contends his custody is unconstitutional under
Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), Brady
v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 73 (1963), and Edwards v.
Arizona, 451 U.S. 477 (1981), and more generally under
the First through Fourteenth Amendments. (Id.) He
also claims he is being held in violation of Rule 5 of the
South Carolina Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rules 702 and 703
of the South Carolina Rules of Evidence, and State v.
Cole, 403 S.E.2d 117 (S.C. 1991). (Id.) He
demands to be released from custody and to have all charges
dismissed. (Dkt. No. 1 at 1.)
a preliminary review of Washington's § 2241
petition. See Rule 4, Rules Governing § 2254
Cases (requiring district courts to screen habeas petitions);
see also Rule 1(b), Rules Governing § 2254
Cases (allowing district courts to apply the rules to other
§ 2241 petitions). The narrow question before the Court
is whether it “plainly appears” that Washington
is not entitled to any relief in this Court. Rule 4, Rules
Governing § 2254 Cases. If so, the petition must be
dismissed; if not, the warden must respond. Id.
Because Washington is representing himself, the undersigned
has reviewed the petition liberally. See, e.g.,
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007).
Washington makes clear in his petition, his goal is dismissal
of his pending criminal prosecution in South Carolina state
court. However, criminal defendants generally cannot use
federal habeas “to dismiss an indictment or otherwise
prevent a prosecution.” Dickerson v.
Louisiana, 816 F.2d 220, 226 (5th Cir. 1987) (citation
and quotation marks omitted). That prohibition comes from our
“national policy forbidding federal courts to stay or
enjoin pending state court proceedings except under special
circumstances.” Younger, 401 U.S. at 41. Under
Younger, a federal court must refrain from
exercising its jurisdiction over a § 2241 challenge to
pending state charges if-
(1) there is an ongoing state judicial proceeding that began
prior to substantial progress in the federal habeas
(2) that proceeding implicates important, substantial, or
vital state interests; and
(3) there is an adequate opportunity to raise constitutional
challenges within the framework of the state judicial
Robinson v. Thomas, 855 F.3d 278, 285 (4th Cir.
2017) (citing Middlesex City Ethics Comm. v. Garden State
Bar Ass'n, 457 U.S. 423, 432 (1982)).
Washington was already in jail on four charges when he filed
his petition, the first criterion is easily met. So is the
second. See Nivens v. Gilchrist, 319 F.3d 151, 154
(4th Cir. 2003) (finding state had a “very important,
substantial, and vital interest in preventing violations of
its criminal laws”); see also Cooper v.
Oklahoma, 517 U.S. 348, 367 (1996) (noting “the
State's interest in the efficient operation of its
criminal justice system” is an “important state
interest”). As for the third, “ordinarily a
pending state prosecution provides the accused a fair and
sufficient opportunity for vindication of federal
constitutional rights.” Kugler v. Helfant, 421
U.S. 117, 124 (1975). Nothing in Washington's petition
suggests his pending case departs from that ordinary
situation. Rather, he can assert his claims before, during,
and-if need be-after trial.
federal court may disregard Younger's mandate to
abstain from interfering with ongoing state proceedings only
where extraordinary circumstances exist that present the
possibility of irreparable harm.” Robinson,
855 F.3d at 286 (citations and quotation marks omitted).
Seeing none here, the undersigned finds that