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Barnett v. Hobbs

March 19, 2007

JAMES A. BARNETT, PETITIONER,
v.
WARDEN HOBBS, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Curtis L. Collier Chief United States District Judge

Collier/Lee

MEMORANDUM

This is a petition for the writ of habeas corpus brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (Court File No. 1).*fn1 Petitioner James A. Barnett ("Barnett") is a prisoner confined at Correction Corporation of America Silverdale in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Barnett claims he is being illegally detained as a result of an illegal extradition.The detainer is based on charges currently pending in the Criminal Court of Hamilton County. For the following reasons, the Court will dismiss the petition without prejudice for failure to exhaust available state court remedies.

I. Non-Dispositive Motions

Barnett has filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis which indicates a zero balance in his trust account and the same amount during the last six months. Therefore, Barnett does not have sufficient funds to pay the $5.00 filing fee. Accordingly, Barnett's motion to proceed in forma pauperis is GRANTED (Court File No. 11).

Also before the Court is a motion by Barnett requesting the production of certain specified documents (Court File No. 12). Barnett presumably seeks an order from this Court compelling defendants to produce the requested documents.

Barnett does not indicate, in his motion, that he has sought discovery from defendants pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 26 & 34. The proper procedure for requesting discovery is to serve defendants with a request for production of documents. Fed. R. Civ. P. 34. If defendants fail to cooperate in discovery, then a person may move to compel discovery pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 37. Nevertheless, since the Court is dismissing the habeas petition the motion to compel discovery is DENIED as MOOT (Court File No. 12).

II. Factual and Procedural Background

Barnett filed this instant petition on or about December 4, 2006. Barnett alleges Tennessee illegally extradited him from the State of Georgia. The record reflects Barnett filed Interstate Detainer Agreement Forms II, III, and IV, on May 6, 2005, requesting disposition of pending charges in Hamilton County, Tennessee. On May 25, 2005, the Hamilton County District Attorney's Office submitted, under the Interstate Detainer Agreement Form VII, Acceptance of Temporary Custody offered in connection with Barnett's request for disposition of the detainer. However, on June 13, 2005, the Georgia Interstate Agreement on Detainer Coordinator advised the Hamilton County District Attorney's Office that they could not pick up Barnett on July 6, 2005, because there had not been a formal detainer lodged by Tennessee authorities and Barnett's request was premature.

A formal detainer was subsequently lodged by the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office on June 17, 2005, for charges of vandalism, theft of property, and burglary of a business. The record further reflects that Barnett was advised by his prison counselor in August of 2005 to refile Interstate Detainer Agreement Forms II, III, and IV since no formal detainer was filed in May 2005. Barnett refused to file the appropriate forms after the detainer had been formally filed (Court File No. 1;Court File No. 8, Exhibits 1, 2, 3a).

Barnett maintains Hamilton County was required to try him on the pending charges within 180 days from May 6, 2005, the date on which he signed Interstate Detainer Agreement Forms II, III, and IV. Failure to do so, according to Barnett, requires dismissal of the charges. Thus argues Barnett, Hamilton County, relying upon a sixteen month old expired temporary waiver, illegally took custody of him on September 18, 2006, when they transported him to Hamilton County, without having new waiver forms signed by him and without granting him an extradition hearing.

The United States, the State of Georgia, and State of Tennessee are all signatories of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers ("IAD"). Article III of the agreement gives a prisoner the right to demand a final disposition of charges pending against him in another jurisdiction. See Alabama v. Bozeman, 533 U.S. 146, 150 (2001). However, Article III refers to a prisoner submitting written notice "whenever . . . there is pending in any other party state any untried indictment, information, or complaint on the basis of which a detainer has been lodged against the prisoner. . . ." Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-31-101 (emphasis added). To assert this right, the prisoner must first file a request for final disposition with the warden or other officer having custody of him. Strictly construing Article III, it appears this request should only be made after a detainer has been lodged. A strict construction of Article III is supported by the Sixth Circuit's requirement that a prisoner must strictly comply with IAD procedures before any untimely or unlawful actions brought against a defendant may be dismissed. See Norton v. Parke, 892 F.2d 476, 480(6th Cir. 1989). However, because Barnett has not demonstrated he has exhausted his state remedies, the Court need not conclusively decide this issue.

After the defendant properly submits written notice demanding a final disposition of the charges pending against him in another jurisdiction, the warden then forwards the request to the appropriate state court, as well as the appropriate prosecutor's office. The request must include a certificate stating the term of commitment under which the prisoner is being held, the amount of time already served, the amount of time remaining to be served, the amount of good time earned, the time of parole eligibility of the prisoner, and any decision made in connection with the prisoner's parole.Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-31-101. If the prisoner is not tried within the requisite 180-day period, the prisoner is entitled to dismissal of the charges with prejudice. The 180-day period commences once "the prisoner's request for final disposition of the charges against him has actually been delivered to the court and prosecuting officer." Fex v. Michigan, 507 U.S. 43, 52 (1993).

A state prisoner seeking to challenge the validity of an interstate detainer must first exhaust all available state remedies before filing a federal habeas petition. See Braden v. 40th Judicial Circuit Court of Kentucky, 410 U.S. 484, 488-89 (1973). Such remedies include the remedies provided by the IAD. See Norton v. Parke, 892 F.2d at 479 (holding that prisoners must pursue the remedies provided by the IAD before seeking federal habeas relief). The exhaustion requirement "protect[s] the state courts' role in the enforcement of federal law and prevent[s] the disruption of the state judicial proceedings." Rose v. Lundy, 455 U.S. 509, 515-18 (1982). However, where circumstances render ...


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