United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Petitioner Luqman Abdullah's Petition for
Writ of Habeas Corpus. (Doc. No. 1.) For the reasons set
forth herein, the Petition will be dismissed.
names as respondents Metro Nashville police officers Jaren
Reece and Joshua Mauzy, Davidson County Criminal Court Judge
Bell, Criminal Court Clerk Howard Gentry, and Criminal Court
Deputy Clerk Lakisha Green. He asserts that his right to due
process was violated when he was stopped and detained without
probable cause by Breece in May 2016 and improperly
propositioned by Mauzy. He alleges that he was taken into
custody for possession of four Ecstasy pills that were
case was bound over to the grand jury without Plaintiff's
ever having spoken to his attorney. Plaintiff believes his
counsel is ineffective.
2017, Petitioner went to the Davidson County Criminal Court
Clerk's Office to seek expungement of certain convictions
on his record. His expungements are taking an unnecessarily
long time. He was told by Criminal Court Clerk Howard Gentry
that Gentry personally was holding up the expungements so
that Petitioner could be tried as a felon on his pending
charges. Petitioner claims that Gentry offered to accept a
bribe in exchange for processing the expungements.
asks this Court to Order Criminal Court Judge Cheryl
Blackburn, who is not named as a respondent, to dismiss the
charges pending against him as a miscarriage of justice, to
“order the State court to turn over the time that the
dog was called for and what time the K-9 dog answered,
” or to hold a hearing in federal court to ensure he
has a full and fair hearing. (Doc. No. 1, at 3.) He also
seeks leave to file a “Motion for interrogatory in this
Petitioner does not allege that he is in custody pursuant to
the judgment of a state court, the Court construes the
petition as having been filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2241
rather than under § 2254. Pursuant to Rule 4 of the
Rules Governing § 2254 Cases, which may also apply to
petitions under § 2241, see Rule 1(b), Rules
Gov'g § 2254 Cases, the Court will conduct a
preliminary review of the petition.
28 U.S.C. § 2241(c), the “writ of habeas corpus
shall not extend to a prisoner unless . . . [h]e is in
custody . . . or is committed for trial before some court [of
the United States].” Although Petitioner does not
allege that he is incarcerated, he does suggest that he is
under indictment and that criminal charges remain pending
against him. Persons released on bond are “in
custody” for purposes of the habeas statute.
Hensley v. Municipal Court, 411 U.S. 345, 351
(1973). It therefore appears that Petitioner may satisfy
§ 2241's “in custody” requirement.
28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3), federal courts may grant habeas
relief on claims by a state pretrial detainee if he is in
custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties
of the United States. Phillips v. Hamilton Cnty. Ct. of
Common Pleas, 668 F.3d 804, 809 (6th Cir. 2012). Here,
Petitioner alleges that he was arrested in violation of his
Fourth Amendment rights and that various other constitutional
deprivations have occurred, but he does not actually allege
that he is in custody in violation of his rights. Moreover,
the named respondents are not appropriate respondents to a
habeas petition: they are not charged with Petitioner's
custody, and it plainly appears from the petition that they
are not in a position to provide habeas relief. See
Braden v. 30th Judicial Circuit Court of Ky., 410 U.S.
484, 494-95 (1973) (“The writ of habeas corpus does not
act upon the prisoner who seeks relief, but upon the person
who holds him in what is alleged to be unlawful
custody.”). In short, the habeas petition fails to
state a claim for habeas relief from respondents capable of
providing such relief.
that were not the case, Petitioner does not allege that he
has exhausted his state-court remedies. Unlike exhaustion
under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, exhaustion under § 2241 is
not a statutory requirement. Compare 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254(b)(1)(A), with id. § 2241. The
Sixth Circuit has nonetheless recognized that, “in the
§ 2241 context, ‘decisional law has superimposed
such a requirement in order to accommodate principles of
federalism.'” Phillips, 668 F.3d at 810
n.4 (quoting United States ex rel. Scranton v. New
York, 532 F.2d 292, 294 (2d Cir. 1976)). Thus, even
those habeas petitioners proceeding under § 2241
“must exhaust all available state court remedies before
proceeding in federal court, and this usually requires that
they appeal an adverse decision all the way to the
state's court of last resort.” Phillips,
668 F.3d at 810 (citing Klein v. Leis, 548 F.3d 425,
429 n.2 (6th Cir. 2008)).
does not indicate that he has been convicted, so he
apparently retains the ability to exhaust state-court
remedies prior to trial, for instance by filing appropriate
pretrial motions. If his motions are rejected and he is
convicted anyway, he will have the ability to appeal the same
issues. Dismissal for failure to exhaust is therefore
warranted. Accord Riggins v. United States, 199 U.S.
547, 550-51 (1905); Alden v. Kellerman, 224
Fed.Appx. 545, 547 (7th Cir. 2007); Smith v. Hall,
No. 3:12-CV-1022, 2013 WL 587479, at *3 (M.D. Tenn. Feb. 13,
2013); Brown v. Lieber, No. 1:08-CV-630, 2008 WL
3990973, at *2 (W.D. Mich. Aug. 26, 2008).
it is also apparent that abstention under Younger v.
Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971), is appropriate. Courts have
generally recognized that Younger applies to
applications for the writ of habeas corpus. See,
e.g., In re Justices of Superior Ct. Dep't of
Mass. Trial Court, 218 F.3d 11, 17-18 (1st Cir. 2000)
(applying abstention principles to pretrial habeas petition);
Davis v. Lansing, 851 F.2d 72, 76 (2d Cir. 1988)
(affirming dismissal of pretrial habeas petition on
abstention grounds). The Younger abstention doctrine
requires a federal court to abstain from interfering with
pending state civil or criminal proceedings involving
important state interests, absent extraordinary
circumstances. Younger, 401 U.S. at 44; see
Jones v. Perkins, 245 U.S. 390, 391-92 (1918) ...