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Eskridge v. Edmonds

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Greeneville

November 19, 2019

DAVID ADAM ESKRIDGE, Petitioner,
v.
LARRY E. EDMONDS and HERBERT SLATERY III, Respondents.

          Cynthia R. Wyrick, Magistrate Judge.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          TRAVIS R. MCDONOUGH, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Petitioner, a prisoner of the Virginia Department of Corrections (“VDOC”), has filed a pro se petition for habeas corpus relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (Doc. 1). He challenges a detainer for violation of probation that the Criminal Court in Sullivan County, Tennessee lodged against him in 2011. (See Doc. 1, at 2; Doc. 2, at 1-5; Doc. 2-4.) Respondent Edmonds has filed a motion to dismiss this petition as time-barred[1] (Doc. 18). Petitioner has not responded to this motion, and the time for doing so has passed. E.D. Tenn. L.R. 7.1. Accordingly, Petitioner waived any opposition thereto. Elmore v. Evans, 449 F.Supp. 2, 3 (E.D. Tenn. 1976), aff'd mem. 577 F.2d 740 (6th Cir. 1978); E.D. Tenn. LR 7.2. For the reasons set forth below, Respondent's motion to dismiss (Doc. 18) will be GRANTED, and this action will be DISMISSED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Petitioner's allegations and the state-court records supplied by Petitioner and Respondent allege the following facts.

         On March 14, 2006, Petitioner was convicted in the Criminal Court for Sullivan County, Tennessee, for driving on a revoked, suspended, or cancelled license, driving under the influence, and failure to appear. (Docs. 17-1, 17-2; see also Doc. 2, at 1.) He was sentenced to a total term of one year, eleven months, and 29 days of probation. (Docs. 17-1, 17-2; see also Doc. 2, at 1.) At the time of these Tennessee convictions, Petitioner appears to have been subject to a not-yet-satisfied term of imprisonment in Virginia. (See Doc. 2, at 2.) His Tennessee probationary sentence was ordered to become effective “upon release from Virginia.” (Docs. 17-1, 17-2; see also Doc. 2, at 1.)

         Petitioner alleges he was released from the Virginia Department of Corrections (“VDOC”) in June 2007 “with a suspended sentence and [three] years of Active Probation.” (Doc. 2, at 2.) Between September 2008 and August 2009, Petitioner received at least five additional Virginia state convictions, which resulted in two violations of his Virginia probation. (See Doc. 2-4, at 1.)[2]

         On May 3, 2011, the Criminal Court for Sullivan County, Tennessee issued a warrant for Petitioner's arrest based on a violation of his Tennessee probation. (Id.) The warrant listed each of his Virginia state convictions and probation violations as the basis for the charged Tennessee probation violation. (Id.) The same day, a judge in the Circuit Court of Sullivan County ordered that a typographical error in Petitioner's 2006 judgment be corrected. (See Doc. 2-5, at 1.) The order clarified that Petitioner's total effective Tennessee sentence was one year, eleven months, and 29 days' probation to be served consecutive “to the Virginia sentence he is presently serving.” (Id.) Also on May 3, 2011, a detainer was lodged on Petitioner by the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office. (Doc. 2-7, at 1.)

         On May 11, 2014, Petitioner sent a letter to the Criminal Court of Sullivan County, Tennessee, regarding the detainer. (See Doc. 2-8, at 1.) On May 22, 2014, Tennessee Criminal Court Judge Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., responded to Petitioner's letter and informed him that he would “need to file the appropriate I.A.D. paperwork” if he wished to be transported to Sullivan County to resolve the matter.[3] (Id.) Over four years later, on January 27, 2019, Petitioner submitted a request to the records department of VDOC, seeking an I.A.D. transfer to Tennessee. (Doc. 2-1, at 1.) A VDOC official responded and directed Petitioner “to request a speedy trial with the detainer unit at Atmore Headquarters.” (Id.)

         On February 3, 2019, Petitioner filed an informal complaint with the Warden of the prison in which he complained that the IAD request had still not been submitted. (Doc. 2-2, at 1.) The following day, a prison official responded and instructed Petitioner that he was responsible for writing the detainer unit and requesting the necessary paperwork. (Id. (also providing the address for the detainer unit).) The record does not show exactly when Petitioner made contact with the detainer unit, but, on March 13, 2019, he received a reply from the detainer coordinator, informing him that the unit could not request a speedy trial pursuant to the IAD because the IAD “does not apply to Probation or Parole Violations.” (Doc. 2-3, at 1.)

         On April 3, 2019, Petitioner filed the instant petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. (See Docs. 1, 2.) He contends that “the Sullivan County Criminal Court erred in violating a probation that has never started, ” and that he is entitled “to be resentenced to a [fair] and legal sentence.” (Doc. 2, at 4-5.) Petitioner requests that this Court order the Circuit Court of Sullivan County, Tennessee, to receive him “at a reasonable time, ” pursuant to the Sixth Amendment's guarantee of a speedy trial. On August 8, 2019, Respondent Edmonds filed a motion to dismiss Petitioner's petition as untimely (Doc. 18).

         II. ANALYSIS

         Respondent Edmonds seeks dismissal of Petitioner's § 2241 petition “on the grounds that it was filed outside the one-year statute of limitations under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1).” (Id. at 1.) However, in his memorandum in support of his motion to dismiss, Edmonds mischaracterizes Petitioner's petition as challenging the lawfulness of his 2006 Sullivan County convictions rather than the 2011 detainer. Notwithstanding this error, the Court finds that there are several reasons-some raised in Edmonds's motion and some not-to dismiss Petitioner's petition. First, Petitioner's claims are not suited to review on a § 2241 petition at this time; second, Petitioner has not exhausted his state-court remedies; and third, the petition was not timely filed.

         A. Whether ยง 2241 Is the Proper Vehicle ...


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