United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee
A. VARLAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a prisoner of the Tennessee Department of Correction, has
filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2254 asserting that the State of Tennessee
violated the Interstate Agreement on Detainers
(“IAD”) by transferring him to Kentucky without a
fugitive warrant [Doc. 1]. Respondent has filed a response
[Doc. 15] and the state court record [Doc. 14]. Petitioner
has filed a motion for evidentiary hearing [Doc. 16] and a
reply [Doc. 17]. After reviewing the relevant filings and the
state court record, the Court finds that Petitioner's
claim is not cognizable under § 2254. Accordingly, no
evidentiary hearing is warranted, see Rule 8(a) of
the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases, Petitioner's
motion for an evidentiary hearing [Doc. 16] will be
DENIED, the § 2254 petition [Doc. 1]
will be DENIED, and this action will be
2017, the office of the prosecutor in Warren County, Kentucky
issued a request for temporary custody of Petitioner, who was
in the custody of the State of Tennessee, pursuant to the IAD
for prosecution of charges of first-degree robbery and
kidnapping [Doc. 14-1 p. 4-10]. Petitioner did not waive
extradition [Id. at 9-10], but instead filed a state
court petition for a writ of habeas corpus challenging the
validity of the Kentucky request [Id. at 13-15].
hearing, the state habeas corpus court denied the petition
[Doc. 14-2 p. 5- 14; Doc. 14-1 p. 86]. Petitioner was
transferred to Kentucky, where he pleaded guilty to two
charges of second-degree robbery and received a total
sentence of twenty years in prison to be served consecutive
to his current sentence [Doc. 15-1]. Petitioner then returned
to the custody of the State of Tennessee [Doc. 16 p. 1].
appealed the denial of his habeas corpus petition to the
Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals (“TCCA”) by
asserting that his transfer to Kentucky was improper because
he was not properly served with a fugitive warrant for his
arrest as required under the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act
(“UCEA”) [Doc. 14-4 p. 1-12], and the TCCA
affirmed. Heard v. Lee, 2019 WL 364453, at *3 (Tenn.
Crim. App. Jan. 29, 2019).
has now filed the instant petition for relief under §
2254 in which he asserts that his transfer to Kentucky
without a fugitive warrant violated the IAD and that the
State of Tennessee therefore lost custody of him through this
transfer [Doc. 1 p. 5, 14]. Also, in his motion for
evidentiary hearing and reply, Petitioner requests that the
Court discharge him from the Kentucky detainer and
“release him from custody and all restraints”
[Doc. 16 p. 2; Doc. 17 p. 6.
first asserts that Petitioner's claim is not cognizable
under § 2254. The Supreme Court has held that
“habeas review is available to check violations of
federal laws when the error qualifies as a fundamental defect
which inherently results in a complete miscarriage of
justice, [or] an omission inconsistent with the rudimentary
demands of fair procedure.” Reed v. Farley,
512 U.S. 339, 348 (1994) (internal quotation marks omitted).
is a federal law. Cuyler v. Adams, 449 U.S. 433, 438
(1981). However, the Sixth Circuit has held that, absent
exceptional circumstances, a violation of the IAD is not a
basis for relief under § 2254. Browning v.
Foltz, 837 F.2d 276, 283 (6th Cir. 1988) (holding that
violations of the IAD do not provide a basis for habeas
relief under § 2254). Moreover, the Sixth Circuit has
specifically held that the IAD does not give a district court
the authority to order prison officials to disregard a
detainer from another state or to order officials from
another state to withdraw such a detainer. Bracey v.
Tennessee, 616 F.2d 268, 269 (6th Cir. 1980).
Supreme Court has explained prosecutor-initiated transfers
under the IAD as follows:
Article IV of the Agreement provides the procedure by which
the prosecutor in the receiving State may initiate the
transfer. First, the prosecutor must file with the
authorities in the sending State written notice of the
custody request, approved by a court having jurisdiction to
hear the underlying charges. For the next 30 days, the
prisoner and prosecutor must wait while the Governor of the
sending State, on his own motion or that of the prisoner,
decides whether to disapprove the request. If the Governor
does not disapprove, the prisoner is transferred to the
temporary custody of the receiving State where he must be
brought to trial on the charges underlying the detainer
within 120 days of his arrival. Again, if the prisoner is not
brought to trial within the time period, the charges will be
dismissed with prejudice, absent good cause shown.
Cuyler, 449 U.S. at 444. As the TCCA noted in its
opinion affirming the denial of Petitioner's petition for
a writ of habeas corpus, the Supreme Court held that the IAD
preserved any rights that prisoners subject to an involuntary
transfer under Article IV previously had, including those in
UCEA, except the right to contest a transfer that the
governor of their state has not affirmatively approved.
Heard v. Lee, 2019 WL 364453, at *2 (Tenn. Crim.
App. Jan. 29, 2019); Cuyler, 449 U.S. at 445-46.
TCCA also noted that Tennessee has adopted both the IAD and
the UCEA. Heard, 2019 WL at *2. In doing so,
Tennessee adopted the UCEA's requirement that when a
person in Tennessee ...