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Russell v. Ohio Adult Parole Authority

January 10, 2007


The opinion of the court was delivered by: S. Arthur Spiegel, Senior Judge United States District Court

(Spiegel, J.; Hogan, M.J.)


Plaintiff, an inmate at the Butler County Jail in Hamilton, Ohio brings this prisoner civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Defendants are the Ohio Adult Parole Authority (OAPA), OAPA Officer Jane Crutchfield, and Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones. By separate Order issued this date, plaintiff has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. This matter is before the Court for a sua sponte review of the complaint and supplement to the complaint to determine whether the complaint and/or supplement, or any portion thereof, should be dismissed because it is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B), 1915A(b).

A complaint may be dismissed as frivolous when the plaintiff cannot make any claim with a rational or arguable basis in fact or law. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 328-29 (1989); see also Lawler v. Marshall, 898 F.2d 1196, 1198 (6th Cir. 1990). An action has no arguable legal basis when the defendant is immune from suit or when plaintiff claims a violation of a legal interest which clearly does not exist. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327. An action has no arguable factual basis when the allegations are delusional or rise to the level of the irrational or "wholly incredible." Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32 (1992); Lawler, 898 F.2d at 1199.

Congress has also authorized the dismissal of complaints which fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted or which seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §1915A(b)(1-2). A complaint fails to state a claim for relief "if it appears beyond a doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim that would entitle him to relief." Brown v. Bargery, 207 F.3d 863, 867 (6th Cir. 2000).

Plaintiff's complaint alleges that on November 1, 2006, he was arrested by Officer Crutchfield on drug charges after being discovered in bed with a female suspect. He alleges that Officer Crutchfield then announced to the other officers present that plaintiff's wife was a Dayton, Ohio probation officer who had just had a baby. Plaintiff states that drug paraphernalia was placed in his barber's bag by the female suspect while he was asleep. He also alleges that $217.00 was taken from the bag and has not been accounted for. He states that Officer Crutchfield telephoned his wife and falsely reported to her the circumstances surrounding her husband's arrest. Plaintiff states a probable cause hearing was held on November 28, 2006 at which Officer Crutchfield falsely testified that plaintiff admitted to using cocaine on the night of his arrest. Plaintiff states that he is awaiting information on whether he will be extradited to Georgia on the alleged parole violation. He alleges his rights have been violated "due to a lack of information" or answers to his questions about the status of the extradition proceedings.

Plaintiff's supplement to his complaint purports to add Delmar Gagaris as a plaintiff and the Butler County Sheriff's Office Commissary Department and Medical Sick Call Department as defendants. As best the Court can discern, plaintiff complains that the Commissary Department substituted hydrocortisone cream for anti-fungal cream for plaintiff's athlete's foot and refused to give plaintiff a refund or exchange.

As relief, plaintiff seeks release from the Butler County Jail, an order requiring Officer Crutchfield to pay him the $217.00 "she obviously took from [his] property," and "monetary relief for damages done to my marriage, punitive damages; pain & suffering."

Plaintiff's complaint must be dismissed for failure to state a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. To the extent plaintiff may be seeking immediate or speedier release from his confinement, his sole federal remedy is a petition for writ of habeas corpus brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 or § 2254 after he has exhausted his state remedies. See Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 500 (1973); Hadley v. Werner, 753 F.2d 514 (6th Cir. 1985). Section 2254 applies in post-trial situations where a plaintiff is "in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court."

28 U.S.C. § 2254(a); see also Atkins v. Michigan, 644 F.2d 543, 546 n.1 (6th Cir.), cert. denied, 452 U.S. 964 (1981). Title 28 U.S.C. § 2241 establishes jurisdiction to consider pretrial petitions by persons in custody, regardless of whether final judgment has been rendered. Atkins, 644 F.2d at 546 and n.1; see also Fisher v. Rose, 757 F.2d 789, 792 n.2 (6th Cir. 1985); Delk v. Atkinson, 665 F.2d 90, 93 (6th Cir. 1981). In either situation, however, plaintiff must exhaust all available state court remedies before bringing an action under the habeas corpus statutes. Braden v. 30th Judicial Circuit Court of Kentucky, 410 U.S. 484, 490 (1973); Atkins, 644 F.2d at 546. The exhaustion doctrine applies in this context to protect the state courts' opportunity to initially resolve constitutional issues arising within their jurisdictions and to preserve the "orderly administration of state judicial business" by limiting early federal interference in state criminal proceedings. Braden, 410 U.S. at 490; Atkins, 644 F.2d at 546. In the pretrial context, such as the instant case, federal courts should abstain from the exercise of jurisdiction under § 2241 if the issues raised by plaintiff "may be resolved either by trial on the merits in the state courts or by other state procedures available to the petitioner [plaintiff]." Atkins, 644 F.2d at 546.

Here, a trial on the merits may resolve plaintiff's claim he was falsely charged with a drug crime in Ohio and may result in his release from confinement at the Butler County Jail. Plaintiff has neither alleged nor shown he has exhausted his state court remedies with respect to the Ohio charges against him. Therefore, this Court should abstain from exercising habeas corpus jurisdiction and plaintiff's complaint must be dismissed.

To the extent plaintiff may be complaining about the delay in his extradition to Georgia to face parole revocation charges in that state, his § 1983 complaint must also be dismissed as non-cognizable. See Preiser, 411 U.S. at 500.

Even assuming the Court were to construe the complaint as a pretrial petition for habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, plaintiff's speedy trial claim would be subject to dismissal for plaintiff's failure to exhaust his state remedies. See Burris v. Deters, 2006 WL 2381546 (S.D. Ohio Aug. 16, 2006), citing Preiser, 411 U.S. at 499. Plaintiff has failed to allege or show he exhausted the administrative remedies that are available to him under the Interstate Agreement on Detainers (IAD).*fn1 See O.C.G.A. § 42-6-20, Art. III(a)-(c). Because plaintiff has not properly invoked the IAD, he has failed to exhaust his adequate and available state remedies and would not be entitled to federal habeas relief. Norton v. Parke, 892 F.2d 476, 479-81 (6th Cir. 1989).

In addition, to the extent plaintiff seeks monetary damages, his complaint fails to state a cognizable claim under ยง 1983. Plaintiff claims the Ohio drug charges against him are false. Because plaintiff's claim, if successful, would necessarily imply the invalidity of any future conviction on the pending criminal charges, his claim ...

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