United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION
C. NUGENT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
se Petitioner Reginald Davis filed the above-captioned
Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241. Petitioner is currently being detained in the
Northeast Ohio Correctional Center (“NEOCC”)
pending trial in the United States District Court for the
Western District of Pennsylvania on charges of possession
with intent to distribute and distribution of carfentanil
resulting in serious bodily injury or death and possession
with intent to distribute and distribution of carfentanil. In
his Petition, he challenges his indictment, and the grand
jury procedures. He seeks discharge from detention and
dismissal of the charges.
also filed an Application to Proceed In Forma
Pauperis (ECF No. 2). That Application is granted.
and Procedural Background
was indicted on March 21, 2017 in the United States District
Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania on charges
that he sold heroin laced with carfentanil, which caused the
death of a twenty-one-year-old male and severe injury to a
seventeen-year-old female. The charges are still pending.
asserts eight grounds for habeas relief. First, he contends
the indictment is duplicitous because it charges both
possession with intent to distribute and distribution of
carfentanil in the same count. Second, he contends the
Magistrate did not affix his seal to the criminal complaint,
depriving the Court of subject matter jurisdiction. Third, he
claims the warrant was not returned to the Magistrate,
depriving the Court of subject matter jurisdiction. Fourth,
he claims the Magistrate lacked jurisdiction to accept a plea
in a felony case. Fifth, he contends he was not given the
opportunity to challenge the grand jurors and was not made
aware of the grand jury investigation until after his
indictment. Sixth, he asserts the indictment was not returned
in open court and transcripts of the proceedings have not
been provided to him. Seventh, he asserts the grand jury
foreman did not file a letter or Certificate of Concurrence
of the Indictment with the Clerk of Courts depriving the
Court of subject matter jurisdiction. Finally, Petitioner
contends he was not provided with a preliminary hearing to
determine probable cause.
of habeas corpus “may be granted by the Supreme Court,
any justice thereof, the district courts and any circuit
judge within their respective jurisdictions.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241(a). Section 2241 “is an affirmative grant
of power to federal courts to issue writs of habeas corpus to
prisoners being held ‘in violation of the Constitution
or laws or treaties of the United States.'”
Rice v. White, 660 F.3d 242, 249 (6th Cir. 2011)
(quoting Section 2241(c)). Because Petitioner is appearing
pro se, the allegations in his Petition must be
construed in his favor, and his pleadings are held to a less
stringent standard than those prepared by counsel. Urbina
v. Thoms, 270 F.3d 292, 295 (6th Cir. 2001). However,
this Court may dismiss the Petition at any time, or make any
such disposition as law and justice require, if it determines
the Petition fails to establish adequate grounds for relief.
Hilton v. Braunskill, 481 U.S. 770, 775 (1987);
see also Allen v. Perini, 424 F.2d 134, 141 (6th
Cir. 1970) (holding District Courts have a duty to
“screen out” Petitions lacking merit on their
face under Section 2243).
eligible for habeas corpus relief under § 2241 as a
federal pretrial detainee, Petitioner is required to first
exhaust available remedies. See, e.g., Jones v.
Perkins, 245 U.S. 390, 391-92 (1918) (“It is well
settled that in the absence of exceptional circumstances in
criminal cases the regular judicial procedure should be
followed and habeas corpus should not be granted in advance
of a trial.”); Riggins v. United States, 199
U.S. 547, 550-51(1905) (vacating order granting habeas relief
when pretrial detainees filed habeas petitions before
“invok[ing] the action of the Circuit Court upon the
sufficiency of the indictment by a motion to quash or
otherwise”); Fassler v. United States, 858
F.2d 1016, 1018-19 (5th Cir. 1988) (per curiam) (stating that
Defendants cannot use § 2241 to challenge pretrial
detention orders that can be challenged under 18 U.S.C.
§ 3145); United States v. Pipito, 861 F.2d
1006, 1009 (7th Cir. 1987) (same). There is no allegation or
suggestion that petitioner exhausted his remedies.
even if Petitioner had exhausted his remedies, the nature of
his claims still precludes this Court's review. Just as
where the Court should abstain when a state pretrial detainee
raises habeas claims which would be dispositive of the
underlying criminal charges, federal court efficiency and
administration principles dictate that this Court decline to
review claims which would dispose of an underlying criminal
action pending in another District Court until the Petitioner
has exhausted the claims at his upcoming criminal trial.
Braden v. 30th Judicial Circuit Court, 410 U.S. 484,
489 (1973); Dickerson v. Louisiana, 816 F.2d 220,
225-26 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 956(1987).
In this case, Petitioner challenges his indictment and
contends the Western District of Pennsylvania lacks subject
matter jurisdiction over him. Such claims, if successful,
would obviously dispose of the underlying federal criminal
charges. At this stage, Petitioner's claims may be
exhausted by raising them at the pending criminal trial and
then, if necessary, on direct appeal.
Petitioner's Application to Proceed In Forma
Pauperis (ECF No. 2) is granted, the Petition for a Writ
of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 is denied
and this action is dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2243. Further, the Court certifies, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.