United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND ORDER
AARON POLSTER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
se Plaintiff Leonard Smith filed a “Habeas Corpus
Motion to Dismiss Order Prisoner Release Civil Rights
Violations” action against the State of Ohio. In the
Pleading (Doc. # 1), Plaintiff asserts the State of Ohio has
over-indicted him, and charged him with multiple offenses
without foundation. He contends this is a violation of his
civil rights. He alleges the State is slandering him with
wrongful gun charges causing his bond to be unreasonable and
resulting in his continued detention. He asks this Court to
order the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas to release
him and dismiss all charges pending against him.
not clear from the pleading whether Plaintiff intended to
file a civil rights action or a Petition for a Writ of Habeas
Corpus. To the extent he intended to proceed under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, this case must be dismissed. A District Court is
expressly authorized to dismiss any civil action filed by a
prisoner seeking relief from a governmental entity, as soon
as possible after docketing, if the Court concludes that the
Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, or if the Plaintiff seeks monetary relief from a
Defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C.
§1915A; Siller v. Dean, No. 99-5323, 2000 WL
145167, at *2 (6th Cir. Feb. 1, 2000); see Hagans v.
Lavine, 415 U.S. 528, 536-37 (1974) (citing numerous
Supreme Court cases for the proposition that attenuated or
unsubstantial claims divest the District Court of
jurisdiction); In re Bendectin Litig., 857 F.2d 290,
300 (6th Cir. 1988) (recognizing that federal question
jurisdiction is divested by unsubstantial claims).
of action fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted when it lacks “plausibility in the
Complaint.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 564 (2007). A pleading must contain a “short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 677-78 (2009). The factual allegations in the
pleading must be sufficient to raise the right to relief
above the speculative level on the assumption that all the
allegations in the complaint are true. Bell Atl.
Corp., 550 U.S. at 555. The Plaintiff is not required to
include detailed factual allegations, but must provide more
than “an unadorned, the-Defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me
accusation.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
A pleading that offers legal conclusions or a simple
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not meet
this pleading standard. Id. In reviewing a
Complaint, the Court must construe the pleading in the light
most favorable to the Plaintiff. Bibbo v. Dean Witter
Reynolds, Inc., 151 F.3d 559, 561 (6th Cir.1998).
the criminal charges against him are still pending, this
Court must abstain from hearing challenges to the state court
proceedings. A federal court must decline to interfere with
pending state proceedings involving important state interests
unless extraordinary circumstances are present. See
Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 44-45 (1971). When a
person is the target of an ongoing state action involving
important state matters, he or she cannot interfere with the
pending state action by maintaining a parallel federal action
involving claims that could have been raised in the state
case. Watts v. Burkhart, 854 F.2d 839, 844-48 (6th
Cir.1988). If the state Defendant files such a case, Younger
abstention requires the federal court to defer to the state
proceeding. Id; see also Pennzoil Co. v. Texaco,
Inc., 481 U.S. 1, 15 (1987). Based on these principles,
abstention is appropriate if: (1) state proceedings are
on-going; (2) the state proceedings implicate important state
interests; and (3) the state proceedings afford an adequate
opportunity to raise federal questions. Middlesex County
Ethics Comm. v. Garden State Bar Ass'n, 457 U.S.
423, 432 (1982). Abstention is mandated whether the state
court proceeding is criminal, quasi-criminal, or civil in
nature as long as federal court intervention “unduly
interferes with the legitimate activities of the
state.” Younger, 401 U.S. at 44.
criminal case is still pending and state court criminal
matters are of paramount state interest. See
Younger, 401 U.S. at 44-45. The third requirement of
Younger is that Plaintiff must have an opportunity
to assert his federal challenges in the state court
proceeding. The pertinent inquiry is whether the state
proceedings afford an adequate opportunity to raise the
federal claims. Moore v. Sims, 442 U.S. 415, 430
(1979). The burden at this point rests on the Plaintiff to
demonstrate that state procedural law bars presentation of
his claims. Pennzoil Co., 481 U.S. at 14. When a
Plaintiff has not attempted to present his federal claims in
the state court proceedings, the federal court should assume
that state procedures will afford an adequate remedy, in the
absence of “unambiguous authority to the
contrary.” Pennzoil, 481 U.S. at 15.
there has been no showing that the claims asserted by
Plaintiff in this federal lawsuit are barred in the state
action. The requirements of Younger are satisfied
and this Court must abstain from interfering in any pending
state court criminal action against the Plaintiff.
extent Plaintiff intended for this case to be a Petition for
a Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, it also
must be dismissed. Under 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3), federal
courts may grant habeas relief on claims by a state pre-trial
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). 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. Notwithstanding, the Sixth Circuit
has 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)). Therefore, even 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)). The
requirement of exhaustion “has developed to protect the
state courts' opportunity to confront initially and
resolve constitutional issues arising within their
jurisdictions and to limit federal judicial interference in
state adjudicatory processes.” Atkins v.
Michigan, 644 F.2d 543, 546 (6th Cir. 1981) (citations
omitted). Petitioner does not allege he exhausted his state
court remedies. He therefore cannot bypass the state courts
and proceed to federal court on a § 2241 Petition.
this action is DISMISSED. The Court
certifies, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3), that an
appeal from this decision could not be taken in good
IS SO ORDERED.
 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3)