United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
OPINION AND ORDER
Aaron Polster United States District Judge
case is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation of
Magistrate Judge William H. Baughman, Jr. Doc #:
183 (“R&R”). The Magistrate Judge
recommends that the Court grant Respondent's Motion to
Dismiss the Petition for Writ of Habeas C orpus filed by
Petitioner Hakeem Sultaana and dismiss the Petition.
Respectively, Doc ##: 130, 1. Petitioner has
filed Objections. Doc ##: 189, 191. The
Court has reviewed these documents along with the voluminous
record and is prepared to issue a ruling.
Hakeem Sultaana is incarcerated at the Warren Correctional
Institution where he is serving an aggregate 14-year prison
sentence imposed following state-court jury convictions for
numerous offenses related to his participation in a car title
flipping scheme. The convictions and sentence were affirmed
on direct appeal. State v. Sultaana, No. 101492,
2016-Ohio-199 (Ohio App. Jan 21, 2016) Petitioner did not
appeal the affirmance to the Ohio Supreme Court.
has filed several petitions for writ of habeas corpus in this
district, all of which were dismissed without prejudice so
that Petitioner could exhaust his claims in state court. If
it is possible to separate the wheat from the chaff in this
sizeable record, it appears that Sultaana has finally
exhausted all his claims in state court. See, e.g., Doc #:184
and attachments thereto.
said, Sultaana's claims were procedurally defaulted
before he returned to state court to exhaust them,
and the state appeals courts chose to deny him leave to
consider his claims on the merits. So, although his claims
are now exhausted, they are still procedurally defaulted for
reasons set forth in the R&R. Sultaana makes no
intelligible argument that the claims are not procedurally
defaulted; rather, he devotes the lion's share of his
Objections to the argument that his claims are exhausted and
there is cause and prejudice to excuse the procedural
defaults. The Court has already determined that he has
exhausted all his claims, so the remaining question is
whether he can show cause and prejudice to excuse the
“cause, ” Sultaana refers back to the argument he
made in his opposition to Respondent's first Motion to
Dismiss. See Doc #: 191 at 8 (referring to his argument in
Doc #: 123). There, Sultaana argued that the state appeals
court made a mistake when it denied his ineffective
assistance of appellate counsel claims in his Rule 26(B)
application because he represented himself on his direct
appeal. Sultaana contends that he did not represent himself
on his direct appeal - and it is this mistake that
constitutes the cause to excuse his procedural defaults.
Court has reviewed the state court docket which reveals that
Sultaana did in fact represent himself on his direct appeal.
See Cuyahoga County Clerk of Court's public docket, Case
No. CA-14-101492. Accordingly, since he waived his Sixth
Amendment right to counsel, he cannot bring ineffective
assistance of counsel claims. Because he has failed to show
cause to excuse his procedural defaults, the Court concludes
that his claims are procedurally defaulted. Based on the
foregoing, the Court ADOPTS the R&R
(Doc #: 183), OVERRULES the
Objections (Doc ##: 189, 191), and
DISMISSES WITH PREJUDICE the Petition
(Doc #: 1).
courts are tolerant of legal filings submitted by pro se
litigants, such tolerance is not limitless. Federal courts
have both the inherent power and constitutional obligation to
protect their jurisdiction from conduct which impairs the
ability to carry out Article III functions. Procup v.
Strickland, 792 F.2d 1069, 1073 (11th Cir. 1986).
Moreover, this Court has the responsibility to prevent
litigants from unnecessarily encroaching on judicial
machinery needed by others. Id. To achieve these
ends, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth
Circuit has approved enjoining vexatious and harassing
litigants by requiring them to obtain leave of court before
submitting additional filings. See, e.g., Filipas v.
Lemons, 835 F.2d 1145 (6th Cir. 1987); Wrenn v.
Vanderbilt Univ. Hosp., 1995 WL 111480 (6th Cir. Mar.
15, 1995) (authorizing a court to enjoin harassing litigation
under its inherent authority and the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C.
§ 1651(a)) (citations omitted).
Magistrate Judge Greg White previously deemed Sultaana a
vexatious litigator and enjoined him from filing new motions,
objections, notices, or any other filings in one of
Sultaana's earlier § 2254 petitions. See Case No.
1:15 CV 1963, Doc #: 44. And Magistrate Judge Baughman has
already warned Sultaana about continuing his pattern of
filing frivolous, unintelligible and unnecessary filings. Doc
#: 125. Even the Eighth District Court of Appeals and the
Ohio Supreme Court declared Sultaana a vexatious litigator
and prohibited him from instituting any appeals or original
actions, continuing any appeals or original actions, or
filing any motions in any pending appeals or original actions
without first obtaining leave of court.
the Court hereby DEEMS Hakeem Sultaana a
vexatious litigator and ENJOINS him from
filing any new motions, objections, notices or any other
filings in this case including, as the Court previous stated,
a motion to reconsider this ruling. If Sultaana disagrees
with this Opinion and Order, he shall appeal it to the Sixth
Circuit Court of Appeals. The Clerk's Office is hereby
ORDERED to refrain from filing any document
submitted by Petitioner Sultaana or anyone on his
behalf, and to return those documents citing this Order.