United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
PATRICIA A. GAUGHAN, JUDGE
REPORT & RECOMMENDATION (DOC. NO. 6)
JONATHAN D. GREENBERG, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the magistrate judge pursuant to Local Rule
72.2. Before the Court is the petition of Eddie Lee Smith
(“Smith” or “Petitioner”) for a writ
of habeas corpus filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
Currently pending is Smith's Motion for Stay of State
Court Sentence/Proceedings Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2251.
(Doc. No. 6.) Respondent Edward Sheldon
(“Sheldon” or “Respondent”) opposes
the motion. (Doc. No. 7.) Smith filed a Response in support
of his Motion on October 28, 2019. (Doc. No. 10.) For the
following reasons, it is recommended Smith's Motion to
Stay (Doc. No. 6) be DENIED.
filed his petition for writ of habeas corpus in this Court on
June 28, 2019, raising three grounds for relief. (Doc. No.
1.) Respondent filed his Answer/Return of Writ on October 29,
2019. Smith's Traverse has not yet been
filed. (Doc. No. 11.)
seeks a stay of his sentence under 28 U.S.C.A. § 2251.
This rule read, in pertinent part:
(a) In general.--
(1) Pending matters.--A justice or judge of the United States
before whom a habeas corpus proceeding is pending, may,
before final judgment or after final judgment of discharge,
or pending appeal, stay any proceeding against the person
detained in any State court or by or under the authority of
any State for any matter involved in the habeas corpus
proceeding. . . .
(b) No further proceedings.--After the granting of such a
stay, any such proceeding in any State court or by or under
the authority of any State shall be void. If no stay is
granted, any such proceeding shall be as valid as if no
habeas corpus proceedings or appeal were pending.
28 U.S.C.A. § 2251. He argues that his sentence should
be stayed pending resolution of his habeas claim because his
imprisonment violates his rights under state and federal law.
(Doc. No. 6 at 1.) He also argues that his continued
imprisonment makes his habeas petition futile, since he is
due for release on May 13, 2020, and his underlying habeas
petition is unlikely to be finally resolved before that date.
challenges the whether the Court has the authority to issue a
stay under 28 U.S.C.A. § 2251. He cites Kleczka v.
Com. of Mass., 259 F.Supp. 462, 465 (D. Mass. 1966),
which holds, “[t]he court's power under Title 28
U.S.C. § 2251, refers only to State court proceedings,
not to service of sentences imposed by a State court. To
grant the petitioner's motion would be equivalent to
awarding the writ on the merits.”
does not cite any authority for the proposition that the stay
provision allows federal courts to stay state-court
sentences. However, the case cited by the Respondent is a
federal district court decision from Massachusetts decided in
1966. Since then, many other district courts have disagreed
with the holding in Kleczka, stating “to the
extent that Kleczka, supra, says that executions of
sentences . . . are not ‘proceedings' within the
terms of 28 U.S.C. § 2251, it does not correctly state
the law.” Bates v. Estelle, 483 F.Supp. 224
(S.D. Tex. 1980). See also Watson v. Goodwin, No. CV
15-2060, 2017 WL 906967, at *1 (W.D. La. Mar. 7, 2017),
aff'd, 709 Fed.Appx. 311 (5th Cir. 2018)
(“A federal court has the authority to release a
post-conviction habeas corpus petitioner on bail pending a
decision on the merits of the habeas corpus
petition.”); Stepney v. Lopes, 597 F.Supp. 11,
13 (D. Conn. 1984) (“A stay, as sought by petitioner,
is equivalent to the admission to bail and is within the
authority of the court.”); Whitecalf v. Young,
No. Civ. 14-5072-JLV, 2015 WL 224982, at *1 (D.S.D. Jan. 15,
decisions are consistent with the Sixth Circuit ruling in
Dotson v. Clark, 900 F.2d 77 (6th Cir. 1990). In
Dotson, the Court allowed habeas petitioners to
receive a stay of sentence pending resolution of their habeas
claims, if they satisfied a two-pronged test: “[i]n
order to receive bail pending a decision on the merits,
prisoners must be able to show not only a substantial claim
of law based on the facts surrounding the petition but also
the existence of ‘some circumstance making [the motion
for bail] exceptional and deserving of special treatment in
the interests of justice.'” Dotson v.
Clark, 900 F.2d 77, 79 (6th Cir. 1990). This test was
based in part on a Supreme Court decision denying bail for a
habeas petitioner. Aronson v. May, 85 S.Ct. 3, 13
L.Ed.2d 6 (1964). In Aronson, Justice Douglas wrote:
This applicant is incarcerated because he has been tried,
convicted, and sentenced by a court of law. He now attacks
his conviction in a collateral proceeding. It is obvious that
a greater showing of special reasons for admission to bail
pending review should be required in this kind of case than
would be required in a case where applicant had sought to
attack by writ of habeas corpus an incarceration not
resulting from a judicial determination of guilt. Cf.
Yanish v. Barber, 73 S.Ct. 1105, 97 L.Ed. 1637
(1953). In this kind of case it is therefore necessary to
inquire whether, in addition to there being substantial
questions presented by the appeal, there is some circumstance
making this application exceptional and deserving of special
treatment in the interests of justice. See Benson v.
California, 328 F.2d 159 (C.A. 9th Cir. 1964).
Aronson, 85 S.Ct. at 5, 13 L.Ed.2d at 9 (Douglas,
J., in chambers). In Dotson, the Sixth Circuit
warned that it was setting a high bar, and “[t]here
will be few occasions where a prisoner will meet this
standard.” Dotson, 900 F.2d at 79. The Court
explained that this high bar is appropriate because
“[s]ince a habeas petitioner is appealing a
presumptively valid state conviction, both principles of
comity and common sense dictate that it will indeed be the
very unusual case where a habeas petitioner is admitted ...