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Carman v. Pinkney

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

January 15, 2020

Ronald Carman, Petitioner,
v.
Sheriff Clifford Pinkney, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND ORDER

          PATRICIA A. GAUGHAN JUDGE

         INTRODUCTION

         Pro se Petitioner Ronald Carman requests leave from this Court to file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2242 (Doc. 1), which he attaches (Doc. 1-2) to his request, and moves this Court to stay the proceedings of a criminal case pending in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, No. CR-16-604846) (“Criminal Case”) (Doc. 4).

         For the reasons that follow, Carnan's request for leave to file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2242 is granted. The petition and motion to stay are denied, and this action is dismissed. Carman has filed a motion to proceed with this matter in forma pauperis (Doc. 3), and that motion is granted.

         BACKGROUND

         Carman states that in February 2016, he was serving a sentence at the Belmont state prison on a matter unrelated to the Criminal Case and was to be released April 20, 2016. Before he was released, he became a person of interest in two cases being investigated by Pamela Bradek. (Doc. 1-2 at 4). On February 26, 2016, a grand jury summons was issued for Carman to be conveyed to the Cuyahoga County Jail where he was held pending the filing of charges in the Criminal Case. An indictment was filed on March 30, 2016, charging Carman in the Criminal Case with rape, kidnaping, and gross sexual imposition against two victims. (Id.).

         Carman sought to proceed in the Criminal Case pro se, and the trial court granted his request. During a pretrial hearing on February 26, 2019, Carman submitted a written motion to quash the indictment due to a procedural defect and asked the trial court to dismiss the Criminal Case. In the motion, Carman argued that he was jailed on February 26, 2016, in connection with charges in the Criminal Case but not indicted until March 30, 2016, in violation of his right “provided by the statute” to be charged within thirty (30) days from the date an individual is arrested, detained, or served with a summons in connection with such charges. (Doc. 1-1). The statute to which Carman refers is the Federal Speedy Trial Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3161(b). (Doc. 1-2 at 2, 6-8).

         On April 30, 2019, the trial court conducted a hearing on Carman's motion. The State argued that the speedy trial provision did not apply because Carman was already serving a sentence. (Id. at 6-7). The trial court denied the motion. (Id.; see also Doc. 4). On June 3, 2019, Carman's appeal of that ruling to the Ohio Eighth District Court of Appeals was denied for lack of a final appealable order.[1] He filed a writ of habeas corpus with the Ohio Supreme Court, which was dismissed sua sponte. (Doc. 1-2 at 4; Doc. 4).

         Claiming that he has exhausted his available state remedies, Carman seeks habeas relief from this Court and a stay of the Criminal Case. (Id.). Carman asserts two grounds for relief: (1) the indictment in the Criminal Case is procedurally defective and void because it was not filed within the time period required by § 3161(b); and (2) the trial court erred by not dismissing the indictment. (Doc. 1-2 at 6-8). Carman argues that these errors in the pending Criminal Case violate the statute and his constitutional rights under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments and asks this Court to dismiss the indictment or reverse the trial court's denial of his motion to quash the indictment. (Id. at 3, 6-8).

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Pro se pleadings are held to “less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers” and must be liberally construed. Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982) (per curiam) (citing Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972)); see also Franklin v. Rose, 765 F.2d 82, 85 (6th Cir. 1985) (pro se complaints are entitled to liberal construction) (citations omitted). This principle of liberal construction applies to petitions for a writ of habeas corpus. Urbina v. Thoms, 270 F.3d 292, 295 (6th Cir. 2001). Notwithstanding, the Court is not required to conjure unpleaded facts or construct claims on Plaintiff's behalf. See Grinter v. Knight, 532 F.3d 567, 577 (6th Cir. 2008) (citation omitted); Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1277-78 (4th Cir. 1985).

         DISCUSSION

         Carman seeks to bring his petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2242. Section 2242 is a procedural statute governing the application for a writ of habeas corpus and does not provide a basis for habeas relief. Carman recognizes that it is not appropriate to seek habeas relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 because he is not challenging a judgment of conviction in the Criminal Case. (Doc. 1 at 2). But a state pretrial detainee may file a petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 and, in the spirit of liberal construction, the Court will construe Carman's petition under § 2241. See Phillips v. Court of Common Pleas, Hamilton Cty., Ohio, 668 F.3d 804, 809 (6th Cir. 2012) (“[H]e is in custody pursuant to an indictment. Section 2254, therefore, by its own terms, does not apply to Phillip's petition, and it would be error to apply § 2254 here. We have long recognized that pretrial detainees pursue habeas relief instead under § 2241.”) (citations omitted).

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3), federal courts have authority to grant habeas relief to a state pretrial detainee in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States. Id. That said, it is well-settled that a federal court should not interfere in pending state criminal proceedings absent the threat of an “irreparable injury” that is “both great and immediate.”[2]Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 46 (1971). “Courts have generally recognized that Younger applies to ...


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