United States District Court, D. Maine
RECOMMENDED DECISION ON HABEAS PETITION
C. Nivison U.S. Magistrate Judge.
action, Petitioner Jaffar Downie seeks habeas relief from
pretrial detention. (Petition, ECF No. 1.)
a preliminary review of the petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A and Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254
Cases, I recommend the Court dismiss the petition without
to the petition, Petitioner entered state custody on criminal
charges on October 3, 2017, and was in custody at the York
County Jail when he filed the petition. (Petition at 1.)
Insofar as Petitioner alleges that the State has failed to
prosecute, and that he has made a speedy trial request,
Petitioner is evidently a pretrial detainee. (Id.)
He alleges that “bail is $1500 but the courts
aren't hearing bail arguments because of terrible counsel
. . . .” (Id.) Petitioner requests release
from his pretrial detention. (Id.)
this Court docketed Petitioner's request for habeas
relief as filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, courts
have held that jurisdiction under § 2254 is limited to
post-conviction detention, and that 28 U.S.C. § 2241 is
the relevant statute for challenging the constitutionality of
pretrial detention. See, e.g., Hartfield
v. Osborne, 808 F.3d 1066, 1071 (5th Cir. 2015);
Klein v. Leis, 548 F.3d 425, 430 n.4 (6th Cir.
2008). Therefore, for purposes of this recommended decision,
Petitioner's request for relief from pretrial detention
is construed as having been filed pursuant to section
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, when a prisoner asserts a claim
against a governmental entity, a court must “identify
cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of
the complaint, if the complaint . . . is frivolous,
malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1). Similarly, a
federal district court must dismiss a habeas corpus petition
if it appears from the petition that the petitioner is not
entitled to relief. Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases, Rules
1(b) (authorizing the application of section 2254 rules to
other habeas actions) and 4 (requiring dismissal “[i]f
it plainly appears from the petition and any attached
exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the
district court”); McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S.
849, 856 (1994) (“Federal courts are authorized to
dismiss summarily any habeas petition that appears legally
insufficient on its face . . . .”).
extent Petitioner seeks to assert a habeas corpus petition to
secure his release from pretrial detention, Younger v.
Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971), mandates abstention from the
exercise of jurisdiction when a petitioner seeks relief in
federal court from ongoing state criminal proceedings.
See Sprint Communications, Inc. v. Jacobs, 571 U.S.
69, 78 (2013) (noting that Younger
“preclude[s] federal intrusion into ongoing state
criminal prosecutions”); In re Justices of Superior
Court Dept. of Mass. Trial Court, 218 F.3d 11, 16 (1st
Cir. 2000) (“The federal courts have long recognized
the ‘fundamental policy against federal interference
with state criminal proceedings.'” (quoting
Younger, 401 U.S. at 46)). Under Younger,
federal courts must abstain from interfering in state court
proceedings “when the moving party has an adequate
remedy at law and will not suffer irreparable injury if
denied equitable relief.” 401 U.S. at 43-44.
elements of mandatory abstention consist of the following:
“(1) the [state] proceedings are judicial (as opposed
to legislative) in nature; (2) they implicate important state
interests; and (3) they provide an adequate opportunity to
raise federal constitutional challenges.”
Bettencourt v. Bd. of Registration in Med. of
Commonwealth of Mass., 904 F.2d 772, 777 (1st Cir.
criminal proceedings alleged in the petition are judicial in
nature, implicate important state interests associated with
the State's administration of its laws, afford Petitioner
an adequate opportunity to raise federal constitutional
challenges, and allow Petitioner to advocate for pretrial
release on the same grounds he would cite in this Court.
Abstention, therefore, is presumptively appropriate. Indeed,
“[c]ourts have consistently applied the
Younger doctrine to dismiss habeas claims by
pretrial detainees based on excessive bail, claims of actual
innocence, or due process violations, absent bad faith,
harassment, or [other] extraordinary circumstances.”
Enwonwu v. Mass. Superior Court, Fall
River, No. 1:12-cv-10703-DJC, 2012 WL 1802056, at *3 n.
7, 2012 U.S. Dist. Lexis 68192, at *9-10 n.7 (D. Mass. May
case, Petitioner has not alleged any facts that would
constitute the extraordinary circumstances necessary to
overcome the presumption for abstention. Accordingly,
abstention is appropriate in this case.
on the foregoing analysis, an evidentiary hearing is not
warranted under Rule 8 of the Rules Governing Section 2254
Cases, and I recommend the Court dismiss without prejudice
Petitioner's motion for habeas relief under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254, and that the Court deny a certificate of
appealability pursuant to Rule 11 of the Rules Governing
Section 2254 Cases because there is no ...