United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division
MICHAEL P. MILLS, Chief District Judge.
This matter comes before the court on the pro se petition of Ceaser Johnson, III for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. The State has moved to dismiss the petition for failure to state a valid habeas corpus claim. Johnson has not responded, and the deadline to do has expired. For the reasons set forth below, the State's motion to dismiss will be granted and the petition dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.
Facts and Procedural Posture
Ceasar Johnson, is incarcerated in the Bolivar County Correctional Facility in Cleveland, Mississippi, under the supervision of Warden Ora Starks. On August 26, 2013, he was indicted in the Circuit Court of Bolivar, Mississippi for one count of murder, one count of possession of firearm by a convicted felon, and two counts of intimidating a witness. (Bolivar County Circuit Court Case No. 2013-0005-CR1). The state court has not set at trial date, but the Circuit Court granted a continuance on October 4, 2013. The trial was originally set for October 7, 2013, but was continued on motion of the defendant to provide counsel additional time to prepare a defense. Johnson has not filed any pleadings or motions in the Mississippi Supreme Court.
On September 19, 2013, Johnson filed the instant pro se federal habeas corpus petition in which he raises the following grounds for relief:
Ground One. N/A [sic]
Ground Two. No evidence only hearsay.
Ground Three. The court[']s December 4, 2012 order incorrectly stated that three witnesses had testified on Johnson's behalf.
Ground Four. The court has not seen the video tape.
Johnson's request for relief reads as follows: "that Ceasar Johnson III be released immediately out of the Bolivar Correctional Facility and that all the funds that he have spent on bonds and attorney be given back to him."
28 U.S.C. § 2241 - Pretrial Detainees
As the petitioner has not been convicted, the court considers him a "pre-trial detainee, " and will treat the petition as one filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. In Braden v. 30th Judicial Circuit Court of Kentucky, 410 U.S. 484, 93 S.Ct. 1123 (1973), the United States Supreme Court held that a pre-trial detainee has a right to seek federal habeas corpus relief. Id., 410 U.S. at 488-89. The Braden Court held, however, "federal habeas corpus does not lie, absent special circumstances, ' to adjudicate the merits of an affirmative defense to a state criminal charge prior to a judgment of conviction by a state court." Id. at 489. In addition, a petitioner is not permitted to derail "a pending state proceeding by an attempt to litigate constitutional defenses prematurely in federal court." Id. at 493. Further, there is "an important distinction between a petitioner who seeks to abort a state proceeding or to disrupt the orderly functioning of state judicial processes' by litigating a speedy trial defense to a prosecution prior to trial, and one who seeks only to enforce the state's obligation to bring him promptly to trial." Brown v. Estelle, 530 F.2d 1280, 1283 (5th Cir.1976). Generally, there are two types of relief sought by a prisoner who asserts a pretrial habeas corpus petition:
[A]n attempt to dismiss an indictment or otherwise prevent a prosecution is of the first type, while an attempt to force the state to go to trial is of the second. While the former objective is normally not attainable through federal habeas corpus, the latter is, although the requirement of exhaustion of state remedies still must be met.
Id. (emphasis added). "In other words, a federal court may generally consider a habeas corpus petition for pretrial relief from a state court only when the accused does not seek a dismissal of the state court charges pending against him." Greer v. ...