United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division
PROPOSED FINDINGS OF FACT AND RECOMMENDATION
H. WALKER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Jacquis Houston filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, challenging his pretrial
detention in the Lauderdale County Detention Facility. Doc.
. Petitioner alleges that he is a pre-trial detainee who
was indicted in 2015, but has not been brought to trial.
Id. at 2, 6-7. Thus, he asserts that his right to a
speedy trial has been violated. Id. at 7. He also
alleges that a witness is not showing up for trial, thereby
violating his right to confront his accuser. Id. He
further contends that by charging him with both burglary and
capital murder, he is being subjected to double jeopardy.
Id. Houston requests that all charges be dismissed
and that he be released immediately from custody.
Id. at 8. The Lauderdale County Circuit Court
records reflect that Houston was arrested on charges of
murder and burglary on March 3, 2015. Doc. [7-1]. He was
indicted for capital murder and burglary on July 28, 2015.
Doc. [7-2]. The Circuit Court entered numerous orders
resetting the matter for trial to allow further plea
negotiations. See Doc. [7-7] [7-8] [7-9] [7-10]
[7-13] [7-14]. In the first order resetting, Houston signed
the order agreeing to reset the matter for trial and waiving
his right to a speedy trial. Doc. [7-7]. In subsequent
orders, although counsel for Houston signed agreeing to the
trial resetting, the order indicates that Houston refused to
sign. Doc. [7-8] [7-9] [7-10] [7-13] [7-14].
February 23, 2018, Respondent filed a motion to dismiss. Doc.
. As of the filing of Respondent's motion,
Houston's trial was set for March 19, 2018. Doc. [7-14]
at 3. Houston has not filed a response in opposition to the
motion to dismiss.
is a pre-trial detainee; therefore, his petition for federal
habeas relief is governed by 28 U.S.C. § 2241. See
Dickerson v. Louisiana, 816 F.2d 220, 224 (5th Cir.
1987). To the extent that Houston seeks to have the charges
dismissed against him based on a speedy trial claim or other
alleged constitutional violations, his petition is without
merit. See Braden v. 30th Judicial Circuit Court of
Kentucky, 410 U.S. 484, 489 (1973)(“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.”). The Supreme
Court has held that a habeas petition may not disrupt pending
state criminal proceedings by attempting to litigate
constitutional defenses prematurely in federal court.
Braden, 410 U.S. at 493. Houston plainly states that
he wishes to have the charges dismissed and that he be
released immediately from custody based on the constitutional
violations alleged in his petition. Houston's request to
have charges dismissed against him is not attainable through
federal habeas corpus. See Brown v. Estelle, 530
F.2d 1280, 1283 (5th Cir. 1976). He has not identified any
special circumstances that would cause this Court to
entertain his request for release from custody.
alternative, Houston's petition fails because he has not
exhausted state remedies. As the Fifth Circuit explained in
Dickerson, “although section 2241 establishes
jurisdiction in the federal courts to consider pre-trial
habeas corpus petitions, federal courts should abstain from
the exercise of that jurisdiction if the issues raised in the
petition may be resolved either by trial on the merits in the
state court or by other state procedures available to the
petitioner.” 816 F.2d at 225. As exhibits to the motion
to dismiss, Respondent has attached the documents from
Houston's Circuit Court file. See Doc. [7-1]
through Doc. [7-14]. None of these pleadings raises a speedy
trial claim or any other constitutional violation. In fact,
one of the orders signed by Houston expressly waives his
right to a speedy trial. Doc. [7-7]. Counsel for Respondent
has confirmed with the Lauderdale County Circuit Clerk's
Office that no document has been filed by Houston in state
court challenging his pretrial detention or his right to a
speedy trial. Doc.  at 4. Houston has not filed a response
in opposition to the motion to dismiss and therefore does not
dispute Respondent's argument on the exhaustion issue.
The undersigned finds that Houston prematurely and
impermissibly seeks to raise constitutional claims through
the federal habeas provisions.
on the foregoing, the undersigned recommends that
Respondent's  Motion to Dismiss be GRANTED and that
Jacquis Houston's 28 U.S.C. § 2241 petition be
dismissed with prejudice.
OF RIGHT TO APPEAL/OBJECT
to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), any party who desires to
object to this report must serve and file written objections
within fourteen (14) days after being served with a copy
unless the time period is modified by the District Court. A
party filing objections must specifically identify those
findings, conclusions and recommendations to which objections
are being made; the District Court need not consider
frivolous, conclusive or general objections. Such party shall
file the objections with the Clerk of the Court and serve the
objections on the District Judge and on all other parties. A
party's failure to file such objections to the proposed
findings, conclusions and recommendation contained in this
report shall bar that party from a de novo determination by
the District Court. Additionally, a party's failure to
file written objections to the proposed findings,
conclusions, and recommendation contained in this report
within fourteen (14) days after being served with a copy
shall bar that party, except upon grounds of ...