United States District Court, D. North Dakota
January 13, 2014
Anthony Craig Garner, Petitioner,
Sheriff, Paul Laney, Respondent.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
KAREN K. KLEIN, Magistrate Judge.
Petitioner Anthony Craig Garner ("Garner") filed a petition for habeas relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. (Doc. #3). Garner is a pretrial detainee who is charged with aggravated assault in two separate state cases. Id . Garner alleges he was arrested and detained without probable cause. Id . Garner contends he is innocent, and that the Assistant State's Attorney is pursuing charges against him in bad faith and to harass Garner. Id.
Federal courts have held that a state pretrial detainee seeking habeas relief under § 2241 ordinarily must exhaust his remedies in state court. See Dickerson v. Louisiana , 816 F.2d 220, 225 (5th Cir. 1987). Garner states he filed a petition for habeas relief in the state courts, but fourteen days had elapsed without a ruling so he filed the instant petition in this court. (Doc. #3, p. 3). The court notes that Garner filed his federal habeas petition prior to any preliminary hearings in his state criminal cases. See State v. Garner, Cass County Case Nos. 09-CR-03601 and 09-CR-03603 (preliminary hearings scheduled for December 12, 2013).
"[F]ederal courts should refrain from interfering with pending state judicial proceedings absent extraordinary circumstances." Harmon v. City of Kansas City, Mo. , 197 F.3d 321, 325 (8th Cir. 1999) (citing Younger v. Harris , 401 U.S. 37, 43-44 (1971); see also Sacco v. Falke , 649 F.2d 634, 636 (8th Cir. 1981) ("Absent extraordinary circumstances, federal courts should not interfere with the states' pending judicial processes prior to trial and conviction, even though the prisoner claims he is being held in violation of the Constitution.")). No extraordinary circumstances warrant federal intervention into the ongoing state judicial process in either of Garner's state criminal cases.
Garner could have raised his claim that there is no probable cause to support his arrests at his preliminary hearings. Additionally, Garner's conclusory statements that the Assistant State's Attorney is pursuing assault charges against him in bad faith appear to be baseless. Garner admits to striking the victim in one of the criminal cases in "self-defense" and in "mutual combat, " and he states that the victim in the other case falsely reported he was injured after being kicked by Garner. (Doc. #3, p. 2, Doc. #3-1, p. 2). Garner's defenses to the charges need to be raised before the state courts rather than before this court.
It is RECOMMENDED that Garner's petition for habeas relief (Doc. #3) be DISMISSED without prejudice. It is further RECOMMENDED that the court certify that dismissal of the petition is not debatable, reasonably subject to a different outcome on appeal, or otherwise deserving of further proceedings, and the court find that any appeal would be frivolous, could not be taken in good faith, and may not be taken in forma pauperis.