United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE ANTHONY P. PATTI
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING PETITIONER'S MOTION TO
STAY PROCEEDINGS  AND ADMINISTRATIVELY CLOSING THIS
GERSHWIN A. DRAIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
state prisoner Patrick O'Neal Magee, Jr.
(“Petitioner” or “Mr. Magee”) filed a
petition for a writ of habeas corpus, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. Presently before the Court is Petitioner's
Motion to Stay Habeas Proceedings and Hold the Petition in
Abeyance. The Court GRANTS Petitioner's motion for a
in the Oakland County Circuit Court convicted the Petitioner
of first-degree felony murder (Mich. Comp. Law s §
750.316b). Mr. Magee is currently serving his sentence in the
Cotton Correctional Facility in Jackson, Michigan. Petitioner
filed an appeal of right with the Michigan Court of Appeals.
The Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed Petitioner's
convictions. People v. Magee, Jr., No. 325227, 2016
WL 930945 (Mich. Ct. App. March 10, 2016). Petitioner then
filed an application for leave to appeal with the Michigan
Supreme Court. The Michigan Supreme Court denied leave to
appeal. People v. Magee, Jr., 500 Mich. 868, 885
N.W.2d 277 (2016).
April 25, 2017, Petitioner filed a petition for a writ of
habeas corpus in this Court. Dkt. No. 1. Petitioner asserts:
(1) that there was insufficient evidence to prove that he was
the proximate cause of the victim's death; (2) that the
photo line-up was tainted; and (3) that he was deprived of
due process because he never had a juvenile sentencing
hearing. Id., pp. 5, 7, 8 (Pg. ID 5, 7, 8). Along
with his petition, Petitioner also filed a motion to stay the
habeas proceedings and hold the petition in abeyance until he
has presented a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel to
the state trial court. Dkt. No. 3. Petitioner did not present
an ineffective-assistance claim on direct appeal.
See Dkt. No. 1, pp. 2-3 (Pg. ID 2-3).
LAW & ANALYSIS
Magee filed a motion to hold the habeas petition in abeyance
so that he can return to the state courts to raise claims
that have not been exhausted with the state courts and which
are not included in the current petition.
federal district court is authorized to stay fully exhausted
federal habeas petitions pending the exhaustion of other
claims in the state courts. See Nowaczyk v. Warden, New
Hampshire State Prison, 299 F.3d 69, 77-79 (1st Cir.
2002) (holding that district courts should “take
seriously any request for a stay.”); Anthony v.
Cambra, 236 F.3d 568, 575 (9th Cir. 2000); See also
Bowling v. Haeberline, 246 F.App'x. 303, 306 (6th
Cir. 2007) (holding that a court is entitled to delay
deciding a habeas petition that contains exhausted claims
“when considerations of comity and judicial economy
would be served.”) (quoting Nowaczyk, 299 F.3d
at 83); See also Thomas v. Stoddard, 89 F.Supp.3d
937, 943 (E.D. Mich. 2015) (Michelson, J.). Indeed, although
there is no bright-line rule that a district court can never
dismiss a fully-exhausted habeas petition because of the
pendency of unexhausted claims in state court, in order for a
federal court to justify departing from the “heavy
obligation to exercise jurisdiction, ” there must be
some compelling reason to prefer a dismissal over a stay.
Nowaczyk, 299 F.3d at 82; See also Bowling,
246 F.App'x. at 306 (district court erred in dismissing
petition containing only exhausted claims, as opposed to
exercising its jurisdiction over petition, merely because
petitioner had independent proceedings pending in state court
involving other claims).
Court grants Petitioner's motion to hold the petition in
abeyance while he returns to the state courts to exhaust. The
outright dismissal of the petition, albeit without prejudice,
might result in preclusion of consideration of the
Petitioner's claims in this Court due to the expiration
of the one-year statute of limitations contained in the
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA).
See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). A common
circumstance calling for abating a habeas petition arises
when the original petition was timely filed, but a second,
exhausted habeas petition would be time barred by the
AEDPA's statute of limitations. See Hargrove v.
Brigano, 300 F.3d 717, 720-21 (6th Cir. 2002).
considerations merit holding the petition in abeyance while
petitioner returns to the state courts to exhaust his new
claims. In particular, “the Court considers the
consequences to the habeas petitioner if it were to proceed
to adjudicate the petition and find that relief is not
warranted before the state courts ruled on unexhausted
claims. In that scenario, should the petitioner subsequently
seek habeas relief on the claims the state courts rejected,
he would have to clear the high hurdle of filing a second
habeas petition.” Thomas, 89 F.Supp.3d at 942
(citing 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(2)). Moreover, “[i]f
this Court were to proceed in parallel with state
post-conviction proceedings, there is a risk of wasting
judicial resources if the state court might grant relief on
the unexhausted claim.” Id.
considerations merit granting a stay also. This Court is
currently not in a position to determine whether Mr.
Magee's new claims have any merit, thus, the Court cannot
say that petitioner's claims are “plainly
meritless.” Thomas, 89 F.Supp.3d at 943. Nor,
on the other hand, can the Court at this time say that
petitioner's new claims plainly warrant habeas relief.
Id. If the state courts deny post-conviction relief,
this Court would still benefit from the state courts'
adjudication of these claims in determining whether to permit
petitioner to amend his petition to add these claims.
Finally, this Court sees no prejudice to respondent in
staying this case, whereas Mr. Magee “could be
prejudiced by having to simultaneously fight two proceedings
in separate courts and, as noted, if this Court were to rule
before the state courts, [petitioner] would have the heavy
burden of satisfying 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(2)'s