United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
JAMES R. ADAMS, Petitioner,
ROBERT NAPEL, Respondent,
OPINION AND ORDER HOLDING IN ABEYANCE THE PETITION
FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND ADMINISTRATIVELY CLOSING THE
F. Cox United States District Judge
R. Adams, (“Petitioner”), confined at the
Marquette Branch Prison in Marquette, Michigan, filed a
pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, in which he challenges his
conviction for second-degree murder, M.C.L.A. 750.317.
Petitioner has now filed a motion to hold the petition in
abeyance to permit him to file a post-conviction motion in
the state courts to exhaust several claims that are contained
in his petition which have yet to be exhausted with the state
courts. For the reasons stated below, the Court will hold the
petition in abeyance and will stay the proceedings under the
terms outlined in this Opinion to permit Petitioner to return
to the state courts to exhaust his claims, failing which the
petition shall be dismissed without prejudice. The Court will
also administratively close the case.
Background Petitioner pleaded guilty to the above
charge in the Wayne County Circuit Court. Petitioner's
conviction was affirmed on appeal. People v. Adams,
No. 316794 (Mich.Ct.App. Aug. 13, 2013); lv. Den.
495 Mich. 916, 840 N.W.2d 334 (2013).
filed a post-conviction motion for relief from judgment with
the trial court, which was denied. People v. Adams,
No. 12-0008184-FC (Wayne Cty. Cir. Ct., Apr. 4, 2015).
Michigan appellate courts denied petitioner leave to appeal.
People v.Adams, No. 329530 (Mich.Ct.App. Jan. 15,
2016); lv. den. ___ Mich. ___ 888 N.W.2d 65 (2016).
March 27, 2017,  petitioner filed a pro se
petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254, asking this Court to grant him habeas relief on
eleven grounds. Respondent has not yet filed an answer to the
has now filed a motion to hold the petition in abeyance.
Petitioner acknowledges in both his petition and in his
motion that he has yet to exhaust his fifth through eleventh
claims with the state courts.
general rule, a state prisoner seeking federal habeas relief
must first exhaust his available state court remedies before
raising a claim in federal court. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)
and (c). See Picard v. Connor, 404 U.S. 270, 275-78
(1971). The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act
(AEDPA) preserves the traditional exhaustion requirement,
which mandates dismissal of a habeas petition containing
claims that a petitioner has a right to raise in the state
courts but has failed to do so. See Welch v. Burke,
49 F.Supp.2d 992, 998 (E.D. Mich. 1999). Although exhaustion
is not a jurisdictional matter, “it is a threshold
question that must be resolved” before a federal court
can reach the merits of any claim contained in a habeas
petition. See Wagner v. Smith, 581 F.3d 410, 415
(6th Cir. 2009). Therefore, each claim must be reviewed by a
federal court for exhaustion before any claim may be reviewed
on the merits by a district court. Id. Federal
district courts must dismiss mixed habeas petitions which
contain both exhausted and unexhausted claims. See Pliler
v. Ford, 542 U.S. 225, 230 (2004)(citing Rose v.
Lundy, 455 U.S. 509, 510, 522 (1982)).
Court's only concern in dismissing the current petition
involves the possibility that Petitioner might be prevented
under the one year statute of limitations contained within 28
U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1) from re-filing a petition for writ
of habeas corpus following the exhaustion of these issues in
the state courts. 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). A federal district court thus has the discretion to
stay a mixed habeas petition containing exhausted and
unexhausted claims in order to allow the petitioner to
present his unexhausted claims to the state courts in the
first instance, and then to return to the federal district
court for habeas review of his or her completely exhausted
petition. See Rhines v. Weber, 544 U.S. 269, 272-78
Court is aware that pursuant to M.C.R. 6.502(G)(1), a
criminal defendant in Michigan can typically file only one
motion for relief from judgment with regard to a criminal
conviction. See Banks v. Jackson, 149 F. App'x.
414, 418 (6th Cir. 2005); Hudson v. Martin, 68
F.Supp.2d 798, 800 (E.D. Mich. 1999)(citing to People v.
Ambrose, 459 Mich. 884; 587 N.W.2d 282 (1998)). However,
M.C.R. 6.502(G)(2) states that a defendant may file a second
or subsequent motion based on a retroactive change in law
that occurred after the first motion for relief from judgment
or a claim of new evidence that was not discovered before the
first such motion. Banks, 149 Fed.Appx. at 418;
Hudson, 68 F.Supp.2d at 800-01.
Court “should exercise caution in finding that”
6.502(G) would bar petitioner from presenting these claims to
the Michigan courts. Banks, 419 F. App'x. at
418. “Because it is at least debatable whether the
Michigan courts would entertain [these claims] on a second or
successive motion for state postconviction relief, ”
Id., based on one of the exceptions contained in
M.C.R. 6.502(G)(2), a procedural bar to such a second motion
is not clearly applicable. Therefore, this Court shall grant
Petitioner a stay of proceedings to permit him to attempt to
exhaust the claims contained in his second motion for relief
from judgment with the state courts. Id. at 419-20;
See also Cunningham v. Hudson, 756 F.3d 477, 485-87
(6th Cir. 2014).
district court determines that a stay is appropriate pending
exhaustion of state court remedies, the district court
“should place reasonable time limits on a
petitioner's trip to state court and back.”
Rhines, 544 U.S. at 278. To ensure that Petitioner
does not delay in exhausting his state court remedies, the
Court imposes upon petitioner time limits within which he
must proceed. See Palmer v. Carlton, 276 F.3d 777,
781 (6th Cir. 2002). Petitioner must present his claims in
state court by filing a post-conviction motion for relief
from judgment with the state trial court within sixty days
from the date of this Order. See Id. Further, he
must ask this Court to lift the stay within sixty days of
exhausting his state court remedies. See Id.
“If the conditions of the stay are not met, the stay
may later be vacated nunc pro tunc as of the date
the stay was entered, and the petition may be
dismissed.” Palmer, 276 F.3d at 781 (internal