United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER (1) SUMMARILY DENYING PETITION FOR
WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS, (2) DENYING CERTIFICATE OF
APPEALABILITY, AND (3) DENYING LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA
G. EDMUNDS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Letroy Berry, (“Petitioner”), incarcerated at the
Midland County Jail, filed a petition for a writ of habeas
corpus. Petitioner is being held as a pretrial detainee in
People v. Berry, Wayne County Circuit Court Case No.
17-005237, in which he is charged with malicious destruction
of a building in violation of Mich. Comp. Laws §
750.3803. Prior to his current incarceration, Petitioner was
in federal custody pending competency proceedings in
United States v. Berry, Eastern District of Michigan
Case No. 15-20743, in which he is charged with perpetrating
false information and hoaxes in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
petition raises one claim: “the State of Michigan had
no authority or power to remove the petitioner from federal
jurisdiction under state or federal law.” Dkt. 1, at 4.
For the reasons stated below, the petition for writ of habeas
corpus is summarily denied. The Court will also deny
Petitioner a certificate of appealability and permission to
appeal in forma pauperis.
August 25, 2016, the district court found Petitioner to be
incompetent to stand trial and ordered his hospitalization in
Petitioner's federal criminal proceeding. Eastern
District of Michigan Case No. 15-20743, Dkt. 45. On or about
April 28, 2017, Petitioner was transferred to state
custody.After a preliminary examination held in the
state district court, Petitioner was bound over to the state
circuit court for trial. On July 19, 2017, the state circuit
court ordered Petitioner to be evaluated for competency to
stand trial and for criminal responsibility. A competency
hearing is scheduled to take place on October 25, 2017.
courts are authorized to summarily dismiss any habeas
petition that appears legally insufficient on its face.
McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 856 (1994);
Carson v. Burke, 178 F.3d 434, 436 (6th Cir. 1999);
Rules Governing § 2254 Cases, Rule 4, 28 U.S.C. foll.
habeas petitions, such as this one, are properly brought
under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. See Christian v.
Wellington, 739 F.3d 294, 298 (6th Cir. 2014). However,
except in extraordinary circumstances, federal courts do not
review habeas petitions challenging state criminal
proceedings that remain pending in the state trial court.
Id. Such circumstances may include speedy-trial
challenges and double-jeopardy challenges - rights that
cannot be fully vindicated if postponed until after
conviction and sentence. Id. (citing Abney v.
United States, 431 U.S. 651, 660 (1997), and Braden
v. 30th Jud. Cir. Ct. of Ky., 410 U.S. 484, 503 (1973).
Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971), the Supreme
Court held that, absent extraordinary circumstances, a
federal court may not enjoin pending state criminal
prosecutions. The rule is “designed to permit state
courts to try state cases free from interference by federal
courts, particularly where the party to the federal case may
fully litigate his claim before the state court.”
Zalman v. Armstrong, 802 F.2d 199, 205 (6th Cir.
1986) (internal quotations omitted). A federal court must
abstain from enjoining a state criminal proceeding if: (1)
the state proceeding is ongoing; (2) an important state
interest is implicated; and (3) the Petitioner has an
adequate opportunity in the state judicial proceeding to
raise constitutional challenges. Middlesex County Ethics
Comm. v. Garden State Bar Ass'n, 457 U.S. 423, 432
(1982); Fieger v. Thomas, 74 F.3d 740, 744 (6th Cir.
three factors that support Younger abstention are
present in this case. First, Petitioner acknowledges that
there is an ongoing state criminal prosecution pending in the
Wayne Circuit Court. In that proceeding, Petitioner has
already been arraigned, and a competency hearing is scheduled
for October 25, 2017. Second, state criminal proceedings
clearly involve important state interests. See, e.g.,
Cooper v. Parrish, 203 F.3d 937, 954 (6th Cir.
2000). Third, the state court proceedings provide an adequate
opportunity for Petitioner to raise constitutional
challenges. If he does so, and the trial court denies or
otherwise fails to consider his claims, Petitioner may
exercise his right to an appeal under Michigan law.
is therefore appropriate in the absence of one of three
exceptions to the Younger abstention doctrine: (1)
“the state proceeding is motivated by a desire to
harass or is conducted in bad faith, ” Huffman v.
Pursue, Ltd., 420 U.S. 592, 611 (1975); (2) “the
challenged statute is flagrantly and patently violative of
express constitutional prohibitions, ” Moore v.
Sims, 442 U.S. 415, 424 (1979) (quoting
Huffman, 420 U.S. at 611); or, (3) there is
“an extraordinarily pressing need for immediate federal
equitable relief.” Kugler v. Helfant, 421 U.S.
117, 125 (1975). These exceptions have been interpreted
narrowly. Zalman v. Armstrong, 802 F.2d 199, 205
(6th Cir. 1986).
instant case, Petitioner alleges none of the three exceptions
to Younger abstention. First, he alleges no facts
suggesting that the state proceeding is motivated by an
improper purpose. He does not challenge the constitutionality
of a state criminal statute. And Petitioner does not allege
facts suggesting the existence of a pressing need for
immediate federal relief. Therefore, the Court must abstain
from considering Petitioner's challenge to his pending
state criminal proceeding.
Court summarily denies the petition for a writ of habeas
corpus. The Court will also deny a certificate of
appealability. The Court will deny petitioner a certificate
of appealability because reasonable jurists would not find
this Court's assessment that it must abstain from
enjoining the pending state criminal proceeding to be
debatable or wrong. 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2); Johnson
v. Smith,219 F.Supp.2d 871, 885 (E.D. Mich. 2002). The
Court will also deny petitioner ...