United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER HOLDING IN ABEYANCE THE PETITION
FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND ADMINISTRATIVELY CLOSING THE
HONORABLE DENISE PAGE HOOD CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Teneyuque, (“Petitioner”), confined at the St.
Louis Correctional Facility in St. Louis, Michigan, filed a
pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, challenging his convictions for
four counts of second-degree home invasion, M.C.L.A. §
750.110a(3), four counts of conspiracy to commit
second-degree home invasion, M.C.L.A.§§
750.110a(3), 750.157a, one count of first-degree home
invasion, M.C.L.A. § 750.110a(2), one count of
conspiracy to commit first-degree home invasion,
M.C.L.A.§§ 750.110a(2), 750.157a, three counts of
receiving and concealing stolen goods valued between $ 1,
000.00 and $ 20, 000.00, M.C.L.A. § 750.535(3)(a),
eleven counts of felony-firearm, M.C.L.A. § 750.227b;
and five counts of receiving and concealing stolen firearms,
M.C.L.A. § 750.535b.
filed a motion to stay the proceedings and to hold the
petition in abeyance to permit him to return to the state
courts to present additional claims that have yet to be
exhausted with the state courts and that are not being raised
in the current habeas petition.
Court grants the motion, holds the petition in abeyance, and
stays the proceedings under the terms outlined in this
opinion to permit petitioner to return to the state courts to
exhaust his additional claims. The Court administratively
closes the case.
was convicted following a jury trial in the Saginaw County
Circuit Court. Petitioner's conviction was affirmed on
appeal. People v. Teneyuque, No. 323232, 2016 WL
514366 (Mich. Ct. App. Feb. 9, 2016), lv. den. 499
Mich. 986, 882 N.W.2d 148 (2016).
October 12, 2017, petitioner filed his application for writ
of habeas corpus, seeking relief on the grounds that he
raised in the state courts on his direct
appeal. Petitioner also filed a motion to hold the
habeas petition in abeyance to return to the state courts to
exhaust additional claims.
federal district court has the authority to stay fully
exhausted federal habeas petitions pending the exhaustion of
additional 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)(a habeas court is
entitled to delay a decision in a habeas petition that
contains only 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).
Indeed, although there is no bright-line rule which prevents
a district court from dismissing a fully-exhausted habeas
petition because of the pendency of unexhausted claims in
state court, for a federal court to justify departing from
the “heavy obligation to exercise jurisdiction, ”
there must be a compelling reason to prefer a dismissal over
a stay. Nowaczyk, 299 F.3d at 82 (internal quotation
omitted); 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
proceeding 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 prevent petitioner from re-filing his habeas petition
after the exhaustion of these additional claims 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, as is the case
here, but a second, exhausted habeas petition could be time
barred by the AEDPA's statute of limitations. See
Hargrove v. Brigano, 300 F.3d 717, 720-21 (6th Cir.
considerations merit holding the petition in abeyance while
petitioner exhaust his new claims in the state courts.
Specifically, “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 support the granting of a stay. This Court is
currently unable to determine whether petitioner'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 were to deny petitioner post-conviction relief,
this Court would still benefit from the state courts'
adjudication of these claims to determine whether to permit
petitioner to amend his petition to add these claims.
Id. Finally, this Court sees no prejudice to
respondent in staying this case, whereas petitioner
“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. §
requirements” should he seek habeas relief on his new
claims. Thomas, 89 F.Supp.3d at 943.
even where a district court determines that a stay is
appropriate pending exhaustion, the district court
“should place reasonable time limits on a
petitioner's trip to state court and back.”
Rhines v. Weber, 544 U.S. 269, 278 (2005). To ensure
that there are no delays by petitioner in exhausting state
court remedies, this Court imposes time limits within which
petitioner must proceed with his state court post-conviction
proceedings. See Palmer v. Carlton, 276 F.3d 777,
781 (6th Cir. 2002).
Court holds the petition in abeyance to allow petitioner to
initiate post-conviction proceedings in the state courts.
This tolling is conditioned upon petitioner initiating his
state post-conviction remedies within ninety days of
receiving this Court's order and returning to federal
court within ninety days of ...