United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
AND ORDER: (1) DISMISSING THE PETITION FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS
CORPUS, (2) DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, (3) DENYING
LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS ON APPEAL, AND (4) DENYING
MOTION FOR HEARING AND ISSUANCE OF WRIT OF HABEAS
VICTORIA A. ROBERTS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Letroy Berry (“Petitioner”), currently confined
at the Midland County Jail, filed a pro se Petition
for a Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241
dated January 12, 2018 while he was confined at the Wayne
County Jail. Petitioner is being held as a pretrial detainee
in People v. Berry, Wayne Co. Cir. Ct. Case No.
17-005237-01-FH, 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, E.D. Mich.
Case No. 2:15-CR-20743, in which he is charged with
perpetrating false information and hoaxes in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 1038(a). In his pleadings, Petitioner
challenges the State's authority to remove him from
federal jurisdiction, as well as his continued confinement in
Court dismisses without prejudice the Petition for a Writ of
Habeas Corpus, denies a certificate of appealability, and
denies leave to proceed in forma pauperis on appeal.
April 13, 2018 Petitioner filed a Motion for Hearing and
Issuance of Writ of Habeas Corpus. That motion is denied as
Federal and State Proceedings
August 25, 2016, the federal district court conducted a
competency hearing and found Petitioner incompetent to stand
trial in his federal criminal case. The court ordered his
civil commitment and hospitalization. United States v.
Berry, E.D. Mich. Case No. 2:15-CR-20743. The court also
conducted a second competency hearing to determine whether
Petitioner's competency could be restored with medication
and took the matter under advisement. On August 31, 2017, the
court ordered the administration of medication with certain
conditions. Id. The federal case remains pending.
midst of his ongoing federal proceedings, Petitioner was
transferred to state custody pursuant to a
detainer. After a preliminary examination,
Petitioner was bound over for trial. The state trial court
ordered that Petitioner be evaluated to determine his
competency for trial and for criminal responsibility. The
state court conducted a competency hearing on January 25,
2018 and set a review date for April 26, 2018. People v.
Berry, Wayne Co. Cir. Ct. Case No. 17-005237-01-FH. As
noted, Petitioner is currently confined at the Midland County
of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases requires the Court
to conduct a preliminarily review of a federal habeas case
and to determine whether “it plainly appears from the
face of the petition and any exhibits annexed to it that the
petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district
court.” If, after initial consideration, the Court
determines that the petitioner is not entitled to relief, the
Court must summarily dismiss the petition. Rule 4, Rules
Governing § 2254 Cases; see also Allen v.
Perini, 424 F.2d 134, 141 (6th Cir. 1970) (district
court has the duty to “screen out” petitions that
lack merit on their face). Cases subject to dismissal under
Rule 4 include those that raise legally frivolous claims, as
well as those containing factual allegations that are
palpably incredible or false. McFarland v. Scott,
512 U.S. 849, 856 (1994); Carson v. Burke, 178 F.3d
434, 436-37 (6th Cir. 1999).
pretrial detainee may bring a habeas action in federal court
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 to demand enforcement of
the state's affirmative constitutional obligation to
bring him promptly to trial or to raise double jeopardy
issues, but may not generally seek habeas relief to forestall
state prosecution altogether. Braden v. 30th Judicial
Cir. Ct. of Ky., 410 U.S. 484, 489-91 (1973);
Christian v. Wellington, 739 F.3d 294, 298 (6th Cir.
2014). In Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971), the
United States 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).
while 28 U.S.C. § 2241 establishes jurisdiction in the
federal courts to consider pretrial habeas corpus petitions,
the courts should abstain from the exercise of that
jurisdiction if the issues raised in the petition may be
resolved either by trial on the merits in the state courts or
by other state procedures available to the petitioner.
Christian, 739 F.3d at 298; Atkins v. People of
the State of Michigan, 644 F.2d 543, 546 (6th Cir.
1981). 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
Co. Ethics Comm. v. Garden State Bar Ass'n, 457 U.S.
423, 432 (1982); Fieger v. Thomas, 74 F.3d 740, 744
(6th Cir. 1996).
three factors that support Younger abstention are
present in this case. First, as acknowledged by Petitioner,
there is an ongoing state criminal prosecution pending in the
Wayne County Circuit Court. In that proceeding, the court
arraigned Petitioner, conducted a competency hearing, and
scheduled a review. Second, the state criminal proceedings
involve important state interests. 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 -
and the state trial court denies or ...