United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER SUMMARILY DISMISSING PETITION
M. LAWSON United States District Judge
April 5, 2018, petitioner James Wayne Mieczkowski filed his
pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus against
a host of local and state entities including several
municipalities and their associated courts, officials of the
State of Michigan, the State itself, and “the People of
the State of Michigan.” The petitioner's prolix
filing is rambling and incoherent, replete with impertinent
detail on topics as various as “the history of the
State Bar of Michigan, ” Pet. at 35, and “duties
and obligations of the United States Marshals and the United
States Attorney, ” id. at 52-53. However, the
filing appears to invoke the Court's habeas power through
passing citations of sections 2241 and 2254 of Title 28 of
the United States Code. On page 44 of the petition, at
paragraph 98, the petition also states that petitioner wants
“to have [his] Convictions overturned.” The Court
presumes from these and other obfuscated details that the
gravamen of the pleading is a challenge to the
petitioner's convictions for various crimes by the
several state courts, which cryptically are enumerated on
page eight of the petition and include, among other things,
“running [a] red light, ” possession of a
“quarter of weed, ” and driving on a suspended
license. Those allegations, together with the caption and
details indicated on the case cover sheet, and the opening
paragraphs of the petition labeling the pleading as a
petition for a writ of habeas corpus, are sufficient, under
the most generous construction, for the Court to infer that
the petitioner is seeking habeas relief from this Court
overturning one or more of his state court convictions.
Court has completed a preliminary review of the petition
under Rule 4 of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases, 28
U.S.C. foll. § 2254, and concludes that the petition
must be dismissed for several reasons outlined below.
“Although [the] petitioner brought this petition [in
part under section § 2241], the rules governing §
2254 cases may be applied at the discretion of the district
court judge in habeas petitions not brought under §
2254.” Perez v. Hemingway, 157 F.Supp.2d 790,
796 (E.D. Mich. 2001) (citing Rules Governing § 2254
Cases, Rule 1(b), 28 U.S.C. foll. § 2254 (“The
district court may apply any or all of these rules to a
habeas corpus petition not covered by Rule 1(a).”)).
When a petition for a writ of habeas corpus is filed, the
district court “must promptly examine it . . . [and]
dismiss [it] [i]f it plainly appears from the petition and
any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to
relief in the district court.” Rules Governing §
2254 Cases, Rule 4, 28 U.S.C. foll. § 2254;
McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 856 (1994);
Carson v. Burke, 178 F.3d 434, 436 (6th Cir. 1999);
Allen v. Perini, 424 F.2d 134, 140 (6th Cir. 1970).
are several reasons apparent from the pleadings why the
petitioner is not entitled to the relief that he seeks.
First, the petitioner seeks to overturn several
vaguely described state court convictions, but he does not
allege that he has exhausted his available state court
remedies for challenging those convictions or any resulting
sentences. The doctrine of exhaustion of state remedies
requires state prisoners to “fairly present' their
claims as federal constitutional issues in the state courts
before raising those claims in a federal habeas corpus
petition. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1)(A), (c);
O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838, 844
(1999); McMeans v. Brigano, 228 F.3d 674, 680-81
(6th Cir. 2000); Rust v. Zent, 17 F.3d 155, 160 (6th
Cir. 1994). The exhaustion requirement is satisfied if a
prisoner invokes one complete round of the state's
established appellate review process, including a petition
for discretionary review to a state supreme court. See
O'Sullivan, 526 U.S. at 845, 847. A prisoner
“‘fairly presents' his claim to the state
courts by citing a portion of the Constitution, federal
decisions using constitutional analysis, or state decisions
employing constitutional analysis in similar fact
patterns.” Levine v. Torvik, 986 F.2d 1506,
1516 (6th Cir. 1993); see also Prather v. Rees, 822
F.2d 1418, 1420 (6th Cir. 1987) (holding that
“[o]rdinarily, the state courts must have had the
opportunity to pass on defendant's claims of
constitutional violations”). A Michigan petitioner must
present each ground to both Michigan appellate courts before
seeking federal habeas corpus relief. Wagner v.
Smith, 581 F.3d 410, 414 (6th Cir. 2009); Mohn v.
Bock, 208 F.Supp.2d 796, 800 (E.D. Mich. 2002); see
also Hafley v. Sowders, 902 F.2d 480, 483 (6th Cir.
1990). The petitioner bears the burden of showing that his
state court remedies have been exhausted. Rust, 17
F.3d at 160. On page 41 of the petition, the petitioner
positively asserts that he is not required to exhaust state
court remedies pertinent to those convictions, and the
petition does not anywhere allege that he has done so.
Therefore, the petitioner has not carried his burden of
showing that he properly has exhausted any state court
remedies available for challenging any of the convictions
that he seeks to set aside.
the petitioner does not allege anywhere in his petition that
he presently is in custody under any sentence from any of the
convictions that he seeks to overturn. “Federal courts
may ‘entertain an application for a writ of habeas
corpus [o]n behalf of a person in custody pursuant
to the judgment of a State court only on the ground that he
is in custody in violation of the Constitution or
laws or treaties of the United States.'”
Hautzenroeder v. Dewine, No. 17-3395, --- F.3d ---,
2018 WL 1734484, at *1 (6th Cir. Apr. 11, 2018) (quoting 28
U.S.C. § 2254(a)). “This language is
jurisdictional: if a petitioner is not ‘in custody'
when [he] files [his] petition, courts may not consider
it.” Ibid. (quoting Steverson v.
Summers, 258 F.3d 520, 522 (6th Cir. 2001)). Moreover,
the descriptions of the offenses discernible from the
petition suggest that several of them were for misdemeanors
or civil infractions for which no sentence of incarceration
could be imposed.
to the extent that the petition invokes the authority of
section 2241, that statute does not afford the relief that
the petitioner seeks, because section 2254 - which includes
as a precondition compliance with the exhaustion requirements
noted above - is the exclusive avenue through which a state
prisoner must proceed to challenge his sentence or conviction
in federal court. “‘[W]hen a prisoner begins in
the district court, § 2254 and all associated statutory
requirements apply no matter what statutory label the
prisoner has given the case. (Roughly speaking, this makes
§ 2254 the exclusive vehicle for prisoners in custody
pursuant to a state court judgment who wish to challenge
anything affecting that custody, because it makes clear that
bringing an action under § 2241 will not permit the
prisoner to evade the requirements of §
2254.)'” Greene v. Tennessee Department of
Corrections, 265 F.3d 369, 371 (6th Cir. 2001) (quoting
Walker v. O'Brien, 216 F.3d 626, 633 (7th Cir.
petition must be summarily dismissed because the petitioner
has not alleged that he is in custody under a sentence
resulting from any of the convictions that he seeks to
challenge, he has not shown that he properly exhausted his
state court remedies, and the claims brought under the
authority of 28 U.S.C. § 2241 seek relief that is not
available via that statute.
it is ORDERED that the petition is
DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
further ORDERED that the respondents'
motions to dismiss [6, 7, ...