United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER SUMMARILY DISMISSING WITHOUT
PREJUDICE THE PETITION FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS
PAGE HOOD CHIEF JUDGE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Letroy Berry (“Petitioner”), currently confined
at the Midland County Jail in Midland, Michigan, has filed a
pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Petitioner challenges his ongoing
federal criminal prosecution, United States v.
Berry, No. 15-cr-20743, in which he is charged with
perpetrating false information and hoaxes in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 1038(a). Specifically, he alleges that the
federal court lacks jurisdiction to enforce 18 U.S.C. §
1038(a) such that he is being held in violation of his
constitutional rights. Petitioner is represented by counsel
in his federal criminal case, which is pending in this
district before the Honorable David M. Lawson.
after the filing of a habeas petition, the Court must
undertake a preliminary review of the petition 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.” Rule
4, Rules Governing § 2254 Cases; see also 28
U.S.C. § 2243. If, after preliminary consideration, the
Court determines that the petitioner is not entitled to
relief, the Court must summarily dismiss the petition.
Id., 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). A federal district court is authorized to summarily
dismiss a habeas corpus petition if it plainly appears from
the face of the petition and any attached exhibits that the
petitioner is not entitled to federal habeas relief.
McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 856 (1994);
Carson v. Burke, 178 F.3d 434, 436 (6th Cir. 1999);
Rule 4, Rules Governing § 2254 Cases. After undertaking
the preliminary review required by Rule 4, the Court
concludes that the habeas petition must be dismissed because
the claim is not properly raised in a § 2241 action at
November 19, 2015, Petitioner was charged in federal district
court with perpetrating false information and hoaxes in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1038(a). On August 25, 2016,
the court conducted a competency hearing and found Petitioner
incompetent to stand trial in his federal criminal case. On
August 30, 2016, the court ordered his civil commitment and
hospitalization. United States v. Berry, E.D. Mich.
No. 2:15-cr-20743. On June 1, 2017, the court 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.
habeas pleadings, Petitioner alleges that the building
involved in the charged incident was not within the criminal
jurisdiction of the federal courts because a “Notice of
Acceptance” of jurisdiction was not filed with the
Governor of the State of Michigan. Pet., pp. 4, 6. He further
asserts that in the absence of such action, a presumption of
no jurisdiction exists, id. at p. 7, and that he is
being held in custody in violation of his federal
constitutional rights. Id. at p. 8.
criminal defendant generally may not challenge a pending
federal prosecution through a petition for a writ of habeas
corpus. See Jones v. Perkins, 245 U.S. 390, 391
(1981) (“It is well settled that in the absence of
exceptional circumstances in criminal cases the regular
judicial procedure should be followed and habeas corpus
should not be granted in advance of a trial.”).
“‘[P]rinciples of judicial economy and efficiency
weigh against allowing federal defendants to file separate
habeas petitions where an appropriate remedy is available
with the trial court.'” Hargrove v. Howes,
No. 05-CV-73839-DT, 2005 WL 3021966, *1 (E.D. Mich. Nov. 10,
2005) (quoting Kotmair v. United States, 143
F.Supp.2d 532, 534 (E.D. N.C. 2001)). When a federal
pre-trial detainee's habeas claims would be dispositive
of pending federal criminal charges, those claims must be
exhausted at trial and on direct appeal before habeas relief
may be available. See Sandles v. Hemingway, 22
Fed.Appx. 557 (6th Cir. 2001) (citing Moore v. United
States, 875 F.Supp. 620, 624 (D. Neb. 1994)).
claim that the federal court lacks jurisdiction to enforce 18
U.S.C. § 1038(a) would be dispositive of his pending
federal criminal charge. Consequently, Petitioner must
exhaust that claim at trial and on direct appeal before
seeking federal habeas relief. See Sandles, 22
Fed.Appx. at 557. The Court shall therefore dismiss the
habeas petition. This dismissal is without prejudice to
Petitioner raising the claim in his federal criminal case and
any related appeals.
reasons stated, the Court finds that Petitioner cannot
proceed on his habeas petition brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241 at this time. Accordingly, the Court
DISMISSES WITHOUT PREJUDICE the petition for
a writ of habeas corpus.
IS SO ORDERED.