United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
DANNY P. VINSON, Plaintiff,
WILLIS CHAPMAN, Defendant.
ORDER STAYING CASE PENDING EXHAUSTION OF STATE COURT
TERRENCE G. BERG, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Petitioner Danny Vinson is a state prisoner at Thumb
Correctional Facility in Lapeer, Michigan. On August 24,
2018, he filed an application for a writ of habeas corpus
under 28 U.S.C. §2254. ECF No. 1. Presently before the
Court is Petitioner's motion to stay these proceedings
and hold his habeas petition in abeyance while he continues
to exhaust state court remedies (ECF No. 11). The Court will
grant the motion so that Petitioner may pursue exhaustion of
his state court remedies.
doctrine of exhaustion of state remedies requires that state
prisoners allow the state courts an opportunity to act on
their claims before they present them to a federal court in a
habeas corpus petition. See 28 U.S.C. §
2254(b)(1), (c); O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526
U.S. 838, 842 (1999). This requirement is satisfied if the
prisoner “invok[es] one complete round of the
State's established appellate review process, ”
including a petition for discretionary review in the state
supreme court “when that review is part of the ordinary
appellate review procedure in the State.”
O'Sullivan, 526 U.S. at 847. Accordingly, to
properly exhaust state remedies a prisoner must fairly
present the factual and legal basis for each of his claims to
the state court of appeals and to the state supreme court
before raising those claims in a federal habeas corpus
petition. Wagner v. Smith, 581 F.3d 410, 414-15 (6th
Cir. 2009); cf. Rose v. Lundy, 455 U.S. 509 at 510,
522 (1982) (explaining that a federal court ordinarily must
dismiss a petition containing any unexhausted claims).
Because dismissal of Petitioner's currently pending
habeas petition while he pursues state court remedies could
result in a subsequent petition being barred by the one-year
statute of limitations, the Court will instead hold
Petitioner's habeas petition in abeyance until he
finishes the process of exhausting state court
post-conviction remedies. See 28 U.S.C. §
United States Supreme Court has approved a “stay and
abeyance” procedure that allows district courts to stay
federal court proceedings and hold a habeas petition in
abeyance while the petitioner pursues state remedies for his
or her unexhausted claims. See Rhines v. Weber, 544
U.S. 269, 275 (2005). Federal district courts ordinarily have
authority to issue stays, and courts in this district have
permitted habeas petitioners to stay fully exhausted habeas
claims pending the exhaustion of other claims in state court.
See, e.g., Foster v. Winn, No. 15-12265,
2017 WL 4296602 (E.D. Mich. Sep. 28, 2017); Thomas v.
Stoddard, 89 F.3d 937 (E.D. Mich. 2015); see also
Mena v. Long, 813 F.3d 907, 910 (9th Cir. 2016) (holding
that a district court has discretion to issue stays in cases
of fully exhausted petitions). After the prisoner exhausts
his state court remedies, the federal court can lift its stay
and allow the petitioner to proceed in federal court.
Id. at 275-76. This procedure normally is available
when the petitioner had good cause for the failure to exhaust
his state court remedies, the unexhausted claims are
potentially meritorious, and the petitioner is not engaged in
abusive litigation tactics. Id. at 278. If the
prisoner satisfies those conditions, the district court
should stay, rather than dismiss, the petition. Id.
Petitioner's habeas petition contains several claims that
appear to be exhausted, including claims for prosecutorial
misconduct, ineffective assistance of counsel, improper
judicial fact-finding, and impermissible use of prior bad act
evidence at trial. ECF No. 1 PageID.2. He has not provided
the Court with information about the unexhausted claims he is
now pursuing through the state court system but the Court has
no reason to believe those claims are plainly meritless, nor
does Petitioner appear to be engaged in intentionally
dilatory litigation tactics. The Court concludes that it
would not be an abuse of discretion to stay this case while
Petitioner continues to exhaust his state court remedies. The
Court therefore grants Petitioner's motion to hold this
case in abeyance.
motion to hold his petition for a writ of habeas corpus in
abeyance pending exhaustion of his state court remedies is
hereby GRANTED. Petitioner shall notify this
Court of the Michigan Supreme Court's decision on his
state post-conviction proceedings within 60 days of that
court's ruling. If Petitioner wishes to amend his habeas
corpus petition after he has finished exhausted state court
remedies, he must do within 60 days of the Michigan Supreme
Court's decision on his additional request for
post-conviction relief. Failure to comply with this order
could result in the dismissal of this case. Calhoun v.
Bergh, 769 F.3d 409, 411 (6th Cir. 2014).