United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER HOLDING IN ABEYANCE THE PETITION
FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND ADMINISTRATIVELY CLOSING THE
HONORABLE GERSHWIN A. DRAIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Deveon Sims, (“Petitioner”), confined at the Oaks
Correctional Facility in Manistee, Michigan, filed a pro
se petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2254, challenging his conviction for
first-degree felony murder, MICH. COMP. LAWS §
750.316(1)(b). Petitioner also filed a motion to hold the
petition in abeyance to permit him to return to the state
courts to present additional claims that have not been
exhausted with the state courts and that are not included in
his current habeas petition.
Court 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
was convicted following a bench trial in the Wayne County
Circuit Court. Petitioner's conviction was affirmed on
appeal. People v. Sims, No. 334464, 2018 WL 442680
(Mich. Ct. App. Jan. 16, 2018), lv. den. 502 Mich.
939, 915 N.W.2d 369 (2018).
16, 2019, Petitioner filed his application for a writ of
habeas corpus.Petitioner seeks habeas relief on the claim
that he raised in the state courts on his direct appeal.
filed a motion to hold the habeas petition in abeyance so
that he can return to the state courts to raise claims that
have not been exhausted with the state courts and which are
not included in the current petition.
federal district court has the power to stay a fully
exhausted federal habeas petition 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 Fed.Appx.
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); Thomas v. Stoddard, 89 F.Supp.3d
937, 943 (E.D. Mich. 2015).
Court grants Petitioner's motion to hold the petition in
abeyance while he returns to the state courts to exhaust his
additional claims. The outright dismissal of the petition,
even if it is without prejudice, might bar review of
Petitioner's claims in this Court 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 reason for
holding a habeas petition in abeyance arises when the
original petition was timely filed, but a second, exhausted
habeas petition would be time barred by the AEDPA's
statute of limitations. See Hargrove v. Brigano, 300
F.3d 717, 720-21 (6th Cir. 2002).
considerations support holding the petition in abeyance while
Petitioner returns to the state courts to exhaust his new
claims. 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
factors also support the issuance 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 conclude that Petitioner's new
claims plainly warrant habeas relief. 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. § 2244(b)(2)'s
second-or-successive-petition 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 sixty days of receiving
this Court's order and returning to federal court within
sixty days of ...