United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER (1) DENYING PETITIONER’S MOTIONS FOR A
STAY (ECF NOS. 7, 8) AND (2) DIRECTING RESPONDENT TO FILE A
RESPONSE TO PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS
MATTHEW F. LEITMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Robert Taylor is a state prisoner currently confined in the
G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility in Jackson, Michigan.
On March 28, 2019, Taylor filed a pro se petition
for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
(See Pet., ECF No. 1.) In the petition, Taylor
challenges his state-court conviction for second-degree
murder. (See id.)
1, 2019, and July 18, 2019, Taylor filed two motions to stay
this action so that he could return to state court in order
to develop an additional evidentiary record. (See
ECF Nos. 7, 8.) The Court thereafter directed Taylor to
file a supplemental brief to explain what evidence he needed
that was not currently in the record, how the evidence he
sought supported his petition, and why the Court needed that
evidence to determine whether he is entitled to relief.
(See Order, ECF No. 10.)
timely filed the supplemental brief as directed.
(See Supp. Br., ECF No. 11.) The Court has carefully
reviewed Taylor’s submission and, for the reasons
stated below, DENIES Taylor’s motions
for a stay and DIRECTS Respondent to file a
response to Taylor’s petition for a writ of habeas
originally sought a stay of his petition so that he could
“pursue in the state court a motion for the transcript
of the warrant hearing and production of documents pertaining
to his arrest” such as the state-court criminal
complaint, warrant, and information. (ECF No. 7, PageID.144;
ECF No. 8, PageID.144, 147.) Taylor insisted that those
documents were “needed before relief may be granted or
denied by this [C]ourt.” (Id.)
supplemental brief, Taylor confirmed that he seeks to return
to state court in order to gather evidence to support an
attack on the legality of his arrest:
These documents are essential to this case because they will
reveal newly discovered evidence of the illegal history of
the manufacturing of false documents which goes to the
fraudulent nature of the proceedings leading to the illegal
arrest of Taylor.
(Supp. Br., ECF No. 11, PageID.159.)
state prisoner seeking federal habeas relief must first
‘exhaus[t] the remedies available in the courts of the
State, ’ 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1)(A), thereby
affording those courts ‘the first opportunity to
address and correct alleged violations of [the]
prisoner’s federal rights.’” Walker v.
Martin, 562 U.S. 307, 315 (2011) (quoting Coleman v.
Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 731 (1991)). Taylor requests a
stay so that he may obtain evidence in the state courts that
he deems necessary to the resolution of his petition, and he
notes that claims related to that evidence were not raised
properly in the state courts. (ECF No 7, PageID.145; ECF No.
district courts “ordinarily have authority to issue
stays, where such a stay would be a proper exercise of
discretion[.]” Rhines v. Weber, 544 U.S. 269,
276 (2005) (citing Landis v. North American Co., 299
U.S. 248, 254 (1936); Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S.
681, 706 (1997)). In Rhines, the Supreme Court
approved a “stay-and-abeyance” procedure that
allows district courts to stay the federal proceeding and
hold a habeas petition in abeyance while a petitioner returns
to state court and raises his unexhausted claims there.
Id. at 275. Rhines allows district courts
to use the stay-and-abeyance procedure where a petitioner has
good cause for the failure to exhaust his remedies in state
court, the unexhausted claims are potentially meritorious,
and the petitioner has not engaged in abusive litigation
tactics. See Id . at 278.
Taylor’s claim of illegal arrest is not
“potentially meritorious.” It is an
“established rule that illegal arrest or detention does
not void a subsequent conviction.” Gerstein v.
Pugh, 420 U.S. 103, 119 (1975) (citing Frisbie v.
Collins, 342 U.S. 519 (1952); Ker v. Illinois,
119 U.S. 436 (1886)). Therefore, “although a suspect
who is presently detained may challenge the probable cause
for that confinement, a conviction will not be vacated on the
ground that the defendant was detained pending trial without
a determination of probable cause.” Gerstein,
420 U.S. at 119. Simply put, Taylor’s attack on the
lawfulness of his arrest, even if successful, would not
require the Court to vacate his conviction in this federal
habeas proceeding. Thus, there is no basis on which to stay
these proceedings to allow Taylor to develop his
unlawful-arrest claim in state court.
Taylor has raised an exhausted claim in the petition that
insufficient evidence supports his conviction. “[A]
state prisoner is entitled to habeas corpus relief if a
federal judge finds that ‘upon the record evidence
adduced at the trial no rational trier of fact could have
found proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.’”
McDaniel v. Brown, 558 U.S. 120, 121 (2010) (quoting
Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 324 (1979)).
Accordingly, while a stay is not warranted because Taylor