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Amador v. State

United States District Court, S.D. Florida

May 28, 2019

RANDY AMADOR, Petitioner,
v.
STATE OF FLORIDA, Respondent.

          SUA SPONTE REPORT OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE RECOMMENDING DISMISSAL OF HABEAS CORPUS PETITION - 28 U.S.C. § 2241

          REID JUDGE

         I. Introduction

         Craig Manahan has filed this pro se emergency petition for writ of habeas corpus, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 on behalf of Petitioner, Randy Amador, challenging the constitutionality of Amador's confinement at the Highlands County Jail in Sebring, Florida. (DE#1).

         This cause has been referred to the undersigned for consideration and report, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), (C); S.D. Fla. Local Rule 1(f) governing Magistrate Judges; S.D. Fla. Admin. Order 2019-02; and the Rules Governing Habeas Corpus Petitions in the United States District Courts.

         Because it is evident that Manahan, who does not allege to be a licensed attorney, cannot bring this action on Amador's behalf, and summary dismissal is warranted, no order to show cause has been issued. See Rule 4, Rules Governing Section 2254[1] Proceedings; see also, Broadwater v. United States, 292 F.3d 1302, 1303-04 (11th Cir. 2002).

         II. Procedural History

         According to the petition, Randy Amador was unlawfully arrested by the Highland County Sheriff's Department for an alleged violation of probation on March 31, 2019. (DE#1:3). Amador's appointed public defender failed to contact her regarding the charges, and eventually withdrew from the case on May 3, 2019. (Id.:3-4, 6). At a hearing on that same date, the court denied Amador the right to be heard, and failed to explain the nature of the charges against her. (Id.:6). The petition alleges that Manahan has filed various motions in the trial court on Amador's behalf, all of which have been “ignored.” (Id.:5).

         According to the docket, the state trial court conducted a hearing on April 1, 2019, and found probable cause for the arrest. (Highlands County Circuit Court Docket, No. 282007CT000716TTAXMX).[2] On May 15, 2019, Manahan filed the instant petition in this court. (DE#1).

         III. Discussion and Applicable Law

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide that an incompetent person who does not have a duly appointed representative may sue by a “next friend.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 17(c)(2). The plaintiff has the burden to establish standing to proceed on behalf of the real party and thereby to invoke the jurisdiction of the federal courts. Whitmore v. Arkansas, 495 U.S. 149, 162 (1990).

         In Whitmore, the Supreme Court detailed the requirements, stressing that “next friend standing is by no means granted automatically to whomever seeks to pursue an action on behalf of another.” Whitmore, 495 U.S. at 163. First, the would-be next friend must prove that the real party in interest cannot pursue his own cause due to some disability such as mental incompetence or lack of access to court. Id. at 163-65. Second, the next friend must show some relationship or other evidence that would suggest that the next friend is truly dedicated to the interests of the real party in interest. Id. at 163-64. Ultimately, "the burden is on the 'next friend' clearly to establish the propriety of his status, and thereby justify the jurisdiction of the court." Id. at 164. See also Lonchar v. Zant, 978 F.2d 637 (11th Cir. 1992) (applicable to habeas corpus cases).

         Even if Craig Manahan could establish that he should be permitted to proceed as “next friend, ” because he is not a lawyer, he cannot bring this action on Amador's behalf. See Weber v. Garza, 570 F.2d 511, 513 (5th Cir. 1978) (“individuals not licensed to practice law by the state may not use the ‘next friend' device as an artifice for the unauthorized practice of law”). In a similar situation the Eleventh Circuit found that a mother, who was not an attorney, could not act as legal counsel for her minor child. Fuqua v. Massey, 615 Fed.Appx. 611 (11th Cir. 2015) (citing Devine v. Indian River Cnty. Sch Bd., 121 F.3d 576, 581 (11th Cir. 1997)). Since Craig Manahan cannot proceed as the attorney for the named petitioner, any pleadings and or motions filed by him are a nullity.

         Accordingly, the instant case should be dismissed without prejudice. A dismissal without prejudice does not prevent a party from amending the complaint nor does it prevent a real party from asserting her habeas claims on her own behalf, if she is able to litigate her own cause.[3]

         IV. Certificate ...


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