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Symonette v. State

United States District Court, S.D. Florida

July 16, 2019

VEDRICK LAMONTE SYMONETTE, Petitioner,
v.
STATE OF FLORIDA, Respondent.

          REPORT OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE RE STATE HABEAS PETITION - 28 U.S.C. § 2554

          REID JUDGE

         I. Introduction

         The Petitioner, Vedrick Lamonte Symonette, has filed this pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, challenging the constitutionality of criminal charges filed against him in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court, No. F18022714. He challenges the legality of his arrest and asserts that he should be allowed to represent himself in state court. [ECF 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 the petition is premature, no order to show cause has been issued. See Rule 4, Rules Governing Section 2254 Proceedings. See also Broadwater v. United States, 292 F.3d 1302, 1303-04 (11th Cir. 2002).

         II. Procedural History

         According to the docket, the state charged Petitioner with sexual battery and molestation on a child aged 12 to 17. [Miami-Dade Circuit Court Docket, No. F18022714].[1] On November 13, 2018, the state court conducted the first appearance and bond hearing. [Id. at DE#2]. Petitioner is represented by defense counsel. [Id. at DE#63]. Petitioner entered a plea of not guilty. [Id. at DE#6]. He proceeded to trial on June 12, 2019. [Id. at DE#124]. On June 13, 2019, the jury found him guilty and the state court entered a judgment of guilty on June 25, 2019. [Id. at DE# 126, 143]. On July 9, 2019, Petitioner filed a pro se motion for new trial, which remains pending. [Id. at 145].

         On April 24, 2019, Petitioner came to this court filing the instant petition challenging the state court proceedings in No. F18022714. [ECF 1].

         III. Discussion and Applicable Law

         Since the Petitioner has not been convicted of the charged offenses, this case should be dismissed without prejudice.

         This court lacks jurisdiction under principles of abstention to the extent that the relief the Petitioner seeks would interfere with the state court's judicial process or overturn a state court decision on the merits. See Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 43 (1971); see, e.g, Hollins v. Wessel, 819 F.2d 1073, 1074 (11th Cir. 1987) (“The jurisdiction possessed by district courts is strictly original . . . and review of final judgments of a state court in judicial proceedings is reserved to the Supreme Court of the United States.”). Thus, the principle of abstention requires this court to abstain from interfering with the Petitioner's ongoing state criminal proceedings.

         Dismissal without prejudice is appropriate in this case. Review of the current record reveals that Petitioner was convicted on June 25, 2019 and he filed a pro se motion for new trial on July 9, 2019. At this point in his state court proceedings, his judgment of conviction is not final and, therefore, not ripe for federal attack by way of § 2254. The state trial court has not ruled on his motion for new trial and he has not yet filed a direct appeal.

         While this federal petition, when filed, was timely, in order for any future federal petition not to be time-barred, Petitioner is advised that he must comply with the federal one-year statute of limitation requirement. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)-(2). For federal limitations purposes, Petitioner's conviction of the 2018 charges is not final. Therefore, the federal statute of limitations has not begun to run. Further, the statute of limitations is tolled while a properly filed application for state post- conviction or other collateral review is pending. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(2).

         The Petitioner is, however, cautioned to be aware of the time limitation for any subsequent habeas corpus petition filed in this court. Although he has sufficient time to return to this court within the one-year limitations period after his state court remedies have been fully and properly exhausted on any and all claims he might want to raise ...


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