United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
YUSUF M. ASHFORD, Petitioner,
WARDEN, OSCEOLA COUNTY JAIL, Respondent.
ANTOON II UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a pretrial detainee at the Osceola County Jail, has filed a
pro se amended habeas petition. (Doc. 3.) Because
Petitioner is a pretrial detainee, the Court construes the
amended petition to be raised pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2241 and will consider it accordingly.
of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United
States District Courts provides in pertinent
The clerk must promptly forward the petition to a judge under
the court's assignment procedure, and the judge must
promptly examine it. If it plainly appears from the petition
and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled
to relief in the district court, the judge must dismiss the
petition and direct the clerk to notify the petitioner.
amended petition, Petitioner argues that the state court has
no jurisdiction to try him because of his true national
sovereign status, which he alleges is Moorish American. (Doc.
3 at 1.) Petitioner further argues that the state court's
"only intention [is] to keep [him] incarcerated for the
longest possible period without ever holding a
trial”(Id. at 2.) Petitioner demands his
immediate release. (Id.)
section 2241 establishes jurisdiction in the federal courts
to consider pre-trial habeas corpus petitions, federal courts
should abstain from the exercise of that jurisdiction if the
issues raised in the petition may be resolved either by trial
on the merits in the state court or by other state procedures
available to the petitioner.,, Dickerson v.
Louisiana, 816 F.2d 220, 225 (5th Cir. 1987).
"'[F]ederal habeas corpus does not lie, absent
'special circumstances', to adjudicate the merits of
an affirmative defense to a state criminal charge prior to a
judgment of conviction by a state court.'"
Id. at 226 (quoting Braden v. 30th Judicial
Circuit Court of Kentucky, 410 U.S. 484, 489 (1973)).
"[T]here is a 2241. "Therefore, summary dismissal
of a habeas corpus action brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241 is appropriate when the petition 'plainly
reveals that relief is not warranted.'" Trimble
v. Allen, No. 7:11-cv-7(HL), 2011 WL 672335, *1 n. 2
(M.D. Ga. Feb. 17, 2011) (quoting Ugivu v. Holder,
No. 1:10-CV-03152, 2010 WL 5476712 (N. D. Ga. Nov. 29,
2010)). distinction between a petitioner who seeks to
'abort a state proceeding or to disrupt the orderly
functioning of state judicial processes' by litigating a
speedy trial defense to a prosecution prior to trial, and one
who seeks only to enforce the state's obligation to bring
him promptly to trial/' Id. (quoting Brown
v. Estelle, 530 F.2d 1280, 1283 (5th Cir.
1976)). The distinction of whether a speedy trial
claim may proceed depends upon the type of relief sought:
[A]n attempt to dismiss an indictment or otherwise prevent a
prosecution is of the first type, while an attempt to force
the state to go to trial is of the second. While the former
objective is normally not attainable through federal habeas
corpus, the latter is, although the requirement of exhaustion
of state remedies still must be met.
Id. (quoting Brown, 530 F.2d at 1283). As
such, courts have held that the constitutional right to
speedy trial is not a per se "special circumstance"
warranting federal habeas relief prior to the conclusion of
the state proceedings. See, e.g., Dickerson, 816
F.2d at 227; Brown, 530 F.2d at 1282-84.
of the amended petition establishes that Petitioner is
requesting this Court to order the state court to stop
prosecuting him based on lack of jurisdiction and to
immediately release him. Petitioner may not proceed on this
claim because it is an affirmative defense to the charges in
his pending state criminal proceeding. See Georgalis v.
Dixon, 776 F.2d 261, 262 (11th Cir. 1985).
can raise his challenges relating to the prosecution of his
criminal cases in his state court proceedings. Absent a
showing of special circumstances, such as where necessary to
prevent immediate and irreparable injury, federal courts
should not stay or enjoin pending state court proceedings.
Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971). Petitioner
has not demonstrated special circumstances warranting this
Court's intrusion into the pending state court
proceedings. See Hughes v. Att'y Gen. of Fla.,
377 F.3d 1258, 1262-63 n. 6 (11th Cir. 2004) (recognizing
that federal courts should not interfere with pending state
criminal proceedings absent one of the following
circumstances: (1) there is evidence of state proceedings
motivated by bad faith, (2) irreparable injury would occur,
or (3) there is no adequate alternative state forum where the
constitutional issues can be raised) (citing
Younger, 401 U.S. at 45, 53-54). Therefore,
abstention is appropriate as to any claims regarding
Petitioner's pending state criminal charges.
it is hereby ORDERED as follows:
1. The Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (Doc. 3) is
DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
2. This Court should grant an application for certificate of
appealability only if Petitioner makes "a substantial
showing of the denial of a constitutional right." 28
U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2). To make such a showing "the
petitioner must demonstrate that reasonable jurists would
find the district court's assessment of the
constitutional claims debatable or wrong." Slack v.
McDaniel,529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000); see also Lamarca
v. Sec'y Deft of Corr.,568 F.3d 929, 934 (11th Cir.
2009). When a district court dismisses a federal habeas
petition on procedural grounds without reaching the
underlying constitutional claim, a certificate of
appealability should issue only when a petitioner shows
"that jurists of reason would find it debatable whether
the petition states a valid claim of the denial of a
constitutional right and that jurists of reason would find it
debatable whether the district court was correct in its