United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Jonesboro Division
APRIL M. GOUEDY PETITIONER
RUSS LATIMER, Administrator, Clay County Jail, DAVID COPELIN, Judge, Clay County, TERRY MILLER, Sheriff, Clay County RESPONDENT
Procedure for Filing Objections:
Recommended Disposition (“Recommendation”) has
been sent to Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. Any party to this suit
may file written objections with the Clerk of Court within 14
days of the filing of the Recommendation. Objections must be
specific and must include the factual or legal basis for the
objection. An objection to a factual finding must identify
the finding of fact believed to be wrong and describe the
evidence that supports that belief.
objecting, any right to appeal questions of fact may be
jeopardized. And, if no objections are filed, Judge Marshall
can adopt this Recommendation without independently reviewing
September 26, 2017, Petitioner April Gouedy, a pretrial
detainee at the Greene County Detention Center, filed a
pro se complaint (docket entry #2) under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Ms. Gouedy alleges that on August 30, 2017, she
was in the custody of Washington County when she was picked
up by Clay County officials “on a hold” and
transferred to the Clay County jail. (Id. at 5) She
states that she was held without receiving a probable cause
hearing until September 18, 2017. (Id. at 4)
According to the address Ms. Gouedy lists, she remains in
Gouedy does not seek damages; rather, she asks to be released
based on “time served.” (Id. at 6)
Release from custody is not an available remedy in an action
brought under 42 U.S.C. §1983. Preiser v.
Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 500 (1973) (“When a state
prisoner is challenging the very fact or duration of his
physical imprisonment, and the relief he seeks is a
determination that he is entitled to immediate release or a
speedier release from that imprisonment, his sole federal
remedy is a writ of habeas corpus.”). Thus, by order of
November 14, 2017, Judge Marshall directed the Clerk of Court
to reclassify Ms. Gouedy's case as a habeas case. (#12)
the reclassification, the federal courts cannot grant Ms.
Gouedy the relief she seeks. Because she has not yet been
sentenced, there is no state judgment for her to challenge.
In short, her case also is not yet ripe for habeas review.
See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a) (federal habeas challenges to
state court custody lie only as to an underlying state court
fact that Ms. Gouedy is apparently awaiting criminal
prosecution presents a further hurdle. The Younger
abstention doctrine requires federal courts to abstain from
exercising jurisdiction if there is an ongoing state criminal
proceeding that implicates important state interests;
and if there is an adequate opportunity to raise
relevant federal questions in the state proceeding.
Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 44-45 (1971). In
some circumstances, federal courts can entertain pretrial
habeas corpus petitions when a petitioner's state custody
violates the Constitution or laws of the United States.
Palmer v. Clarke, 961 F.2d 771, 774 (8th Cir. 1992)
(citations omitted); 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3). But in that
situation, the state pretrial detainee must first exhaust all
available state remedies. Dickerson v. Louisiana,
816 F.2d 220, 225 (5th Cir. 1987) (unlike the statutory
requirement in 28 U.S.C. § 2254, the exhaustion
requirement in 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3) was judicially
crafted on federalism grounds).
Younger abstention prevents this court from hearing
Ms. Gouedy's case. She remains a pretrial detainee; her
claims involve an ongoing state proceeding; and she has not
yet exhausted her state court remedies, such as filing a
petition for writ of mandamus for judicial review of her
allegedly unconstitutional custody. Ark. Code Ann. §
16-115-101; Ark. S.Ct. R. 1-2(a)(3).
Gouedy's allegation that “cell-16 has no working
air since July” might state a claim under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 if she had sought damages for that condition of
confinement. Here, however, the only relief she seeks is
release from custody, and that is not an available remedy
under § 1983.
Ms. Gouedy's complaint does not state a claim under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. And, because she has not exhausted her
state court remedies and has no judgment of conviction for
the federal courts to review, she has not stated a claim for
federal habeas corpus relief. Should Ms. Gouedy exhaust her
state remedies and believe that her continued custody
violates the Constitution, she can file a federal petition
for habeas corpus relief under to 28 U.S.C. §2241(c)(3)
at that time.
Certificate of Appealability:
entering a final order adverse to a petitioner, the Court
must issue or deny a certificate of appealability. Rule 11 of
the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States
District Court. The Court can issue a certificate of
appealability only if Ms. Gouedy has made a substantial
showing that she was denied a constitutional right. 28 U.S.C.
§ 2253(c)(1)-(2). In this case, Ms. Gouedy has not
provided a basis for the Court to issue a certificate of
appealability. Accordingly, a certificate of appealability
should be denied.