United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
Procedure for Filing Objections:
Recommended Disposition (“Recommendation”) has
been sent to Judge Billy Roy Wilson. Mr. Biddle may file
written objections with the Clerk of Court. To be considered,
objections must be filed within 14 days. Objections should be
specific and should include the factual or legal basis for
Biddle does not file objections, he risks waiving the right
to appeal questions of fact. And, if no objections are filed,
Judge Wilson can adopt this Recommendation without
independently reviewing the record.
August 29, 2018, Joseph Thomas Biddle filed a pro se
petition for writ of habeas corpus. (Docket entry #1) In his
petition, Mr. Biddle states that he is in jail in Miller
County, Arkansas after being arrested. He claims that he is
innocent of the charges. (#1 at 1-3) He states he has,
“been violated on my parol [sic] for 90 days and its
almost up Sept. 5, 2018.” (#1 at 4) He seeks assistance
in obtaining “discovery” and general help from
the Court. (#1 at 4)
dismissal of a habeas corpus petition - prior to any answer
or other pleading being filed by the respondent - is
appropriate where the petition itself and court records show
that the petitioner is not entitled to relief. See Rule 4,
Rules Governing Habeas Corpus Cases. The Court “may
take judicial notice of proceedings in other courts that
relate directly to matters at issue.” Great Plains
Trust Co. v. Union Pacific R.R. Co., 492 F.3d 986, 996
(8th Cir. 2007).
Biddle was arrested in Miller County, Arkansas, on June 4,
2018. See State v. Joseph Biddle, Case No.
46CR-18-468-3.  He was later charged by a criminal
information on a single count of theft of property greater
than $25, 000, in violation of Arkansas Code Annotated,
§ 5-36-103(b)(1)(A). Id. The trial court
initially set Mr. Biddle's bond at $25, 000, but later
reduced it to $15, 000. Id. Mr. Biddle's
criminal case is ongoing, and his trial is currently
scheduled for January 28, 2019. Id.
Court clearly lacks jurisdiction to consider Mr. Biddle's
habeas petition. Individuals in state custody, such as Mr.
Biddle, must allege that they are “[in] custody
pursuant to the judgment of a State court” to state a
claim for habeas corpus relief. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). The
Court takes judicial notice of Mr. Biddle's pending
criminal case in Miller County. While Mr. Biddle is in state
custody, he is not in custody under a judgment of a State
court. He is a pre-trial detainee and, as such, his petition
for writ of habeas corpus is premature.
habeas corpus review focuses on whether the Constitution,
laws or treaties of the United States have been violated.
Estelle v. McGuire, 502 U.S. 62, 67-68 (1991). Mr.
Biddle's allegations that state authorities failed to
comply with state laws are not cognizable in a federal habeas
the Court lacks jurisdiction to consider Mr. Biddle's
petition because, before a person in state custody may seek
relief, he must ordinarily exhaust “the remedies
available in the courts of the State.” 28 U.S.C. §
2254(b)(1)(A). To fully exhaust his state-court remedies, a
prisoner must fairly present his constitutional claims to the
highest available state court before seeking relief in
federal court. Because Mr. Biddle has not yet proceeded to
trial on his pending state criminal charge, he has clearly
not exhausted his state-court remedies.
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 Mr. Biddle has made a substantial
showing that he was denied a constitutional right. 28 U.S.C.
§ 2253(c)(1)-(2). In this case, Mr. Biddle has not
provided a basis for the Court to issue a certificate of
appealability. Accordingly, a certificate of appealability
should be denied.
Court recommends that Mr. Biddle's petition for writ of
habeas corpus (#1) be DISMISSED, without prejudice, for lack
of jurisdiction. Further, Judge ...