United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fort Smith Division
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
MARK E. FORD, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is Petitioner's Petition for Writ of Habeas
Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. (ECF No. 1). The
State of Arkansas has not been directed to file a response
and none is necessary. The matter is ready for Report and
Shaun Jermaine Estes (“Estes”), filed his pro
se Petition on February 1, 2019. (ECF No. 1). The
Petition concerns his state criminal case, State v.
Estes, No. 66CR-2018-1051A. (Id. at 1-2). Estes
raises several challenges to the constitutionality of that
case, including: a lack of probable cause; violation of his
Fifth Amendment rights; violation of his Fourth Amendment
rights; and, his allegation that “these courts are
being tyrants.” (Id. at 6-8). Estes requests
that the state criminal case against him be dismissed, and he
seeks compensatory damages. (Id. at 8).
general grant of habeas authority to the federal courts
appears in 28 U.S.C. § 2241, which extends the writ to,
among others, persons “in custody in violation of the
Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.”
28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3). Pretrial detainees challenging
the legitimacy of pending state litigation must pursue relief
under § 2241. Phillips v. Court of Common Pleas,
Hamilton County, Ohio, 668 F.3d 804, 809 (6th Cir.
2012); see also Rojas Hernandez v. Paget, 2016 WL
7404742, * 2 (D. Minn. Nov. 10, 2016) (“Section 2241
has been recognized as a potential source of habeas review
for state pretrial detainees.”). “Before
obtaining habeas relief, however, the petitioner must not
only be in custody but also have exhausted his state
remedies.” Rojas Hernandez, supra.
(citing Moore v. United States, 875 F.Supp. 620, 622
(D. Neb. 1994). “Despite the absence of an exhaustion
requirement in the statutory language of section 2241(c)(3),
a body of case law has developed holding that although
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.” Id. (quoting
Dickerson v. Louisiana, 816 F.2d 220, 225 (5th Cir.
extent Estes's Petition raises issues that may be
resolved by trial or other state process, his claims are
barred by the Younger abstention doctrine. Pursuant
to Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971), federal
courts are required to abstain from hearing cases when
“(1) there is an ongoing state judicial proceeding
which (2) implicates important state interests, and when (3)
that proceeding affords an adequate opportunity to raise the
federal questions presented.” Norwood v.
Dickey, 409 F.3d 901, 903 (8th Cir. 2005) (citing
Fuller v. Ulland, 76 F.3d 957, 959 (8th Cir. 1996)).
Ongoing state criminal proceedings implicate the important
state interest of enforcing state criminal law, and
constitutional claims relating to that proceeding should be
raised there. Meador v. Paulson, 385 Fed.Appx. 613
(8th Cir. 2010); see also Gillette v. N. Dakota Disc. Bd.
Counsel, 610 F.3d 1045, 1046 (8th Cir. 2010)
(“federal courts may not enjoin pending state court
criminal proceedings absent a showing of bad faith,
harassment, or any other unusual circumstance that would call
for equitable relief.”) (internal quotations omitted)).
time Estes's Petition was filed on February 1, 2019,
there was an ongoing state judicial proceeding pending, which
implicated the important state interest of enforcing state
criminal law, and that proceeding afforded Estes an adequate
opportunity to raise the constitutional questions he
presents. His allegations all center on his pending state
criminal case. Pursuant to Younger, this Court would
be required to abstain from hearing the matter, leaving Estes
to pursue his constitutional claims in his state criminal
case. However, four days after the filing of Estes's
Petition in this action, his state criminal case proceeded to
jury trial on February 5, 2019, and Estes was
III, Section 2 of the United States Constitution limits the
subject matter of the federal courts to cases that present a
“case or controversy.” Bomasuto v.
Perlman, 680 F.Supp.2d 449, 456 (W.D.N.Y. 2010)
(internal citations omitted). “Thus, where the issues
presented by a party in an action are no longer
‘live,' or the party lacks a legally cognizable
interest in the outcome, the federal action is properly
dismissed as moot.” Id. (quoting City of
Erie v. Pap's A.M., 529 U.S. 277, 287 (2000). A
party must, at all stages of the litigation, have an actual
injury, which is likely to be redressed by a favorable
judicial decision. Id. (internal citations omitted).
“[I]f an event occurs during the course of the
proceedings or on appeal that makes it impossible for the
court to grant any effectual relief whatever to a prevailing
party, [the court] … must dismiss the case.”
Id. (internal citation omitted).
the criminal proceeding challenged in Estes' Petition was
resolved in his favor by jury trial in state court. The
issues presented in this Court are no longer “live,
” and this action should be dismissed as moot.
it is recommended that Estes's Petition (ECF No. 1) be
DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
parties have fourteen (14) days from receipt of the Report
and Recommendation in which to file written objections
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The failure to file
timely objections may result in waiver of the right to appeal
questions of fact. The parties arereminded