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Raymond v. Shue

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fort Smith Division

September 27, 2018

DAN SHUE, Prosecuting Attorney, LINDA WARD, Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, DENORA D. COOMER, Sebastian County Circuit Court Clerk, a/k/a Jane/John Doe, V. HENRY, Deputy Clerk, RACHEL J. SIMS, District Court Clerk RESPONDENTS



         Before the Court is the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to the “All Writs Act, ” 28 U.S.C. § 1651, filed by Petitioner, Leslie E. Raymond a/k/a James A. Kennedy, III (“Raymond”) on June 26, 2018. (ECF No. 1). Respondent, Denora D. Coomer, filed a Response to Petition on July 18, 2018. (ECF No. 9). Separate Respondents, Dan Shue and Linda Ward, filed a Motion to Dismiss on July 20, 2018. (ECF No. 10). Petitioner filed a Response to Dismissal Request on August 27, 2018. (ECF No. 11). Supplements to Petitioner's Response to Dismissal Request were subsequently filed on September 4, 2018 (ECF No. 12), September 10, 2018 (ECF No. 13), and September 17, 2018 (ECF No. 15). The matter is ready for Report and Recommendation.

         I. Background

         Raymond is a federal prisoner at the Loretto Federal Correctional Institution in Loretto, Pennsylvania serving a sentence imposed by the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. (ECF No. 1, pp. 1, 2).

         On June 26, 2018, Raymond filed his pro se Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus (the “Petition”) in this Court. (ECF No. 1). The Petition essentially raises one ground for relief: that an active warrant issued by the Prosecuting Attorney for Sebastian County, Arkansas, charging Raymond with theft of property, prevents him from participating in Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) community re-entry, rehabilitation, and vocational programs. (ECF No. 1, pp. 2, 3). Raymond contends his due process and speedy trial rights have been violated by the Respondents' refusal to extradite him, to allow him to plead in absentia, and to allow the filing in state court of his challenges to the warrant. (ECF No. 1, pp. 3-5). It is unclear from the Petition itself what relief Raymond is seeking in this action, but a liberal reading of his pro se pleading suggests that he seeks the immediate resolution of the Sebastian County charge against him, including by way of a writ of mandamus directing the Circuit Clerk to accept and file Raymond's submissions to the Circuit Court of Sebastian County, Arkansas challenging the arrest warrant.[1]

         Separate Respondent, Denora Coomer (“Coomer”), the Circuit Clerk of Sebastian County, Arkansas, filed her Response to the Petition on July 18, 2018. (ECF No. 9). Coomer denies that she, or any Sebastian County official or employee, has custody of Raymond, or that she could either order or effect his release. (ECF No. 9, ¶¶ 2-3). To the extent that Raymond's Petition is construed as one for a writ of mandamus, Coomer contends there is no allegation that this Court possesses jurisdiction over the matter that Raymond seeks to have filed by Coomer. (ECF No. 9, ¶ 5). Coomer also alleges that she is not in possession of the documents Raymond sought to file; that Raymond provides no legal authority to support his claim that Coomer be directed by this Court to file pleadings which are neither in her possession nor associated with an existing case; and, that she is shielded by sovereign immunity. (ECF No. 9, ¶¶ 7-9).

         On July 20, 2018, the Separate Respondents, Dan Shue (“Shue”), Sebastian County Prosecuting Attorney, and Linda Ward (“Ward”), Sebastian County Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, filed their Motion to Dismiss the Petition. (ECF No. 10). They acknowledge that an arrest warrant was issued in 2003 authorizing Raymond's arrest for felony theft of property, but they contend habeas corpus is not a remedy available to Raymond under the facts of this case; that this Court has no jurisdiction to issue a writ of mandamus to compel state officials to act in a particular manner; and, that Raymond's claims against them are barred by the doctrines of prosecutorial immunity, sovereign immunity, and qualified immunity. (ECF No. 10, ¶¶ 1-4).

         Raymond filed a Response to Dismissal Request on August 27, 2018, in which he reiterates his argument that he is trying to get the arrest warrant resolved “for the sake of being able to participate in needed FBOP programs and re-entry stuff so I can be a success when I get out.” (ECF No. 11, p. 1).

         A pleading entitled Supplemental Information for Consideration was filed by Raymond on September 4, 2018, to which he attached various documents in support of his Petition. (ECF No. 12). These documents include, inter alia, copies of letters of commendation from prison officials; pleadings sent by Raymond to the Sebastian County Circuit Clerk to challenge the arrest warrant; and, letters to, and responses from, Arkansas officials regarding Raymond's efforts to resolve the outstanding arrest warrant.

         An Amendment/Clarification/Supplement of Pleadings was filed by Raymond on September 10, 2018. (ECF No. 13). He asked that two additional individuals, Deputy Clerk V. Henry and District Court Clerk Rachel J. Sims, be added as named Respondents in this action. (Id. at pp. 1, 10). He alleges that “without this warrant being adjudicated or dismissed (even without prejudice), I won't be eligible for a halfway house, ” and “preparation for the re-entry programs, is something I need.” (Id. at p. 2, 3). He argues his right to due process and to petition the government for the redress of grievances and states that, “I have grievances and should have the right to have a judge of that jurisdiction, hear it.” (Id. at pp. 4-5). He further alleges “[t]he clerks rejected my filings and therefore, they violated my rights to due process and to access to the courts.” (Id. at p. 5). As noted above, Raymond confirms that “[h]abeas relief is not sought, ” and “THIS IS AN ACTION REQUESTING THAT THIS COURT ORDER THE PLEADINGS BE ACCEPTED FOR FILING AND ACTUALLY HEARD BY A JUDGE OF JURISDICTION, let a judge rule on the case at a state level.” (Id. at pp. 5-6) (caps and underline in original). He then argues that pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1651 usage of an extraordinary writ is appropriate when no other means are available. To demonstrate that no other means are available to him, Raymond alleges that he has written letters to Governor Hutchinson, Attorney General Rutledge, Respondents Ward and Shue, the clerk, and judges, and that his motions sent to the clerk were not filed and instead redirected to Ward and Shue. (Id. at p. 7). He contends that this Court “does have the right to order the clerk of the court to accept filings of the petitioner in Sebastian County Court and direct the Clerk to then make sure a judge gets them.” (Id. at pp. 7-8).

         In a Supplemental Allegation Pleading filed on September 17, 2018, Raymond states once more that “they prevented the filing or they diverted the filing from being heard by a judicial officer of the Criminal Court in Fort Smith, Arkansas, ” and “[t]his happened over a period of several months while I attempted to get a 15 year old warrant taken care of so that I could participate and benefit from programs aimed at completing my rehabilitation and preparing me for a fair chance at SUCCESSFUL reentry.” (ECF No. 15, p. 1) (caps in original).

         II. Discussion

         For the reasons discussed below, this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to consider habeas corpus relief. Further, Raymond has not shown that he has exhausted his state remedies before filing this action, and he ultimately seeks relief for something to which he has no constitutional right. Accordingly, the undersigned recommends the dismissal without prejudice of Raymond's Petition.

         A. No. Detainer - No. ...

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