United States District Court, D. Maryland
February 10, 2014
MARSHALL K. MAINE, Petitioner,
STATE OF MARYLAND, Respondent.
JAMES K. BREDAR, District Judge.
On January 29, 2014, the court received an incomplete form for filing a petition for habeas corpus relief from Marshall K. Maine (hereinafter referred to as "Maine"), who is currently confined at the Wicomico County Detention Center. Maine seemingly states that his conviction was overturned by the intermediate Maryland appellate court in July of 2013, and he was transferred back to the local county detention facility to await retrial. ECF No. 1.
Affording his petition a generous construction, Maine seemingly complains that his confinement violates the Eighth Amendment's provision against cruel and unusual punishment; his charges were leveled in a biased and prejudicial manner; he has been subject to excessive bail and unnecessary delays in the scheduling of his retrial; and he is being retried and subject to incarceration as punishment by the state. He seeks "relief of incarceration." Id. Maine has filed neither the $5.00 habeas filing fee nor an indigency application. He shall not be required to cure this deficiency as his petition shall be summarily dismissed.
The Maryland Judiciary Case Search website confirms that on January 23, 2012, an indictment was issued charging Maine with the kidnapping of a child under sixteen, sexual solicitation of a minor, fourth-degree sex offense, second-degree assault, false imprisonment, and attempted third-degree sex offense. See State v. Maine, Criminal No. 22K12000051 (Circuit Court for Wicomico County). www.casesearch.courts.state.md.us/inquiry. On or about May 29, 2012, Maine was acquitted of all charges with the exception of sexual solicitation of a minor and attempted third-degree sex offense. He was sentenced to five years on the merged charges. On July 2, 2013, however, the criminal judgment was vacated and remanded for a new trial by the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland. Id. ( see attached docket sheet).
To the extent that Maine seeks federal court intervention in his pending state criminal retrial, his case will be construed as a 28 U.S.C. § 2241 petition for habeas corpus relief and dismissed. In the absence of extraordinary circumstances, a federal court must not interfere with ongoing state criminal proceedings. See Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 53-54 (1971); Cinema Blue of Charlotte, Inc., v. Gilchrist, 887 F.2d 49, 50-53 (4th Cir. 1989) (district courts should abstain from constitutional challenges to state judicial proceedings if the federal claims have been or could have been presented in an ongoing state judicial proceeding). The abstention doctrine of Younger establishes that under principles of comity and federalism, a federal court should not interfere with ongoing state criminal proceedings unless extraordinary circumstances exist. Younger, 401 U.S. at 54. Abstention in favor of state judicial proceedings is required if the proceedings are ongoing, implicate important state interests, afford an adequate opportunity to raise the federal questions, and if the federal relief sought would interfere in some manner with the state court litigation. Middlesex County Ethics Comm. v. Garden State Bar Ass'n, 457 U.S. 423, 432 (1982); Brewsome v. Broward County Pub. Defenders, 304 F.Appx. 814, 816 (11th Cir. 2008) (per curiam) (unpublished). In the pre-trial context, federal courts must abstain from exercising jurisdiction over a claim that may be resolved through trial of the merits or by other state procedures available for review of the claim. See Braden v. 30th Judicial Circuit Court, 410 U.S. 484, 489-90 (1973).
Further, pretrial habeas relief is only available if a petitioner has exhausted state court remedies and "special circumstances" justify federal review. See Dickerson v. Louisiana, 816 F.2d 220, 226-29 (5th Cir. 1987). While the phrase "special circumstances" lacks any definition, courts have looked to whether procedures exist that would protect a petitioner's constitutional rights without pretrial intervention. Moore v. De Young, 515 F.2d 437, 449 (3d Cir. 1975). Where a threat to the petitioner's rights may be remedied by an assertion of an appropriate defense in state court, no special circumstances are shown. Id .; see also Drayton v. Hayes, 589 F.2d 117, 121 (2d Cir. 1979) (double jeopardy claim entitled to pretrial habeas intervention since "the very constitutional right claimed... would be violated" if petitioner were forced to go to trial). Where the right may be adequately preserved by orderly posttrial relief, special circumstances are likewise nonexistent. Moore, 515 F.2d at 449.
Maine has raised no exceptional circumstances for interfering with the Wicomico County criminal case at this time. Habeas corpus relief will be denied without prejudice.
When a district court dismisses a petition for habeas corpus solely on procedural grounds, a certificate of appealability will not issue unless the petitioner can demonstrate both "(1) that jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the petition states a valid claim of the denial of a constitutional right' and (2) that jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the district court was correct in its procedural ruling.'" Rose v. Lee, 252 F.3d 676, 684 (4th Cir. 2001) (quoting Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000). Maine has not made the required showing and no certificate of appealability shall issue. A separate Order will be entered dismissing this action without prejudice.