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Carr v. Warden

United States District Court, District of Maryland

March 18, 2015

WILLIAM CARR, Petitioner,
WARDEN, Respondent.


Paul W. Grimm, United States District Judge.

On February 13, 2015, William Carr submitted correspondence requesting that his "federal habeas corpus" be held sub curia until he completes state post-conviction proceedings in order to preserve his "federal habeas corpus right." (ECF No. 1). At present, Carr has not submitted a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus. Further, he has yet to file a post-conviction petition in state court.[1] The Court presumes Carr is requesting to stay and hold in abeyance a future Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus to be filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. As a request to stay a petition as yet unfiled is premature, this case will be DENIED without prejudice.

It is likely that Carr filed this request to stay an unfiled petition because he is aware that a state prisoner seeking federal habeas corpus relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 must first exhaust his remedies in state court. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1)(A). To satisfy the exhaustion requirement, "state prisoners must give the state courts one full opportunity to resolve any constitutional issues by invoking one complete round of the State's established appellate review process, " including a petition for discretionary review before the State's highest court. O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838, 845 (1999); see also Baldwin v. Reese, 541 U.S. 27, 29 (2004). It does not appear he has fully exhausted his state court remedies.

Carr is also likely aware of the one-year statute of limitations that applies to habeas petitions in non-capital cases for a person convicted in a state court. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d); Wall v. Kholi, 562 U.S. 545, 131 S.Ct. 1278, 1283 (2011).[2] This one-year period is, however, tolled while properly filed post-conviction proceedings are pending and may otherwise be equitably tolled. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(2); Harris v. Hutchinson, 209 F.3d 325, 328 (4th Cir. 2000).

Even if Carr had a § 2254 petition pending in this Court, staying and holding a petition in abeyance is available only in limited circumstances because granting a stay effectively excuses a petitioner's failure to present his claims first to the state courts. Stay and abeyance is only appropriate where a petition presents exhausted and unexhausted claims, the petitioner show good cause for his failure to exhaust, and the claims are potentially meritorious. See Rhines v. Weber, 544 U.S. 269, 277-78 (2005). If these requirements are satisfied, a reasonable time limit is placed on the petitioner's trip to state court and back. See, e.g., Zarvela v. Artuz, 254 F.3d 374 (2d Cir. 2001) ("[District courts] should explicitly condition the stay on the prisoner's pursuing state court remedies within a brief interval...."). If a petitioner engages in abusive litigation tactics or intentional delay, the district court should not grant him a stay at all. Rhines, 544 U.S. at 278.

Accordingly, the Court will DENY the request to stay this matter as premature. Petitioner provides no grounds for a Certificate of Appealability. The Clerk will be directed to send a § 2254 forms and information packet to Carr to assist him in filing a future federal petition.

It is this 18th day of March 2015, by the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, hereby ordered:

1. The request to stay IS DENIED without prejudice as premature;

2. A Certificate of Appealability SHALL NOT ISSUE;

3. The Clerk SHALL CLOSE this case; and

4. The Clerk SHALL SEND a copy of this Order and a § 2254 forms and information packet to Plaintiff.

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