United States District Court, D. Maryland
W. Grimm United States District Judge
19, 2015, in a separate action, Donald Gary Rembold
("Rembold") filed a 28 U.S.C. § 2241 petition
for habeas corpus relief, alleging he received ineffective
assistance of counsel throughout the pretrial process of his
criminal case and had been committed to a mental hospital
without due process. He sought release from confinement.
See ECF No. 1 in Rembold v. Helsel
("Rembold F), No. PWG-15-1825 (D. Md.).
briefing in Rembold I showed that on April 7, 2014,
Rembold was arraigned in the Circuit Court for Harford County
on multiple counts of sexual abuse of a minor and third
degree sex offense. On January 28, 2015, the circuit court
issued an order for the Department of Health and Mental
Hygiene ("DHMH") to conduct an evaluation of
Rembold's competency to stand trial. Dr. Kim Witczak, a
forensic evaluator for the DHMH, examined Rembold at the
Harford County Detention Center on January 30, 2015, and
opined that he did not have a factual and rational
understanding of the nature and object of the proceeding
against him, nor did he possess sufficient ability to consult
with his lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational
understanding. She further concluded that Rembold would
present a danger to himself or to others if released from
confinement. See ECF No. 7 in Rembold I.
February 6, 2015, the Circuit Court issued an order finding
Rembold incompetent to stand trial and, by reason of mental
disorder, a danger to himself or the person or property of
another. The order committed Rembold to the custody of the
DHMH until he becomes competent. The order requiring
Rembold's commitment was based on the evaluation
performed by Dr. Witczak and required Rembold's immediate
transportation to Spring Grove Hospital Center
("SGHC") or another facility designated by DHMH.
Rembold was admitted to SGHC on February 13, 2015.
to state law, the DHMH evaluates persons committed as not
competent to stand trial at least every six months.
See Md. Code Ann., Crim. Proc. § 3-108(a).
Rembold was reevaluated in July of 2015 by Dr. Lindsay D.
Holbein. Dr. Holbein concluded that Rembold was competent to
stand trial and did not suffer from any psychiatric illness.
Additionally, Dr. Holbein noted that Rembold's treatment
team did not believe he had a psychiatric illness and that no
medications had been prescribed for Rembold during his stay
at the SGHC. Counsel for the DHMH subsequently requested the
Circuit Court hold a hearing by August 28, 2015, pursuant to
Crim. Proc. § 3-106(c)(l)(iii). On September 3, 2015,
Rembold was found competent to stand trial by the Circuit
Court for Harford County, released from SGHC, and remanded to
the custody of the Harford County Detention Center where he
remains at this time. Id.
September 14, 2015, this Court dismissed Rembold I
without prejudice. See ECF No. 7 in Rembold
20, 2016, Rembold initiated this action by filing another 28
U.S.C. § 2241 petition seeking declaratory relief and
unspecified damages for his previous confinement at SGHC,
claiming that he was housed at the facility for 202 days
without being diagnosed as having a mental health disorder.
ECF No. 1. The petition was accompanied by an indigency
motion. ECF No. 2. Leave to proceed in forma pauperis shall
Court's limited review of this matter focuses on whether
circumstances exist in this case that would permit Rembold to
access federal habeas relief prior to the completion of his
state criminal trial. Pretrial federal habeas relief is
available under § 2241 if the petitioner is in custody,
has exhausted state court remedies, and special circumstances
exist that justify intervention by the federal court. See
Dicker son v. Louisiana, 816 F.2d 220, 224-26 (5th Cir.
1987). Exhaustion is established where both the operative
facts and controlling legal principles of each claim have
been fairly presented to the state courts. See Baker v.
Corcoran, 220 F.3d 276, 289 (4th Cir. 2000) (citations
special circumstances justifying this Court's
intervention do not exist because Rembold is no longer
confined at the SGHC. The issue regarding the validity of his
confinement at Spring Grove is therefore moot. "A habeas
corpus petition is moot when it no longer presents a case or
controversy under Article III, § 2, of the
Constitution." Aragon v. Shanks, 144 F.3d 690,
691 (10th Cir. 1998) (citing Spencer v. Kemna, 523
U.S. 1, 7 (1998)). "This case-or-controversy requirement
subsists through all stages of federal judicial proceedings,
trial and appellate." Lewis v. Continental Bank
Corp., 494 U.S. 472, 477 (1990). The parties must
continue to have a "personal stake in the outcome"
of the lawsuit. Id. at 478 (quoting Los Angeles
v. Lyons, 461 U.S. 95, 101 (1983)). "This means
that, throughout the litigation, the plaintiff 'must have
suffered, or be threatened with, an actual injury traceable
to the defendant and likely to be redressed by a favorable
judicial decision.'" Spencer, 523 U.S. at 7
(quoting Lewis, 494 U.S. at 477).
extent there remains an issue regarding the validity of
Rembold's pretrial incarceration in the Harford County
Detention Center, this Court must abstain from considering
the merits of that claim. In the pretrial 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). The petition will therefore be
dismissed without prejudice by separate Order.
 Rembold's trial on sex offense
charges concluded on April 12, 2016. See State of
Maryland v. Rembold, Case Nos. 12K14000396 & 12K14000397
(Harford Co. Cir. Ct.);
("State Ct. Docket"). The electronic docket shows
that sentencing is currently scheduled for July 20, 2016.
To the extent that Rembold wishes to
seek damages from alleged due process violations related to
his detention at SGHC in 2015, he may file a civil rights
action in this Court requesting specific damages. ...