United States District Court, D. Maryland
Xinis United States District Judge.
January 18, 2018, this petition for habeas corpus was
received for filing from Raymond Drumgoole, a former Maryland
inmate. Drumgoole challenges the legality of his continuing
Division of Correction (DOC) confinement,  alleging that his
January 2017 conviction was reversed by the Maryland
intermediate appellate court and remanded to the Circuit
Court of Baltimore City on November 21, 2017. He argues that
the time limitation under state law to refile charges against
him have expired and yet he remains “illegally
confine[d] and restrain[ed].” He seeks immediate
release from confinement. ECF No. 1, pp. 2-7.
January 22, 2018, Drumgoole's motion for leave to proceed
in forma pauperis was granted and respondents were ordered to
answer the petition in 21 days. ECF No. 3. Respondents have
answered and Drumgoole has replied. ECF Nos. 5 & 6.
to the verified record, on January 17, 2017, Circuit Court
Judge David Young sentenced Drumgoole to serve 10 years in
the Division of Correction for possession of a regulated
firearm. Drumgoole further received a concurrent 10-year
sentence for wearing or carrying a handgun and possession of
ammunition. ECF No. 5-2. On November 21, 2017, the Court of
Special Appeals of Maryland reversed the Circuit Court
judgment and remanded the case for further proceedings. ECF
No. 5-3. On January 24, 2018, the Circuit Court for Baltimore
City issued an “order following remand” directing
that Drumgoole be transferred from DOC custody to the
Baltimore City Detention Center, where he be held without
bail, and to appear for a determination of pre-trial release
eligibility and arraignment on February 16, 2018. ECF No.
5-4. The state court docket reveals that Drumgoole's
arraignment was held before Circuit Court Judge Timothy Doory
on February 16, 2018. See State v. Drumgoole, Case
Number 116215005 (Circuit Court for Baltimore City) at
Drumgoole is currently confined at the Baltimore Central
Booking and Intake Facility. ECF No. 6-1.
case was instituted as filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2254, which confers jurisdiction on a district court to
“entertain an application for writ of habeas corpus in
behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of
a state court only on the ground that he is in custody
in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the
United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). (emphasis
added). Drumgoole is no longer in custody pursuant to a state
court judgment; rather he is currently in pre-trial custody
awaiting retrial. Thus, he is no longer eligible for relief
under § 2254.
to the extent that Drumgoole filed his petition to challenge
his continuing DOC incarceration, the vacature of his
conviction and transfer to pre-trial status renders his
challenge moot. Adler v. Duval County Sch. Bd., 112
F.3d 1475, 1477 (11th Cir. 1997). Where subsequent changes in
the Petitioner's circumstances divest the court of the
ability to award meaningful relief, the case is moot.
Ross v. Reed, 719 F.2d 689, 693-94 (4th Cir. 1983).
Aragon v. Shanks, 144 F.3d 690, 691 (10th Cir. 1998)
(citing Spencer v. Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 7 (1998)). Put
differently, the parties must continue to have a
“personal stake in the outcome” of the lawsuit
for it to proceed. Id. at 478 (quoting Los
Angeles v. Lyons, 461 U.S. 95, 101 (1983)). “This
means that, throughout the litigation, the complainant
‘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). Accordingly, to the extent Drumgoole challenges
the validity of his confinement in DOC custody, his removal
from DOC custody moots that challenge.
extent Drumgoole seeks federal court intervention as to his
current pending criminal charges, his § 2241 petition
for habeas corpus relief is likewise dismissed. Absent
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). Abstention in favor of
state judicial proceedings is required where the state
proceedings are ongoing, implicate important state interests,
afford an adequate opportunity to raise the federal
questions, and the federal relief sought would interfere in
some manner with the state court litigation presented.
Middlesex County Ethics Comm. v. Garden State Bar
Ass'n, 457 U.S. 423, 432 (1982); Brewsome
v. Broward County Pub. Defenders, 304 Fed.Appx.
814, 816 (11th Cir. 2008) (per curiam). Each of these
requirements are met here.
Drumgoole's protestations to the contrary, relief via
federal habeas corpus proceedings with respect to a pre-trial
state case 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 definition, courts
consider whether procedures exist in state court to protect a
petitioner's constitutional rights without pre-trial
intervention. Moore v. DeYoung, 515 F.2d 437, 449
(3d Cir. 1975). Put differently, if petitioner's rights
are adequately protected through raising 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
pre-trial 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 post-trial relief,
special circumstances are likewise nonexistent.
Moore, 515 F.2d at 449.
has raised no exceptional circumstances for federal
intervention. Any constitutional deprivation, as alleged, may
be raised state court. Accordingly, Drumgoole's petition
is dismissed without prejudice.
district court dismisses a habeas petition solely on
procedural grounds, a Certificate of Appealability
(“COA”) 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.'” Rouse v. Lee, 252 F.3d 676, 684
(4th Cir. 2001) (quoting Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S.
473, 484 (2000)). A litigant seeking a COA must demonstrate
that a procedural ruling barring relief is itself debatable
among jurists of reason; otherwise, the appeal would not
“deserve encouragement to proceed further.”
Buck v. Davis, 137 S.Ct. 759, 777 (2017). Because
Drumgoole has not made the required showing, the Court
declines to issue a COA.
separate Order follows.
 At the time Drumgoole filed his
petition he was confined at the Eastern Correctional
Institution in ...