United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. Russell, III United States District Judge.
MATTER is before the Court on Petitioner Jonathan
Mengisteab's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (ECF No.
1). The Petition is ripe for disposition, and no hearing is
necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D.Md. 2018). For
the following reasons, the Court will dismiss the Petition
October 1, 2014, Howard County police responded to a report
that Mengisteab was using a shovel to attempt to break into
an apartment. (Resp'ts' Resp. Pet.
[“Resp.”] Ex. 1 at 6-7, ECF No. 5-1). Mengisteab
told the police that he was there to see his friend and to
get his things from his friend's apartment, but the only
information Mengisteab was able to provide was a first name.
(Id.). Police arrested Mengisteab. (Id. at
7). Mengisteab later told police that he went to the
apartment to check on a girl he had met the previous evening
and that none of his things were in the apartment.
(Id.). Mengisteab was charged with fourth degree
burglary, malicious destruction of property, and fourth
degree attempted robbery. (Id. at 1); see also
Maryland v. Mengisteab, No. 0T00089824 (D.Ct. Howard
Cty. Oct. 1, 2014). Police advised Mengisteab not to return
to the apartment complex and released him. (See
Resp. Ex. 1 at 7)
next day, October 2, 2014, Mengisteab returned to the same
apartment at approximately 12:10 a.m., banged on the door,
and identified himself as a police officer. (Id.).
Mengisteab fled before the police arrived, and he returned
several hours later. (Id.). Police responded, and
Mengisteab told them that he was there to check on a female
friend, but he was unable to provide any of her identifying
information. (Id.). Mengisteab was charged with
trespass and harassment and was again instructed not to
return to the apartment complex. (Id. at 1); see
Maryland v. Mengisteab, No. 4T00089828 (D.Ct. Howard Cty
Oct. 2, 2014). Later the same day, the District Court of
Maryland, sitting in Howard County, issued a Peace Order
against Mengisteab for the occupant of the apartment. No.
1001SP009752014 (D.Ct. Howard Cty); (see also Resp.
Ex. 1 at 8; Id. Ex. 2 at 5, ECF No.
October 13, 2014, Mengisteab called 911 for an ambulance for
medical assistance for a woman he said was in an apartment at
the complex and he could not gain access. (Resp. Ex. 1 at 7).
A tenant at the apartment complex also called 911, but he to
reported that Mengisteab was again on the property and that
he was banned from the apartment complex. (Id.).
When the police arrived, they found Mengisteab in front of
the apartment building. (Id. at 7-8). He
“appeared confused” and “stated that
someone in either Apartment C1 or C4 needed medical
attention.” (Id. at 8). Apartment C4 was the
apartment involved in the October 1 and 2, 2014 incidents and
where the occupant with the Peace Order resided.
(Id.). The resident of Apartment C1 denied needing
medical attention and the resident of Apartment C4 denied
having any connection to Mengisteab prior to the October 1,
2014 incident and resulting Peace Order. (Id.).
Based on this incident, Mengisteab was charged with failing
to comply with a Peace Order. Maryland v.
Mengisteab, No. 2T00089882 (D.Ct. Howard Cty Oct. 13,
2014); (see also Resp. Ex. 2 at 3).
December 18, 2014, the District Court ordered a mental health
evaluation for Mengisteab to assess his criminal
responsibility at the time he allegedly committed the
offenses and his competency to stand trial. (Resp. Ex. 3, ECF
No. 5-3). On February 19, 2015, Dr. Charles Zeitler and
Lindsey Peterson, M.S., J.D., filed their report. (Resp. Ex.
2 at 1). In their report, they opined that Mengisteab
understood the nature and objective of the proceedings
against him, was able to assist in his own defense, and was
competent to stand trial. (Id. at 5). They reported,
however, that Mengisteab “lacked substantial capacity
to appreciate the criminality of his conduct and to conform
his behavior to the requirements of law.” (Id.
September 18, 2015, the District Court found Mengisteab not
criminally responsible (“NCR”) on the charge of
failing to comply with a peace order. (Resp. Ex. 4, ECF No.
5-4). The remaining charges were entered as nolle prosequi.
(Id. Ex. 2 at 1, 6). The District Court committed
Mengisteab to the Department of Health at Springfield
Hospital (“Springfield”) in Sykesville, Maryland.
(Id. Ex. 4).
August 22, 2016, Mengisteab filed his Petition for Writ of
Habeas Corpus Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (ECF No. 1).
Respondents filed their Response to the Petition for Writ of
Habeas Corpus on October 10, 2016. (ECF No. 5). On February
21, 2017, Mengisteab filed a Reply. (ECF No. 7).
Petition, Mengisteab asserts that he is being unlawfully held
at Springfield. (Pet. Writ Habeas Corpus [“Pet.”]
at 5-6, ECF No. 1). Mengistead avers that: (1) he is
“held without bond, which was prepaid for a length of
two weeks in Howard County Jail” and is from Virginia
where he is on probation, (Pet. at 6); (2) he was
misdiagnosed as schizophrenic after a one-day evaluation; (3)
he is eligible for discharge as a committed person who is not
a danger as a result of mental disorder, “according to
[the] “Maryland Code, ” (Pet. at 10); and (4) he
is a “highly functioning individual who is Level 2,
” has maintained a job, and had “never been in
seclusion or restraints, ” (Id.). Respondents
counter that Mengisteab is lawfully confined at Springfield
pursuant to a court order that found him NCR, and the
Petition should be dismissed because Mengisteab has not
exhausted his state law remedies. The Court agrees that
Mengisteab has failed to exhaust his state remedies.
threshold matter, the Court notes that Mengisteab filed his
Petition using a preprinted form for 28 U.S.C. §2254
petitions. (See Pet.). Mindful that Mengisteab is
self-represented, the Court liberally construes the Petition
and treats it as properly filed under to 28 U.S.C. §
2241. (See Sept. 22, 2016 Order, ECF No. 3).
§ 2241, federal district courts have the “broad
authority” to hear petitions for writs of habeas corpus
filed by those claiming to be held “in custody in
violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the
United States.” Timms v. Johns, 627 F.3d 525,
530 (4th Cir. 2010) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 2241(a)).
Nevertheless, the Court's authority to issue a writ
“is not boundless.” Id. Even where the
Court has the power to issue a writ, it must consider whether
to exercise that power. Id. (quoting Munaf v.
Geren, 553 U.S. 674, 693 (2008)). Thus, in the absence
of exceptional circumstances, courts generally require the
exhaustion of alternative remedies before an individual can
seek federal habeas relief. Id. at 530-31 (first
quoting Bowen v. Johnston, 306 U.S. 19, 27 (1939);
and then quoting Boumediene v. Bush, 553 U.S. 723,
793 (2008)) (applying exhaustion requirement to § 2241
petition challenging civil commitment); see also Toomer
v. Corcoran, No. DKC-18-1252, 2018 WL 6423904, at *2
(D.Md. Dec. 6, 2018) (“Thus, before seeking federal
habeas corpus relief, Petitioner must exhaust each claim
presented by pursuing remedies available in state
establish exhaustion, each claim must be “fairly
presented” to the state courts. Baker v.
Corcoran, 220 F.3d 276, 289 (4th Cir. 2000) (quoting
Picard v. Connor, 404 U.S. 270, 275 (1971)). A claim
is “fairly presented” where “both the
operative facts and the controlling legal principles”
were presented to the state court. Id. (quoting
Matthews v. Evatt, 105 F.3d 907, 911 (4th Cir.
1997)). In this case, “[e]xhaustion includes appellate
review in ...