complaint demanding equitable relief. Even doing so, however, we must deny the requested relief for the reasons that follow.
To prevail, petitioner would have to surmount various hurdles. First, he would have to convince us we are not foreclosed from issuing an injunction by the Anti-Injunction Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2283. There are three exceptions in that act to the flat prohibition against injunctions to halt state court proceeding: specific authorization by a Congressional Act, jurisdictional necessity and protection of federal court judgments. We perceive no facts in petitioner's case which readily lend themselves to being construed as falling in one of these exceptions. Therefore, it is likely petitioner's request is barred by 28 U.S.C. § 2283.
The one possibility that would keep petitioner from foundering on the shoals of § 2283, and the one which deters us from holding that petitioner is conclusively barred by that statute lies in construing petitioner's claim as based on 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In that event 28 U.S.C. § 2283 would not be a bar, since the Supreme Court ruled the language "in equity" in § 1983 is an express Congressional exception to the anti-injunction statute. Mitchum v. Foster, 407 U.S. 225, 32 L. Ed. 2d 705, 92 S. Ct. 2151 (1972). But there are substantial problems in construing petitioner's complaint as one based on 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Specifically, that statute requires us to locate a federally protected right of petitioner's which has been violated as a predicate for his civil rights action. Section 1983 protects against the deprivation of "any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws." Therefore, petitioner's claim must allege a violation of (a) a right secured by the United States Constitution; or (b) a right secured by a federal statute; or (c) a right secured by a state statute or by common law which may be deemed an "entitlement," and hence a 14th Amendment due process right under the federal Constitution. See Antieu, Federal Civil Rights Acts, §§ 43-73 (1971); 90 Harv.L.Rev. 86-104 (1976).
Petitioner's claim is that he was defrauded or deceived by a Pennsylvania prosecutor, a prison official and public defender by being induced to consent to a present trial in New Jersey on the assurance that New Jersey could legally extradite him in any event at a later date (i.e., after his Pennsylvania term of incarceration ended and his probationary period began) even if he did not sign the papers. The claim necessarily involves the assumption that that advice was false -- in other words that New Jersey could not in fact have extradited him at a later date, and that New Jersey's only hope of obtaining custody lay in obtaining petitioner's present consent to extradition pursuant to the detainer which had been lodged. Does this claim state a cause of action under any Constitutional provisions, federal laws, or state laws which are part of the "entitlement doctrine"?
The question whether petitioner was or was not deceived in fact -- in other words, whether the advice he was given about future extradition was accurate or not -- is governed by the Uniform Extradition Act, codified in Pennsylvania as 19 P.S. § 191.1 et seq., and applicable to petitioner as a Pennsylvania prisoner at the time in question. Petitioner's claim also involves the Interstate Agreement on Detainers, since the heart of the claim is that the prisoner "consent" necessary to invoke the procedures of that statute was deceitfully obtained through false advice about the extradition procedures.
Both Pennsylvania, the "sending" state, and New Jersey, the "receiving" state, have enacted the Interstate Agreement. 19 P.S. § 1431 et seq. ; 2A N.J.S.A. § 159A-1 et seq.
In what sense are the statutory rights identified above federally protected within the meaning of § 1983? No United States Constitutional provision is implicated (reserving the possibility of 14th Amendment due process). Nor are both of the above statutes (extradition and detainer) "federal" laws. The Uniform Extradition Act clearly is not one since it only purports to govern transfers from one state to another, has no applicability to federal extradition jurisdiction, and has in no fashion found its way into the United States Code. The Interstate Agreement on Detainers probably is not a federal law; its status is unclear.
That leaves the possibility that petitioner's right is one protected by the 14th Amendment's due process clause by virtue of the Entitlement Doctrine. See 90 Harvard L.Rev. 84-106 (1976). The entitlement questions presented are: first, whether Pennsylvania law entitles petitioner to receive accurate advice about procedures under the Uniform Extradition Act from Pennsylvania prosecutors, public defenders and prison officials; and second, whether violation of such a right to accurate advice, if it exists, constitutes, as a matter of Pennsylvania state law, a vitiation of "consent" under the Interstate Agreement on Detainers as enacted in Pennsylvania, 19 P.S. § 1431, Article III § (a).
The above entitlement questions are novel and difficult. We need not and do not decide them. For even assuming arguendo that plaintiff's allegations state a valid 14th Amendment due process claim, the petition cannot survive. Quite the contrary, petitioner then finds looming ominously, like a Mt. Everest on the landscape of federal injunctive relief, demanding to be scaled and yet virtually unscalable, the decision of Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 27 L. Ed. 2d 669, 91 S. Ct. 746 (1974). For petitioner is asking us to enjoin an on-going state criminal proceeding, summoning notions of "our federalism," which in this context express "the fundamental policy against federal interference with state criminal prosecutions," id. at 46. Younger requires, to justify federal intervention, a "showing of bad faith, harassment, or any other unusual circumstance that would call for equitable relief," id. at 54, and requires not merely equity's traditional "irreparable injury" to be present, but also that such irreparable injury be "both great and immediate," id. at 46. If a defense to the challenged prosecution would be sufficient to eliminate the threat to any federally-protected rights, then federal intervention is not proper. Id. at 48.
Applying these standards, we find petitioner has alleged no irreparable injury that will befall him as a consequence of standing trial in New Jersey. Nor has he alleged that the prosecution itself has been undertaken by New Jersey in bad faith, as an act of harassment against him. At most, he has alleged that two previous detainers were procedurally defective, and that he had -- and exercised -- a perfectly adequate legal remedy in having those detainers dismissed. Finally, and most importantly, petitioner has not alleged that any threat to his assumed rights cannot be resolved by his defense in the New Jersey trial. Indeed, it seems to us that that is the proper, logical and adequate forum for raising the issue that he was "tricked" into signing extradition papers and that but for such trickery the New Jersey court would not have had jurisdiction to try him.
Finding that petitioner's complaint, when read in light of the Younger v. Harris principles, cannot state a cause of action, we order the petition dismissed.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: The following court-provided text does not appear at this cite in 449 F. Supp.]
AND NOW, this 26th day of April, 1978, in consideration of the foregoing memorandum, it is ORDERED that relator's petition for a writ of habeas corpus is DENIED.
There is no probable cause for appeal.