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COOMBS v. DIGUGLIELMO

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania


July 20, 2004.

WAYNE COOMBS
v.
DAVID DIGUGLIELMO, et al.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: THOMAS RUETER, Magistrate Judge

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

Presently before the court is a counseled petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner was found guilty of committing a series of robberies in the Court of Common Pleas for Philadelphia County. He was sentenced to a minimum of fifty-nine and a maximum of one-hundred and sixty years imprisonment. In his Memorandum of Law filed in support of the habeas petition, counsel argues that at trial the prosecutor excluded African-American individuals from jury service, in violation of the principles set forth in Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986). This is petitioner's only ground for relief. To support his Batson argument, petitioner relies heavily upon the recent decision of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Holloway v. Horn, 355 F.3d 707 (3d Cir. 2004), which interpreted Batson. On July 16, 2004, the District Attorney filed a petition for writ of certiorari to review the Third Circuit's decision in Holloway. See United States Superior Court Docket No. 03A964.

The Commonwealth has filed an unopposed motion to stay further proceedings in the habeas case now before the court pending a decision by the Supreme Court on the petition for writ of certiorari. Both parties agree that the Supreme Court's decision in Holloway may have a significant impact on the case before the court. See Motion for Stay ¶ 5. A federal court has inherent power to stay a case pending the outcome of a related proceeding "in an effort to maximize the effective utilization of judicial resources and to minimize the possibility of conflicts between different courts." 5A Wright and Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure, Civil 2d § 1360 at 439 (1990). See also Landis v. North Am. Co., 299 U.S. 248, 254 (1936) (Cardozo, J.) ("[T]he power to stay proceedings is incidental to the power inherent in every court to control the disposition of the causes on its docket with economy of time and effort for itself, for counsel, and for litigants."); Crews v. Horn, 360 F.3d 146, 154 (3d Cir. 2004) (District courts have the discretion to stay mixed habeas corpus petitions containing both exhausted and unexhausted claims.).

  Given the fact that the only claim raised by the petitioner relies principally on the Third Circuit's Holloway opinion and that both parties agree that the resources of the judiciary and litigants will be conserved by staying this case pending the Supreme Court's decision, the court respectfully RECOMMENDS that the court stay the proceedings until the conclusion of all proceedings in Horn v. Holloway, Supreme Court Docket No. 03A964.

20040720

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