United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
M. MUNLEY, JUDGE
September 13, 2017, Petitioner Eliseo Navedo
(“Petitioner”), a pre-trial detainee presently
confined at the Dauphin County Prison, Harrisburg,
Pennsylvania, initiated the instant petition for writ of
habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Doc. 1).
Preliminary consideration of the petition pursuant to Rule 4
of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United
States District Courts, reveals that the petition is subject
to summary dismissal because there are ongoing state court
alleges that he was arrested on August 28, 2015 in
“Dauphin County [matter] 1401-2016.” (Doc. 1,
¶ 1). A preliminary hearing was held in March 2016, and
he was arraigned in April 2016. (Id. at 2, 3, p. 4).
He has appeared in state court on multiple occasions since
that time. (Id. at ¶¶ 6, 7). According to
the electronic docket in Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin
County Criminal Case Number CP-22-CR-0001401-2016, retrieved
from Pennsylvania's Unified Judicial System,
http://ujsportal.pacourts.us., he has moved to
continue his trial on multiple occasions. Currently, the
trial is scheduled to commence on October 23, 2017.
moves for Habeas Corpus as he has been in the Custody of the
Dauphin County Officials for over 2 years without going to
Trial through no fault of his own as it is the Prosecution
who has not been ready and has violated his rights to a
Speedy Trial as afforded him by P.R.C.P. 600 and entitles
Petitioner to the relief requested.” (Doc. 1, p. 2).
to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, a person in state custody may file
an application for a writ of habeas corpus challenging the
fact or length of his or her confinement. See Preiser v.
Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 494 (1973); Tedford v.
Hepting, 990 F.2d 745, 748 (3d Cir. 1993). However, this
section specifically provides that the person must be in
custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court.
See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). It is apparent from
the instant petition that Petitioner has not yet been tried
or convicted on the criminal charges he faces in Dauphin
County, and, thus, he is not yet in custody pursuant to the
judgment of a state court.
this deficiency, generally, federal courts must adjudicate
all cases and controversies that are properly before them.
New Orleans Pub. Serv., Inc. v. Council of City of New
Orleans, 491 U.S. 350, 358 (1989). Abstention, however,
“is the judicially created doctrine under which a
federal court will decline to exercise its jurisdiction so
that a state court or state agency will have the opportunity
to decide the matters at issue.” Heritage Farms,
Inc. v. Solebury Twp., 671 F.2d 743, 746 (3d Cir. 1982).
In Younger v. Harris, the United States Supreme
Court “established a principle of abstention when
federal adjudication would disrupt an ongoing state criminal
proceeding.” Yang v. Tsui, 416 F.3d 199, 202
(3d Cir. 2005) (discussing Younger, 401 U.S. 37
(1971)). The Younger Court based its decision on the
principles of comity and “the longstanding public
policy against federal court interference with state court
proceedings.” Younger, 401 U.S. at 43.
Younger abstention applies when the following three
requirements are met: “(1) there are ongoing state
proceedings that are judicial in nature; (2) the state
proceedings implicate important state interests; and (3) the
state proceedings afford an adequate opportunity to raise the
federal claims.” Lazaridis v. Wehmer, 591 F.3d
666, 670 (3d Cir. 2010) (quoting Addiction Specialists,
Inc. v. Twp. of Hampton, 411 F.3d 399, 408 (3d Cir.
even when all requirements are met, abstention is not
appropriate when the following extraordinary circumstances
exist: “(1) the state proceedings are being undertaken
in bad faith or for purposes of harassment or (2) some other
extraordinary circumstances exist, such as proceedings
pursuant to a flagrantly unconstitutional statute. . .
.” Schall v. Jovce, 885 F.2d 101, 106 (3d Cir.
1989). These exceptions are to be narrowly construed.
Loftus v. Twp. of Lawrence Park, 764 F.Supp. 354,
357 (W.D. Pa. 1991).
evident from the electronic docket and the petition that
Petitioner is in ongoing criminal proceedings which implicate
important state interests in that he is awaiting trial on
pending criminal charges. (Doc. 1, pp. 1-4; Common Pleas of
Dauphin County Criminal Case Number CP-22-CR-0001401-2016,
http://ujsportal.pacourts.us.). Moreover, his trial
is scheduled for October 23, 2017, which indicates that the
state court process is available to him. Because there is
relief available at the state court level, there is an
absence of extraordinary circumstances that would warrant the
intervention of a federal court on this issue. Thus, out of
deference to the state judicial process, it is appropriate to
abstain from entertaining the petition. Indeed, “[i]n
no area of the law is the need for a federal court to stay
its hand pending completion of state proceedings more evident
than in the case of pending criminal proceedings.”
Evans v. Court of Common Pleas, 959 F.2d 1227, 1234
(3d Cir. 1992).
reasons set forth above, the petition for writ of habeas
corpus will be dismissed.
to 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c), unless a circuit justice or
judge issues a certificate of appealability
(“COA”), an appeal may not be taken from a final
order in a proceeding under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. A COA may
issue only if the applicant has made a substantial showing of
the denial of a constitutional right. 28 U.S.C. §
2253(c)(2). “A petitioner satisfies this standard by
demonstrating that jurists of reason could disagree with the
district court's resolution of his constitutional claims
or that jurists could conclude the issues presented are
adequate to deserve encouragement to proceed further.”
Miller-El v. Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322 (2003).
“When the district court denies a habeas petition on
procedural grounds without reaching the prisoner's
underlying constitutional claim, a COA should issue when the
prisoner shows, at least, that jurists of reason would find
it debatable whether the petition states a valid claim of the
denial of a constitutional right and that jurists of reason
would find it debatable whether the district court was
correct in its procedural ruling.” Slack v.
McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000). Here, jurists of
reason would not find the procedural disposition of this case
debatable. Accordingly, there is no basis for the issuance of
a certificate of appealability.
denial of a certificate of appealability does not prevent
Petitioner from appealing the order dismissing his petition
so long as he seeks, and obtains, a certificate of