United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
MALACHY E. MANNION UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Kelvin Lamont McLean, a pre-trial detainee presently confined
in the Dauphin County Prison, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, filed
the instant petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to
28 U.S.C. §2254. (Doc. 1). He challenges his pre-trial
detention. Id. For the following reasons, the Court
will dismiss the petition for lack of jurisdiction.
about November 26, 2018, McLean was charged with statutory
sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor, and corruption
of minors. See Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Kelvin
December 18, 2018, McLean's charges were bound over by
the Magistrate District Justice to the Dauphin County Court
of Common Pleas, and he is currently awaiting trial, which is
scheduled for December 2, 2019. Id.
April 18, 2019, Petitioner filed the above captioned petition
for writ of habeas corpus. (Doc. 1). He claims that
“the evidence presented did not establish probable
cause to believe that Petitioner committed a crime,
therefore, holding Petition in custody in violation of his
right to be free from unreasonable seizure of the person as
guaranteed by the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments and
Article 1, and 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution.”
judgment against a petitioner in state criminal proceedings
has not yet been entered and a petitioner files an
application for a writ of habeas corpus while in pretrial
detention, jurisdiction for federal habeas review arises
under 28 U.S.C. §2241, not 28 U.S.C. §2254 because
§2254 requires that the petitioner be “in custody
pursuant to the judgment of a State court”. Under 28
U.S.C. §2241(c)(3), the writ of habeas corpus may extend
to a prisoner in pretrial detention if “[h]e is in
custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties
of the United States.” While federal courts have
jurisdiction to issue a writ of habeas corpus before a
judgment is entered in a state criminal proceeding pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. §2241, see e.g. Moore v. DeYoung,
515 F.2d 437, 443 (3d Cir.1975), in the pre-trial setting,
“federal habeas corpus does not lie, absent
‘special circumstances' to adjudicate the merits of
an affirmative defense to a state criminal charge prior to a
judgment of conviction by a state court.” Braden v.
30th Judicial Circuit Court of Ky., 410 U.S. 484, 489
(1973). Disfavor of pre-trial intervention in state criminal
proceedings is based on the notion of comity, “a
principle of deference and ‘proper respect' for
state governmental functions in our federal system.”
Evans v. Court of Common Pleas, Del. Cnty., Pa., 959
F.2d 1227, 1234 (3d Cir. 1992) (citing Younger v.
Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 44 (1971)).
the district court has jurisdiction pursuant to §2241 to
issue a writ of habeas corpus before judgment is entered in
state criminal proceedings, “that jurisdiction without
exhaustion should not be exercised at the pre-trial stage
unless extraordinary circumstances are present.”
Moore, 515 F.2d at 443, 447 (internal citations
omitted) (declining to decide the boundaries of
“extraordinary circumstances” sufficient to
warrant pre-trial interference). In the absence of
extraordinary circumstances “where petitioner seeks to
litigate the merits of a constitutional defense to a state
criminal charge, the district court should exercise its
‘pre-trial' habeas jurisdiction only if petitioner
makes a special showing of the need for such adjudication and
has exhausted state remedies.” Id. at 443
(internal citations omitted).
§2241 does not contain the same statutory exhaustion
language as §2254, courts have read the same exhaustion
requirement to apply to suits brought under §2241.
Moore, 515 F.2d at 442 (“although there is a
distinction in the statutory language of §§2254 and
2241, there is no distinction insofar as the exhaustion
requirement is concerned”); see also Callwood v.
Enos, 230 F.3d 627, 634 (3d Cir. 2000); Evans,
959 F.2d at 1230. Exhaustion requires that the state courts
be given the opportunity to correct any errors before the
federal court reviews a claim. O'Sullivan v.
Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838, 845 (1999); Rose v.
Lundy, 455 U.S. 509, 518-19 (1982). To that extent, a
petitioner must invoke “one complete round of the
state's established appellate review process” in
order to exhaust his remedies. O'Sullivan, 526
U.S. at 845. The claim brought in federal court must be the
substantial equivalent of that previously presented in state
court. Evans, 959 F.2d at 1231 (other citations
a showing of bad faith or an intent to harass, federal courts
should decline requests to enjoin state criminal
prosecutions, ‘particularly when the moving party has
an adequate remedy' in state court. Gonzalez v.
Waterfront Comm'n of New York Harbor, 755 F.3d 176,
180 (3d Cir. 2014) (citing Younger v. Harris, 401
U.S. 37, 43 (1971)). The court therefore should not issue a
writ of habeas corpus without exhaustion at the pre-trial
stage unless extraordinary circumstances are present.
Moore, 515 F.2d at 443.
case, McLean has not exhausted his state-court remedies: he
has not yet had a trial at which he presented his
constitutional arguments, nor has he presented those
arguments on direct appeal from a conviction. McLean has also
not made a special showing as to why habeas corpus relief is
appropriate in this case. His petition does not indicate any
reason as to why this court should consider his
constitutional arguments before the state court has had an
adequate opportunity to do so. Furthermore, there are no
extraordinary circumstances present in this case. McLean will
have an adequate opportunity to present his constitutional
claims at his trial, and, should it reach that stage, on
appeal from a conviction. Pretrial habeas corpus relief is
thus inappropriate in this case.
McLean has adequate remedies available to him in his pending
criminal case, he is not entitled to habeas relief, and the