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Maurice James Peace, Ii v. San Joaquin County

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


April 29, 2011

MAURICE JAMES PEACE, II,
PETITIONER,
v.
SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY, RESPONDENT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Craig M. Kellison United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER

Petitioner, a state pretrial detainee proceeding pro se, brings this petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner has consented to Magistrate Judge jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and no other party has been served or appeared in the action.

Rule 4 of the Federal Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases provides for summary dismissal of a habeas petition "[i]f it plainly appears from the face of the petition and any exhibits annexed to it that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court." In the instant case, it is plain that petitioner is not entitled to federal habeas relief. Petitioner is a pretrial detainee being held at the San Joaquin County Jail. He claims he was falsely arrested and wrongfully charged with a crime.

This court may "entertain an application for a writ of habeas corpus in behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State Court only on the ground that he is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). Principles of comity and federalism require that this court abstain and not entertain Petitioner's pre-conviction habeas challenge unless he shows that: (1) he has exhausted available state judicial remedies, and (2) "special circumstances" warrant federal intervention. See Carden v. Montana, 626 F.2d 82, 83-84 (9th Cir.1980). Only in cases of proven harassment or prosecutions undertaken by state officials in bad faith without hope of obtaining a valid conviction and perhaps in other special circumstances where irreparable injury can be shown is federal injunctive relief against pending state prosecutions appropriate. See id. at 84 (citing Perez v. Ledesma, 401 U.S. 82, 85 (1971)).

In his petition, Petitioner makes no such showing of "special circumstances" warranting federal intervention before the trial is held and any appeal is completed. See id. Although he claims he has been wrongfully accused, and that he has been harassed and falsely arrested by a Tracy Police Officer, Officer Sierra, the reports petitioner attaches to his petition indicate several other officers were involved in the investigation of the alleged crime and his arrest. These reports also include witness statements which implicate petitioner's involvement in the alleged crime. While other witness statements, in petitioner's opinion, fail to corroborate each other, that is an issue best left to the trial court. Thus, there is no sufficient showing of harassment or bad faith on the facts submitted in the petition. In addition, petitioner makes it clear that he has not even attempted to exhaust his state court remedies as to any of his claims.

Based on the foregoing, petitioner is required to show cause in writing, within 30 days of the date of this order, why his petition for a writ of habeas corpus should not be summarily dismissed, without prejudice. Petitioner is warned that failure to respond to this order may result in dismissal of the petition for the reasons outlined above, as well as for failure to prosecute and comply with court rules and orders. See Local Rule 110. If petitioner agrees that this action should be dismissed without prejudice to renewal following exhaustion of his claims in state court, he should file a request for voluntary dismissal pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1).

Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that petitioner shall show cause in writing, within 30 days of the date of this order, why his petition for a writ of habeas corpus should not be summarily dismissed.

20110429

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