United States District Court, D. Minnesota
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Franklin L. Noel United States Magistrate Judge
matter is before the undersigned United States Magistrate
Judge on petitioner Antwaine Lavale Williams's petition
for a writ of habeas corpus, brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. See ECF No. 1. The petition has been
referred to this Court for a report and recommendation
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and Local Rule 72.1. This
Court has conducted a preliminary review of Williams's
habeas petition under Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section
2254 Cases in the United States District Courts. Based on
that review, this Court recommends dismissal of
Williams's habeas petition without prejudice for failure
to exhaust state remedies.
facts underlying the habeas petition are not crystal clear.
It appears that, due to a previous conviction in state court,
Williams was subject to a custodial arrangement that allowed
him to be released in order to attend work, subject to
certain conditions. Among those conditions included that
Williams not return home and that he abstain from the use of
alcohol. Williams admitted to doing both of these things, and
his “probation” (or, perhaps more accurately, his
permission to leave jail on periodic work release) was
revoked for a period of 30 days.
seeks habeas corpus relief from that probation revocation,
but the legal grounds upon which he seeks such relief, like
the facts underlying the revocation, are also unclear. For
example, Williams alleges that the warrant upon which he was
arrested was “bogus, ” Petition at 5, but he does
not explain with any degree of clarity how that warrant was
deficient or how his seizure may have been in violation of
the Fourth Amendment. Similarly, Williams objects that he was
not “fully aware of [his] constitutional rights,
” id. at 6, but he fails to allege which
specific constitutional rights were not explained to him
during the underlying state-court proceedings.
event, a federal court cannot entertain a habeas corpus
petition filed by a state prisoner unless the prisoner has
exhausted all available state court remedies for all of his
claims. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b) and (c). To
satisfy the exhaustion of state court remedies requirement,
the prisoner must show that all of his federal constitutional
claims have been fairly presented to, and decided on the
merits by, the highest available state court. See
O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838, 845 (1999)
(“Because the exhaustion doctrine is designed to give
the state courts a full and fair opportunity to resolve
federal constitutional claims before those claims are
presented to the federal courts . . . state prisoners must
give the state courts one full opportunity to resolve any
constitutional issues by invoking one complete round of the
State's established appellate review process.”).
This requirement is explained by the United States Supreme
Court as follows:
Before seeking a federal writ of habeas corpus, a state
prisoner must exhaust available state remedies, 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254(b)(1), thereby giving the State the opportunity
to pass upon and correct alleged violations of its
prisoners' federal rights. To provide the State with the
necessary opportunity, the prisoner must fairly present his
claim in each appropriate state court (including a state
supreme court with powers of discretionary review), thereby
alerting that court to the federal nature of the claim.
Baldwin v. Reese, 541 U.S. 27, 29 (2004) (citations
and quotations omitted). “A petitioner meets the fair
presentation requirement if the state court rules on the
merits of his claims, or if he presents his claims in a
manner that entitles him to a ruling on the merits.”
Gentry v. Lansdown, 175 F.3d 1082, 1083 (8th Cir.
matter of the revocation of Williams's probation is
currently pending on direct appeal before the Minnesota Court
of Appeals. Neither that court, nor the Minnesota
Supreme Court, has had any opportunity whatsoever to consider
the claims being raised in Williams's habeas petition.
Until those courts have been fairly presented with his claims
for relief and afforded an opportunity to rule on those
claims, Williams may not pursue his claims in federal court.
Accordingly, this petition should be dismissed without
prejudice as Williams exhausts available state remedies.
two other matters merit further comment. First, having
recommended dismissal of the habeas petition, this Court also
recommends that Williams's applications to proceed in
forma pauperis be denied. See Kruger v.
Erickson, 77 F.3d 1071, 1074 n.3 (8th Cir. 1996).
a habeas corpus petitioner proceeding under § 2254
cannot appeal an adverse ruling on his petition unless he is
granted a certificate of appealability (“COA”).
See 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(1); Fed. R. App. P.
22(b)(1). A COA cannot be granted unless the petitioner
“has made a substantial showing of the denial of a
constitutional right.” 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2). To
make such a showing, “[t]he petitioner must demonstrate
that reasonable jurists would find the district court's
assessment of the constitutional claims debatable or
wrong.” Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484
(2000). In this case, it is highly unlikely that any other
court, including the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, would
treat Williams's current habeas corpus petition
differently than it is being treated here. Williams has not
identified, and this Court cannot discern, anything novel,
noteworthy or worrisome about this case that warrants
appellate review. It is therefore recommended that Williams
should not be granted a COA in this matter.
on the foregoing, and on all of the files, records, and
proceedings herein, IT IS HEREBY RECOMMENDED THAT:
petition for a writ of habeas corpus of petitioner Antwaine
Lavale Williams [ECF No. 1] be DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE
for failure to exhaust state remedied.
applications to proceed in forma pauperis [ECF Nos.