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El Bey v. Dakota County Sheriff's Office

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

February 19, 2019

JUANEL ANTHONY MIKULAK EL BAY, Plaintiff,
v.
DAKOTA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE, TIM LESLIE, and DAKOTA COUNTY JAIL, Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          ELIZABETH COWAN WRIGHT, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Petitioner Juanel Anthony Mikulak El Bay's Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus Under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (Dkt. No. 1 (Petition)) and his Application to Proceed in District Court Without Prepaying Fees or Costs (Dkt. No. 2 (IFP Application)). The Petition is before the Court pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the U.S. District Courts.[1] The Court now recommends dismissal of the Petition (without prejudice).

         El Bay is a pretrial detainee awaiting trial in two matters in Minnesota state court, both set for trial in March 2019. See Register of Actions, State v. Mikulak, No. 19HA-CR-18-2343, available at http://pa.courts.state.mn.us/default.aspx (last accessed Feb. 14, 2019); Register of Actions, State v. Mikulak, No. 19HA-CR-18-2487, available at http://pa.courts.state.mn.us/default.aspx (last accessed Feb. 14, 2019). State pretrial detainees can receive habeas review through § 2241. See, e.g., Eremy v. Ramsey Cty., No. 17-cv-0083 (WMW/KMM), 2017 WL 3432067, at *1 (D. Minn. Apr. 21, 2017), report and recommendation adopted, 2017 WL 3421392 (D. Minn. Aug. 9, 2017). But such detainees can secure relief through § 2241 only if they first try to secure relief through available state court procedures. See, e.g., id. (“[T]hough the statutory language of [28 U.S.C.] § 2241(c)(3) does not contain an exhaustion requirement, in the context of pretrial habeas petitions, ‘federal courts should abstain from the exercise of that jurisdiction if the issues raised in the petition may be resolved either by trial on the merits in the state court or by other state procedures available to the petitioner.'”) (quoting Dickerson v. Louisiana, 816 F.2d 220, 225 (5th Cir. 1987)); Rojas Hernandez v. Paget, No. 16-cv-02537 (DWF/HB), 2016 WL 7404742, at *2 (D. Minn. Nov. 10, 2016) (making same point), report and recommendation adopted, 2016 WL 7404683 (D. Minn. Dec. 21, 2016).[2]

         In this case, Minnesota law has a method for prisoners to challenge the validity of pretrial detention: filing a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in state court. See Minn. Stat. § 589.01-35 (statutory provisions governing state habeas procedures). It appears that El Bay has made no attempt to secure habeas relief in the Minnesota courts. (See generally Dkt. No. 1 (containing no indication of state-court habeas proceedings).) Furthermore, El Bay gives no explanation of why he has not tried to use the state courts to secure habeas relief. (See generally id.) Given these circumstances, the Court will not entertain the merits of El Bay's habeas petition until he has exhausted available state court remedies.

         A § 2241 state court habeas corpus petitioner can appeal his petition's denial only if he is granted a certificate of appealability (“COA”). 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(1); see also Krithers v. Wojciechowski, No. 17-cv-149 (PJS/SER) (citing cases), 2017 WL 4736694, at *5 (D. Minn. Sept. 21, 2017), report and recommendation adopted, 2017 WL 4712200 (D. Minn. Oct. 18, 2017), superseded on unrelated ground, 2017 WL 5891729 (D. Minn. Nov. 28, 2017). “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). Putting aside the merits of any of El Bay's claims, the Court finds it unlikely that any other court, including the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, would find this Court's exhaustion ruling debatable. The Court thus recommends that El Bay not be granted a COA in this matter.

         RECOMMENDATION

         Based on the foregoing, and on all of the files, records, and proceedings herein, IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT:

1. The Petition (Dkt. No. 1) be DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
2. The IFP Application (Dkt. No. 2) be DENIED AS MOOT.
3. This matter be DISMISSED.
4. A certificate of appealability be DENIED.

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Notes:

[1] The Petition is not governed by 28 U.S.C. ยง 2254, but the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases may nevertheless be ...


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