United States District Court, D. Minnesota
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
E. Rau U.S. Magistrate Judge
Canada, a prisoner of the Minnesota Department of
Corrections, filed for habeas corpus relief pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2254 alleging that he is going to be
incarcerated for longer than necessary based on his potential
status of homelessness upon release [ECF No.
This matter is before the Court pursuant to Rule 4 of the
Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United states
District Courts. Based on that review pursuant to Rule 4,
this Court concludes that Canada has not exhausted his claims
about his release date in the Minnesota state courts and that
his petition should therefore be dismissed without prejudice.
federal district court may entertain a state prisoner's
application for a writ of habeas corpus only when the
petitioner has exhausted the state court remedies. 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254(b)(1); O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526
U.S. 838, 842 (1999). The exhaustion requirement has been
summarized as follows:
Before seeking a federal writ of habeas corpus, a state
prisoner must exhaust available state remedies, 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 claims 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) (internal
citations and quotation marks omitted). To exhaust state
court remedies, a petitioner must fairly present his
constitutional claims to the highest available state court
before seeking relief in federal court.
O'Sullivan, 526 U.S. at 845. Claims are
considered fairly presented “if the state court rules
on the merits of [a petitioner's] claims, or if [the
petitioner] 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. 1999). Thus, a
claim has not been fairly presented if a state appellate
court expressly declines to address it on the merits because
the petitioner violated state procedural rules. Hall v.
Delo, 41 F.3d 1248, 1250 (8th Cir. 1994).
petition contains claims that have not been fairly presented,
a court must determine whether state procedural rules would
allow hearing on the merits. McCall v. Benson, 114
F.3d 754, 757 (8th Cir. 1997). Generally, “[w]hen a
state court remedy is available for a state prisoner's
unexhausted claim, the federal habeas court must defer action
until the claim is exhausted, either by dismissing the
federal petition without prejudice or by using the
‘stay and abeyance' procedure described in
Rhines v. Weber, [544 U.S. 269] . . . (2005).”
Armstrong v. Iowa, 418 F.3d 924, 926 (8th Cir.
however, the state's procedural rules preclude a hearing
on the merits, the petitioner's claims are procedurally
defaulted and no federal habeas review of that claim is
possible. McCall, 114 F.3d at 757. Thus, when a
petitioner has not exhausted the state court remedies for a
claim and state procedural rules preclude any further
attempts to satisfy the exhaustion requirement as to that
claim, then the claim is not truly unexhausted; rather, the
claim is procedurally defaulted. See Id. If a state
prisoner presented a federal claim to a state court but the
claim is procedurally improper, the claim is also
procedurally defaulted. See Coleman v. Thompson, 501
U.S. 722, 732 (1991).
federal court may not review a procedurally defaulted claim
on its merits unless a petitioner “can demonstrate
cause for the default and actual prejudice as a result of the
alleged violation of federal law, or demonstrate that failure
to consider the claims will result in a fundamental
miscarriage of justice.” Id. at 750.
Canada's habeas claims have not been exhausted in state
Minnesota Department of Corrections (“DOC”) has a
procedure for inmates to appeal issues with supervised or
intensive supervised release. It is described at length in
Marlowe v. Fabian, 2011 WL 2728281, *1, *1-2 (D.
Minn. 2011). The exact details of the release review process
need not be recited here to demonstrate that Canada has not
exhausted them, because he openly admits in his petition that
he has not brought this issue to state court, opting instead
to come “straight to federal courts”. [ECF No. 1
at 12]. This bare admission is sufficient for the Court to
determine that he has not adequately exhausted state or
administrative remedies, and thus does not qualify for
Section 2254 relief. Canada does not argue that the state has
insufficient remedies, that he has been unable to access
them, or that a miscarriage of justice would result if this
Court required him to pursue exhaustion. Thus, it will be
recommended that his petition be dismissed without prejudice
for failure to exhaust state remedies. The dismissal is
without prejudice because there is no indication that time
has run out for Canada to exhaust state remedies, he simply
has not tried.
Canada has filed numerous accompanying motions and documents:
to proceed in forma pauperis [ECF No. 2]; to stand
trial [ECF No. 4]; to restructure special conditions [ECF No.
6]; to add defendants and restructure conditions [ECF No.
10]; and, for a jury trial and immediate release [ECF No.
13]. It is hereby recommended that all these motions be
denied as moot in light of the recommendation that the
petition be dismissed.
Certificate of Appealability
appealing a final ruling on a federal habeas petition, a
state prisoner must be granted a certificate of appealability
(“COA”). 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(1)(A); Fed. R.
App. P. 22(b)(1). The Court cannot grant such a certificate
unless “the applicant has made a substantial showing of
the denial of a constitutional right.” 28 U.S.C. §
2253(c)(2). The applicant must show that the issues to be
raised on appeal are “debatable among reasonable
jurists, ” that different courts “could resolve