United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
E. CONRAD SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Josey Ray Edwards, a state detainee proceeding pro
se, has filed this petition for a writ of habeas corpus,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, claiming that he is being
denied his constitutional right to a speedy trial. Upon
review of the record, the court concludes that the petition
must be summarily dismissed without prejudice for failure to
exhaust state court remedies.
to state court records available online, Edwards has criminal
charges pending against him in the Lynchburg Circuit Court.
He alleges that he and his attorney were prepared for a jury
trial on August 28, 2019. At the start of the proceeding, the
Commonwealth's Attorney testified that although he had
submitted paperwork to schedule a jury trial, the clerk had
scheduled a bench trial instead. The trial judge advised
Edwards that he could choose to proceed with a bench trial on
August 28, 2019, or wait until a jury trial could be
scheduled. Edwards demanded “a jury trial within [his]
speedy trial time.” Pet. 7, ECF No. 1. Instead, the
state court scheduled his jury trial for December 30, 2019,
nine months after the offense conduct. In this § 2241
petition, Edwards asks this court to order that the charges
against him be dismissed, based on the violation of his
constitutional right to a speedy trial.
federal habeas petitioner who is “in custody
pursuant to the judgment of a State court” may seek
relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254(a). A pretrial detainee, like Edwards, is not
“in custody” pursuant to a state court judgment,
so § 2254 relief is unavailable. See Dickerson v.
Louisiana, 816 F.2d 220 (5th Cir. 1987).
Rather, a pre-trial detainee's exclusive federal remedy
for alleged unconstitutional confinement is to file a
petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. §
2241(c)(3), but only after fully exhausting the available
state remedies. See 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3);
Thomas v. Crosby, 371 F.3d 782, 786 (11th Cir. 2004)
(section 2241 applies to individuals placed in state
. . . . Although section 2241 contains no express reference
to exhaustion of state remedies, as does section 2254, courts
have held that exhaustion is necessary prior to filing a
section 2241 petition. See e.g., Braden v. 30th
Jud. Cir., 410 U.S. 484, 490-491 (1973); Moore v.
DeYoung, 515 F.2d 437, 442-43 (3d Cir. 1975). To satisfy
the exhaustion requirement, a habeas petitioner must present
his claims to the state courts such that the courts have the
fair “opportunity to apply controlling legal principles
to the facts bearing upon [his] constitutional claim.”
Picard v. Connor, 404 U.S. 270, 275-77 (1971);
see O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838 845
(1999) (in order to properly exhaust state remedies,
“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
Ballenger v. Crawford, No. 3:15-CV-09126, 2018 WL
1971018, at *1 (S.D. W.Va. Apr. 5, 2018), report and
recommendation adopted, No. CV 3:15-9126, 2018 WL
1953024 (S.D. W.Va. Apr. 24, 2018). In Moore, the
court concluded that the federal court should dismiss the
detainee's § 2241 petition raising a pre-trial claim
of denial of a speedy trial, because the claim could be
raised at trial and on direct appeal in the state courts.
Hence, the petitioner had not exhausted available state court
remedies. 515 F.2d at 443.
states on the face of his § 2241 petition that he has
not filed any other court action or petition regarding his
speedy trial claim, and state court records online verify
this statement. Edwards clearly has available state court
remedies, however. He can present the issue to the trial
court before the trial date and appeal any adverse decision.
He may also be able to pursue the claim in a petition for a
writ of habeas corpus in the trial court, with an appeal of
an adverse decision to the Supreme Court of Virginia.
See Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-654(A)(1);
id. § 17.1-406(B), In the alternative, he may
file a state habeas petition directly with the
Supreme Court of Virginia. Va. Code Ann. §
8.01-654(A)(1). Whichever route Edwards follows in exhausting
state court habeas remedies, he must ultimately
present his claims to the Supreme Court of
Virginia and receive a ruling from that court before
a federal district court can consider them in a
federal petition. Because he has not yet exhausted state
court remedies, this court will summarily dismiss this §
2241 petition without prejudice. An appropriate order shall
be issued this day.
Clerk is directed to send copies of this memorandum opinion