United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
REGINALD A. MORGAN, Petitioner,
LAURENT JAVOIS, Respondent.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. WHITE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court upon the motion of pro se
petitioner Reginald A. Morgan for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis in this civil action, filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. The motion will be granted, and the petition
will be dismissed.
1992, Morgan was charged in Missouri state court with first
degree assault, armed criminal action, and unlawful use of a
weapon for allegedly stabbing a man. In March of 1994, the
Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis entered judgment
acquitting Morgan on the ground of mental disease or defect,
and ordered him committed to the custody of the Department of
Mental Health. The court ordered that Morgan was not to be
released except in accordance with statutory procedures and
court approval. Morgan has been in psychiatric care ever
the years, Morgan has applied to state and federal courts
seeking release on various grounds. In January 2014, he filed
a petition for writ of habeas corpus in this district court.
Morgan v. Javois, Case No. 4:14-cv-150-JMB (E.D. Mo.
Nov. 5, 2015). While that petition was pending, Morgan filed
a state court application for release. The Circuit Court
denied Morgan's application, and he appealed that
judgment to the Missouri Court of Appeals. See In the
Matter of: Reginald Morgan, Case No. ED 102470
(Mo.Ct.App. Apr. 29, 2015). However, because Morgan failed to
comply with Missouri Supreme Court Rules, the Court of
Appeals dismissed his appeal on April 29, 2015. Subsequently,
on November 5, 2015, this United States District Court
dismissed Morgan's petition. The Court wrote, inter alia,
that to the extent Morgan could be understood to assert a
claim under Foucha v. Louisiana, 504 U.S. 71 (1992),
such claim was procedurally barred. Morgan does not assert,
nor does independent research reveal, that he filed any
subsequent applications for conditional or unconditional
release in state court.
instant petition, Morgan asserts a single ground for relief,
challenging the legality of the 1994 state court judgment on
the ground that his attorney was ineffective for entering a
plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.  Specifically, Morgan
My nephew stabbed me three times and I stabbed him once and
my public defender entered a plea of not guilty by reason of
(Docket No. 1 at 5). Morgan includes no allegations that he
has recovered his sanity or that he is no longer ill or
dangerous, nor does he specifically state an intent to
challenge a state court decision denying him conditional or
states that he sought various forms of review on the grounds
that his attorney rendered ineffective assistance and his
plea was unconstitutional. He also claims that he applied for
conditional release on the grounds that the trial court had
no jurisdiction to accept his plea. However, he provides few
details and no dates regarding these prior proceedings.
Attached to the petition are records from Morgan's prior
habeas proceedings in this Court, a September 29, 2014
circuit court order denying him counsel in civil proceedings
concerning an application for conditional release, and an
April 21, 2014 letter from the Supreme Court of the United
States indicating that a petition for writ of certiorari was
denied. (Docket No. 1, Attach. 1 at 1-2).
extent Morgan can be understood to challenge the 1994 state
court judgment, the petition is subject to dismissal because
it is successive. The Antiterrorism and Effective Death
Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA") provides that
"[a] claim presented in a second or successive habeas
corpus application ... shall be dismissed." 28 U.S.C.A
§ 2244(b). The Supreme Court has recognized that this
prohibition does not foreclose a second petition that raises
a claim that was "unripe" at the time of the first
habeas petition. Panetti v. Quarterman, 551 U.S.
930, 943-45 (2007). Here, while it does not appear that
Morgan raised the claim he asserts in ground one in his
earlier habeas proceedings, the claim was ripe and could have
been raised there. Therefore, to the extent Morgan attempts
to raise the claim here, the petition is subject to dismissal
as successive. See 28 U.S.C.A § 2244(b).
petition is also untimely. Section 2254(d)(1) of Title 28
establishes a one-year limitation period on petitions filed
pursuant to § 2254. The state court judgment Morgan
seeks to challenge in the instant petition was rendered in
1994, and Morgan filed the instant petition more than twenty
years later, on June 7, 2017. By any calculation, Morgan filed
the instant petition in excess of the limitation period.
extent that petitioner can be understood to seek conditional
or unconditional release, the petition is subject to
dismissal due to his failure to exhaust his available state
remedies. Title 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1)(A) prohibits a
grant of habeas relief on behalf of a person in state custody
unless that person has "exhausted the remedies available
in the courts of the State." "The exhaustion
requirement of § 2254(b) ensures that the state courts
have the opportunity fully to consider federal-law challenges
to a state custodial judgment before the lower federal courts
may entertain a collateral attack upon that judgment."
Duncan v. Walker,533 U.S. 167, 178-79 (2001). The
exhaustion requirement prevents a federal court from granting
a habeas petition based on a constitutional violation that
could be ...