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Cravins v. Glass

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

November 3, 2017

KAREN R. CRAVINS, Petitioner,
v.
DALE GLASS, Respondent.

          OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          HENRY EDWARD AUTREY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is petitioner's application for writ of habeas corpus brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. After review of the application for writ of habeas corpus, the Court will deny and dismiss this action.

         Background

         On June 6, 2016, a grand jury indicted petitioner in Missouri State Court on one count of felony forgery. Missouri v. Cravins, No. 1722-CR1415-01 (City of St. Louis). The Court found petitioner to be a prior and persistent offender based on two prior convictions for stealing: one in 1985 and the other in 1990, both in St. Louis City Court.

         Petitioner filed the instant action on October 30, 2017, asserting that her rights had been violated upon issuance of her arrest warrant on June 6, 2017, by Missouri state court Judge Michael F. Stelzer. Petitioner claims that the warrant was not based on probable cause, and that she has been detained in St. Louis City Medium Security Institution (“MSI”) without an arraignment for seven (7) months.

         Petitioner further claims that she has been subjected to double jeopardy “on stealing, ” because she believes that the 1990 charge for forgery was set aside on a motion to vacate, brought pursuant to Rule 29.15.

         Last, petitioner asserts that she is not receiving effective assistance of counsel in her criminal case in state court. Petitioner seeks immediate release from custody.

         The Court has reviewed petitioner's criminal case docket on Missouri.Case.Net and found that petitioner is represented in her state criminal case by a Missouri Public Defender. See Missouri v. Cravins, No. 1722-CR1415-01 (City of St. Louis).

         Discussion

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3), the federal courts have jurisdiction over pretrial habeas petitions. Neville v. Cavanagh, 611 F.2d 673, 675 (7th Cir.1979). “Despite the existence of jurisdiction, however, federal courts are reluctant to grant pretrial habeas relief." Id. Only when “special circumstances" exist will a federal court find that a pretrial detainee has exhausted state remedies. Id. “In most cases courts will not consider claims that can be raised at trial and in subsequent state proceeding." Blanck v. Waukesha County, 48 F.Supp.2d 859, 860 (D. Wis. 1999).

         Courts have found that “special circumstances" existed where double jeopardy was at issue or where a speedy trial claim was raised. Braden v. 30th Judicial Circuit Court, 410 U.S. 484, 488 (1973) (speedy trial); Blanck, 48 F.Supp.2d at 860 (double jeopardy). However, a petition must contain enough facts to state a claim as a matter of law and must not be merely conclusory. Frey v. City of Herculaneum, 44 F.3d 667, 671 (8th Cir. 1995).

         However, in these circumstances, the grounds raised by petitioner do not constitute the “special circumstances" required for a finding that she has exhausted her available state remedies.[1] Petitioner first argues that the double jeopardy clause prohibits the use of prior convictions to enhance her charge on the Indictment as a “prior and persistent offender.”[2]Petitioner misunderstands the double jeopardy clause. The double jeopardy clause protects a criminal defendant from multiple punishments for the same offense. See Missouri v. Hunter, 459 U.S. 359, 366 (1983).

         Missouri courts have consistently found that enhancement of a criminal defendant's sentence with prior convictions “‘does not constitute a separate offense or punishment, but a single culmination of a single accusation and adjudication of guilt.'” Berry v. State, 714 S.W.2d 676, 678 (Mo.Ct. App. 1986) quoting State v. Quick, 639 S.W.2d 880, 884 (Mo.Ct.App. 1982); See also Layton v. State of S.D., 918 F.2d 739, 743 (8th Cir.1990) (application of both habitual offender statute and statute permitting doubling of sentence if defendant is in prison did not violate double jeopardy). The double jeopardy clause is not implicated where a criminal defendant is not punished more than once for an offense, but rather only the severity of his sentence is determined.

         Moreover, petitioner's allegations are conclusory and do not contain any facts, which if proved, would demonstrate that she was held without an arraignment. In fact, a review of Mo.Case.Net shows that petitioner was arraigned through video proceedings in front of Associate Circuit Judge Timothy James Boyer on August 9, 2017. Missouri v. Cravins, No. 1722-CR1415-01 (City of St. ...


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