United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
REGINALD A. MORGAN, Petitioner,
LAURENT JAVOIS, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
A. ROSS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on petitioner Reginald A.
Morgan's petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Docket No. 1). For the reasons
discussed below, the Court will direct petitioner to show
cause why his petition should not be dismissed as untimely
and for failure to exhaust his state remedies.
February 22, 1992, petitioner was found not guilty by reason
of insanity on the charges of first-degree assault, unlawful
use of a weapon, and armed criminal action. (Docket No. 1 at
1). He is civilly committed at the St. Louis Psychiatric
Rehabilitation Center in St. Louis, Missouri. He seeks
release from confinement on the grounds that the "public
defender entered a not guilty plea due [to] my nephew being
stabbed by me after he stabbed me 3 times." (Docket No.
1 at 4).
the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
(AEDPA), Congress established a one-year statute of
limitations period for petitioners seeking federal habeas
relief from state court judgments. Finch v. Miller,
491 F.3d 424, 426 (8th Cir. 2007). This one-year
statute of limitations begins to run on the latest of four
alternative dates. Jihad v. Hvass, 267 F.3d 803, 804
(8th Cir. 2001). Relevant here is the provision
stating that a habeas petitioner has one year from the date
his judgment becomes final to file his federal petition for
writ of habeas corpus. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(A).
extent that petitioner is challenging the original 1992 order
committing him to the custody of the Department of Mental
Health, his petition appears time-barred. Petitioner states
that he appealed his commitment to the United States Supreme
Court and the Missouri Court of Appeals. He does not,
however, provide any case citations or dates for these
appellate proceedings, and the Court is unable to find record
of them on Missouri Case.net, the online docketing system for
Missouri courts. Regardless of whether petitioner filed
appeals from his original commitment or not, over twenty-six
years have elapsed since the commitment order, and it is
highly unlikely that petitioner is still within the one-year
allows civilly committed persons to apply for conditional
release on a yearly basis. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 552.040.13.
Thus, it is possible that petitioner may be timely if he is
challenging a recent conditional release hearing. However,
the Court has been unable to find any record of a recently
filed case challenging his commitment. Petitioner must
demonstrate that he has recently challenged his commitment,
such that he is within the one-year statute of limitations
petitioner has also not demonstrated that he has exhausted
his state remedies. "It is elementary that a § 2254
petitioner must exhaust available state remedies before he is
entitled to relief in federal court." White v.
Wyrick, 651 F.2d 597, 598 (8th Cir. 1981).
This provides the state an "opportunity to pass upon and
correct alleged violations of its prisoners' federal
rights." Baldwin v. Reese, 541 U.S. 27, 29
(2004). To exhaust state remedies, a petitioner must fairly
present his claim in each appropriate state court. Nash
v. Russell, 807 F.3d 892, 898 (8th Cir.
2015). This requires him to submit not only the facts, but
also the substance of his federal habeas claim to the state
court. Abdulla v. Groose, 75 F.3d 408, 411
(8th Cir. 1996). Specifically, in order "to
satisfy the 'fairly presented' requirement, a
petitioner is required to refer to a specific federal
constitutional right, a particular constitutional provision,
a federal constitutional case, or a state case raising a
pertinent federal constitutional issue." Barret v.
Acevedo, 169 F.3d 1155, 1161-62 (8th Cir.
noted above, the Court was unable to find any recent case in
which petitioner has challenged his commitment in state
court. Petitioner must first demonstrate that he has
exhausted his state remedies before filing a federal habeas
petition. Therefore, the Court will order petitioner to show
cause why his petition should not be summarily dismissed.
See Rule 4 of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases
in the United States District Courts. Petitioner must state
whether he is challenging the 1992 order committing him to
the custody of the Department of Mental Health or whether he
is challenging the denial of conditional release. If
petitioner is challenging the denial of conditional release,
he must name the court where the hearing took place, as well
as the case number, and whether he appealed from the court
decision, and provide the court with the case number of the
appeal. Furthermore, petitioner must articulate the facts
that he believes entitle him to conditional relief. Failure
to comply with this order will result in the dismissal of
to Proceed in Forma Pauperis
has filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. (Docket No.
2). Having reviewed the motion and the financial information
submitted in support, the Court finds that petitioner is
unable to pay the filing fee. As such, the motion will be
for Appointment of Counsel
has filed a motion for appointment of counsel. (Docket No.
5). As petitioner is being directed to show cause why his
case should not be dismissed, the ...