United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
EDWARD AUTREY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Cruz Howell's petition
for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Rule 4
of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases in the United States
District Courts provides that a district court shall
summarily dismiss a habeas petition if it plainly appears
that the petitioner is not entitled to relief. Rule 4 also
applies to habeas petitions arising under 28 U.S.C. §
2241. See Rule l(b) of the Rules Governing §
2254 Cases (stating that the “district court may apply
any or all of these rules to a habeas corpus petition not
covered by Rule l(a)”). For the reasons discussed
below, the Court shall summarily dismiss the petition here.
is a Missouri state pretrial detainee, presently incarcerated
at the St. Louis County Justice Center. According to a review
of Missouri Case.net, Missouri's online case management
system, petitioner has been charged with two counts of
domestic assault in the second degree. State of Missouri
v. Howell, No. 18SL-CR05526-01 (21st Judicial Cir., St.
Louis County). Petitioner's state court case is currently
scheduled for trial on September 9, 2019.
6, 2019, petitioner initiated this case by filing a document
with the “United States District and Bankruptcy
Courts” for the District of Columbia entitled
“Motion for Writ of Habeas Corpus, ” which
requests relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. ECF No. 1. This
document is handwritten and not on a Court-provided form. In
the motion, petitioner states that he has a right to a speedy
trial pursuant to the Sixth Amendment, and that if the state
cannot provide him a trial “per [the] 180 day rule, all
charges against the accused must be dismissed with
prejudice.” Id. at 1. He further claims that
the state is attempting to violate his right to a speedy
trial by setting a trial beyond the 180-day time
limit. As the state cannot provide him with a
speedy trial, he asserts that his case must be dismissed.
review of the Court's docketing system reveals that
petitioner filed three other § 2241 cases in this Court,
making the same allegations and seeking the same relief.
See Howell v. Childrey, 4:19-CV-90-JMB
(“Motion for Writ of Habeas Corpus” filed January
18, 2019, seeking relief under § 2241 for alleged
violations of Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial)
(dismissed Feb. 11, 2019); Howell v. Childrey,
4:19-CV-174-JMB (“Motion for Writ of Habeas
Corpus” filed February 4, 2019, seeking relief under
§ 2241 for alleged violations of Sixth Amendment right
to a speedy trial) (dismissed Mar. 14, 2019); and Howell
v. Childrey, 4:19-CV-936-HEA (same) (dismissed Jul. 9,
2019). All three of the previously filed § 2241
petitions were dismissed pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules
Governing § 2254 Cases, after the Court analyzed the
allegations of the petitions and found that the petitioner
was not entitled to relief. See Howell v. Childrey,
4:19-CV-90-JMB, ECF Nos. 5 & 6; Howell v.
Childrey, 4:19-CV-174-JMB, ECF Nos. 8 & 9;
Howell v. Childrey, 4:19-CV-936-HEA, ECF Nos. 10 and
11. As of the date of this order, none of the dismissals has
been appealed by petitioner.
in the prior cases, here the Court finds that the petition is
subject to dismissal on two grounds. First, the petition here
is duplicative of other petitions filed in this same court
that have already been decided on the merits. Second, the
petition is a second or successive habeas petition that has
not been certified by the Court of Appeals. See also
Sweeny v. U.S. Parole Comm'n, 197 F.Supp.3d 78,
80-82 (D.D.C. 2016) (dismissing § 2241 petition as both
duplicative and a second or successive petition).
Supreme Court “has consistently relied on the equitable
nature of habeas corpus to preclude application of strict
rules of res judicata.” Schlup v. Delo, 513
U.S. 298, 319 (1995). However, the Court has identified a
general policy that duplicative litigation in federal courts
should be avoided. See Colo. River Water Conservation
Dist. v. U.S., 424 U.S. 800, 817 (1976) (“As
between federal district courts … though no precise
rule has evolved, the general principle is to avoid
duplicative litigation.”). The petitions filed by
petitioner in his three prior § 2241 cases are identical
to the petition filed in this case in all relevant matters.
All three petitions contain the same title, seek the same
relief under the same statute, and (absent a few immaterial
missing words or spelling differences) contain identical
wording in the five-paragraph argument. See I.A. Durbin,
Inc. v. Jefferson Nat'l Bank, 793 F.2d 1541, 1551
(11th Cir. 1986) (general rule for determining duplicative
litigation is whether parties, issues, and available relief
do not significantly differ between two actions). The Eighth
Circuit has held that dismissal of duplicative litigation is
appropriate to avoid the “unnecessary expenditure of
scarce federal judicial resources” and
“jurisprudential concerns.” Missouri ex rel.
Nixon v. Prudential Health Care Plan, Inc., 259 F.3d
949, 954 (8th Cir. 2001). The petition in this case is
clearly duplicative of the petitions dismissed on the merits
in petitioner's three prior § 2241 cases in this
Court, and is therefore subject to dismissal.
addition, under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(a), district courts are
not required to consider an application for writ of habeas
corpus where it appears that the legality of petitioner's
detention has already been determined by a judge or court of
the United States on a prior application for a writ of habeas
corpus. Section 2244(a)'s prohibition on the filing of
second or successive petitions applies to habeas petitions
filed under § 2241 if the issues therein were, or could
have been, decided in a previous federal habeas action.
See, e.g., Shabazz v. Keating, 242 F.3d 390, 392
(10th Cir. 2000) (unpublished) (stating that § 2244(a)
means that “we are not required to entertain a §
2241 petition if the legality of the detention has been
determined by a prior application”); Antonelli v.
Warden, U.S.P. Atlanta, 542 F.3d 1348, 1352 (11th Cir.
2008) (same); see also Phelps v. U.S. Federal
Government, 15 F.3d 735, 737-38 (8th Cir. 1994)
(affirming district court's application of pre-AEDPA
version of § 2244 to find an abuse of the writ in a
successive § 2241 petition). The exception to the second
or successive petition prohibition is when an applicant has
received authorization for his second petition from the court
of appeals. See also Burton v. Stewart, 549 U.S.
147, 152 (2007) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)(A))
(“a prisoner ‘shall move in the appropriate court
of appeals for an order authorizing the district court to
consider the application.'”). Petitioner must
obtain leave from the United States Court of Appeals for the
Eighth Circuit before he can bring this second or successive
habeas petition in this Court. 28 U.S.C. §
2244(b)(3)(A). Because there is no indication that petitioner
has obtained permission from the Court of Appeals to maintain
the instant application in this Court, the Court lacks
authority to grant petitioner the relief he seeks.
reasons discussed above, it plainly appears that petitioner
is not entitled to relief on his § 2241 petition.
Therefore, the petition will be summarily dismissed.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that petitioner's
motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is
GRANTED. [ECF No. 2]
IS FURTHER ORDERED that petitioner's application
for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241
is DISMISSED without prejudice. A separate
Order of Dismissal will accompany this Memorandum and Order.
[ECF No. 1]
IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Court will not issue a