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. His hand-written
petition is titled “Motion for Writ of Habeas
Corpus” and seeks relief under § 2241 for alleged
violations of the Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial. A
review of the Court's docketing system reveals that
petitioner has filed multiple nearly identical § 2241
cases, based on the same allegations. See Howell v.
Childrey, 4:19-CV-90-JMB (filed January 18, 2019, and
dismissed Feb. 11, 2019); Howell v. Childrey,
4:19-CV-174-JMB (filed February 4, 2019, and dismissed Mar.
14, 2019); Howell v. Childrey, 4:19-CV-936-HEA
(filed April 17, 2019, and dismissed July 9, 2019);
Howell v. Doyle, 4:19-CV-1397-JMB (filed May 20,
2019, motion to withdraw petition granted, and case dismissed
June 19, 2019); Howell v. St. Louis County, MO,
4:19-CV-2008-JMB (filed June 6, 2019, in the District of
Columbia, transferred into this Court on July 16, 2019, and
dismissed July 24, 2019); Howell v. St. Louis County,
MO, 4:19-CV-2009-JMB (filed June 6, 2019, in the
District of Columbia, transferred into this Court on July 16,
2019, and dismissed July 24, 2019).
first two § 2241 cases 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.
Following those dismissals on the merits, three of
petitioner's § 2241 cases were dismissed as both
duplicative and second or successive petitions not certified
by the Court of Appeals. See Howell v. Childrey,
4:19-CV-936-HEA, ECF Nos. 10 & 11; Howell v. St.
Louis County, MO, 4:19-CV-2008-JMB, ECF Nos. 6 & 7;
Howell v. St. Louis County, MO, 4:19-CV-2009-JMB,
ECF Nos. 6 & 7. As of the date of this order, none of
these dismissals have been appealed by petitioner.
in the prior cases, the Court finds that the petition here is
subject to dismissal on two grounds. First, the petition is
duplicative of other petitions filed 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 prior § 2241 cases are identical to
the petition filed in this case in all relevant matters. All
the 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 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 [ECF
No. 2] is GRANTED.
IS FURTHER ORDERED that petitioner's application
for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241
[ECF No. 1] is DISMISSED without prejudice.
A separate Order of Dismissal will accompany this Memorandum
IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Court will not issue a