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Hester v. Ramey

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

October 1, 2019

EDISON HESTER, Petitioner,
v.
EILEEN RAMEY, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          AUDREY G. FLEISSIG, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on review of petitioner Edison Hester's response to the Court's September 24, 2018 order to show cause. (Docket No. 11). The Court had ordered petitioner to show cause why his petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 should not be dismissed for failure to exhaust state remedies. Having reviewed petitioner's response, and for the reasons discussed below, the Court must dismiss this action for lack of exhaustion.

         Background

          On November 5, 2010, petitioner was charged with nine counts of burglary in the second degree, four counts of theft/stealing of $500 or more, two counts of theft/stealing of less than $500, one count of theft of a motor vehicle, one count of property damage in the first degree, and two counts of property damage in the second degree. State v. Hester, No. 1022-CR05232-01 (22ndCir., St. Louis City).[1] Citing concerns about petitioner's fitness to proceed in his criminal case, either pro se or with the assistance of counsel, the circuit court ordered that petitioner undergo a mental evaluation. On May 29, 2014, the circuit court found petitioner permanently incompetent and suspended proceedings. Petitioner did not file a direct appeal from this determination. Furthermore, there is no indication that petitioner has filed any other proceedings in the State of Missouri regarding his confinement.

         Petitioner filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 on May 29, 2018, by placing it in the prison mail system.[2] On September 24, 2018, the Court ordered petitioner to show cause why his petition should not be dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. (Docket No. 11). In doing so, the Court noted that it did not appear that petitioner had applied for either conditional or unconditional release under Mo. Rev. Stat. § 552.040. Petitioner was given twenty-one days in which to show cause why his action should not be dismissed. The Court advised petitioner that failure to comply would result in the dismissal of his action without prejudice.

         Petitioner subsequently filed a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis on appeal. (Docket No. 17). He also sought a certificate of appealability. The Court denied petitioner's request for a certificate of appealability on January 2, 2019. (Docket No. 18). However, the Court granted his motion to proceed in forma pauperis on appeal. (Docket No. 20). Nevertheless, there is no indication that petitioner ever filed an appeal with the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

         On March 4, 2019, petitioner filed an affidavit of criminal complaints and an affidavit of reservation of rights. (Docket No. 22). The Court has construed this document as petitioner's response to the Court's order to show cause.

         Petitioner's Show Cause Response

          Petitioner's response consists of three separate documents, each titled “Verified Criminal Complaint and Affidavit of Facts.” (Docket No. 22 at 2, 6, 10). These affidavits accuse Prosecutor Timothy Boyer, Department of Mental Health Attorney Denise Thomas, and Biggs Unit Director Russel Detrempe of violating his rights because of a mental health detainer that requires him to return to the Fulton State Hospital following the end of his prison sentence. Along with each affidavit is a document titled “Muniment/Droit, ” in which petitioner asserts that the government has been usurped, resulting in him being kidnapped and “held for a ransom.” (Docket No. 22 at 4, 8, 12). Petitioner has also included an “International Proclamation” from the Moorish National Republic. (Docket No. 22 at 16).

         Discussion

          Petitioner has filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenging his commitment to a mental health facility. He was ordered to show cause why his petition should not be summarily dismissed for failure to exhaust his state remedies. Petitioner initially indicated that he was going to file an interlocutory appeal, challenging the Court's earlier determinations. No. appeal was filed. Eventually, petitioner filed a document with the Court that has been construed as his response. For the reasons discussed below, petitioner's response does not demonstrate that he has exhausted his state remedies. Therefore, the petition must be dismissed.

         A. Exhaustion

         “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). See also 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1)(A). The exhaustion requirement:

implicates consideration of…whether the petitioner has exhausted all remedies available in the courts of the state at the time the federal habeas corpus petitions is filed, as well as whether he has preserved his claims for federal habeas corpus review by ...

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