United States District Court, D. Montana, Butte Division
ORDER AND FINDINGS and RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED
STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Jeremiah C. Lynch United States Magistrate Judge
case comes before the Court on Petitioner Aleia Brown's
application for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C.
§2254, March 2, 2018. Brown is a state prisoner
proceeding pro se.
was one of a group of petitioners that joined in filing what
they characterized as an “En Masse Petition for Writ of
Habeas Corpus as per 28 U.S.C. § 2254 and Rule 20(a) and
Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.” (Doc.
2). The “en masse” petitioners sought to
challenge the constitutionality of the criminal charging
process utilized against them by the State of Montana.
Id. at 19-33.
and the additional petitioners, were notified that the Court
would not allow them to proceed as a group and that separate
cases would be opened for each. (Doc. 1 at 2-5). Petitioners
were then ordered to respond individually to advise the Court
whether or not they wished to proceed and, if so, petitioners
were directed to each complete the Court's standard
habeas form. Id. at 5-6. Brown did not respond to
this Court's order.
Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis
has moved this Court to be granted in forma pauperis status.
(Doc. 3). Because there is no reason to delay this matter
further, Brown's motion will be GRANTED.
Supplement to Petition
Supplement to his Petition, Brown asks this Court to dismiss
a Sexual Intercourse without Consent conviction out of the
Eighteenth Judicial District, Gallatin County, in Cause No.
DC-16-397B. (Doc. 4 at 1). The argument is premised upon what
Brown believes to be a faulty and unconstitutional state
criminal charging process utilized in felony prosecutions.
Id. Brown contends he was entitled to be
prosecuted either following the empaneling of a grand jury or
a preliminary probable cause hearing. Id.
this Court is not able to provide Brown the relief sought.
Federal district courts, as courts of original jurisdiction,
do not serve as appellate tribunals to review errors
allegedly committed by state courts. MacKay v. Pfeil, 827
F.2d 540, 543 (9th Cir. 1987); see also
Atlantic Coast Line R. Co. v. Brotherhood of Locomotive
Engineers, 398 U.S. 281, 296 (1970)(“lower federal
courts possess no power whatever to sit in direct review of
state court decisions”). It would be entirely
inappropriate for this Court to review and dismiss the state
convictions as suggested by Brown. To the extent that the
Supplement (Doc. 4) is construed as a Motion to Dismiss, the
motion is DENIED.
Exhaustion Brown does not have any past or current state
appellate matters pending, thus, it does not appear that
Brown ever attempted to raise his current claim before the
state courts of Montana. Federal courts may not grant a writ of
habeas corpus brought by an individual in custody pursuant to
a state court judgment unless “the applicant has
exhausted the remedies available in the courts of the
State.” 28 U.S.C. §2254(b)(1)(A). The exhaustion
requirement is grounded in the principles of comity and gives
states the first opportunity to correct alleged violations of
a prisoner's federal rights. Coleman v.
Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 731 (1991).
the exhaustion requirement, a petitioner must (1) use the
“remedies available, ” § 2254(b)(1)(A),
through the state's established procedures for appellate
review, O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838,
845 (1999); (2) describe “the federal legal theory on
which his claim is based, ” Davis v. Silva, 511 F.3d
1005, 1009 (9th Cir. 2008); and (3) describe
“the operative facts . . . necessary to give
application to the constitutional principle upon which the
petitioner relies, ” Id. See also Gray v.
Netherland, 518 U.S. 152, 162-63 (1996) (discussing
Picard v. Connor, 404 U.S. 270 (1971) and Anderson
v. Harless, 459 U.S. 4 (1982)). A petitioner must meet
all three prongs of the test in one proceeding.
the Court is not suggesting that the claim Brown seeks to
advance is cognizable in habeas or meritorious in nature,
assuming it were, it does not relieve Brown of the burden of
first presenting such claim to the state courts. Accordingly,
there are still remedies available under state law. Because
Brown has not yet exhausted his available state court
remedies, this ...