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Jaquez v. Oklahoma County

United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma

January 14, 2019

RUDY JAQUEZ, Petitioner,
v.
OKLAHOMA COUNTY and OKLAHOMA COUNTY SHERIFF DEPARTMENT, Respondents.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          SUZANNE MITCHELL UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. Habeas petition.

         Petitioner, a pre-trial detainee who appears pro se, seeks a writ of habeas corpus, alleging that he is “awaiting trail” in the District Court of Oklahoma County, No. CF-18-1553, and claiming that he “can't get an full and fair hearing.” Doc. 1, at 1.[1] As relief from this Court, Petitioner asks to “receive an full and fair hearing under Brady vs Maryland, tords exculpatory evidence.” Id. at 2.

         The undersigned Magistrate Judge[2] has examined the petition as directed by Rule 4, Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts, and, for the following reasons, recommends that the court abstain from intervening in an ongoing criminal proceeding brought by the State of Oklahoma.[3]

         II. Analysis.

         A. State court proceedings.

         Judicial notice is taken of the publicly-available electronic records of the State of Oklahoma.[4] Those records reflect that on April 12, 2018, the State of Oklahoma charged Petitioner in the District Court of Oklahoma County, Case No. CF-2018-1553, with Assault and Battery upon a Police or Other Law Enforcement Officer. See http://www.oscn.net/dockets/GetCaseInformation. aspx?db=oklahomaνmber=CF-2018-1553&cmid=3645569. The matter is set for jury trial on January 28, 2019. See id.

         B. Younger abstention doctrine.

         In Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 43 (1971), the Supreme Court determined that federal court abstention is required when three conditions are met: (1) there are ongoing state proceedings; (2) the state proceedings provide an adequate forum to hear Petitioner's federal claims; and (3) the state proceedings implicate important state interests. Chapman v. Oklahoma, 472 F.3d 747, 749 (10th Cir. 2006). The doctrine “dictates that federal courts not interfere with state court proceedings . . . when such relief could adequately be sought before the state court.” Rienhardt v. Kelly, 164 F.3d 1296, 1302 (10th Cir. 1999).

         In this matter, Petitioner's claims unquestionably relate to an ongoing state criminal proceeding so the first condition is met.

         As to the second inquiry-whether Petitioner's federal claims can be heard in state proceedings-the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals “may entertain . . . certain extraordinary writs which arise out of criminal matters.” Rule 10.1(A), Rules of the Okla. Ct. Crim. App., Title 22, Ch. 18, App. (2018). And notably, Petitioner-prior to filing the instant application for federal habeas relief-sought mandamus relief from the OCCA claiming, as he now does before this Court, that the state trial court had denied him “a full and fair hearing under Brady vs Maryland . . . .” See Petitioner's Amended Writ of Mandamus, at 1, http://www.oscn.net/dockets/GetCaseInformation.aspx? db=appellateνmber=MA-2018-1042&cmid=125020. Although the OCCA declined jurisdiction and dismissed the matter on November 20, 2018, see Order Declining Jurisdiction, at 3, http://www.oscn.net/dockets/GetCase Information.aspx?db=appellateνmber=MA-2018-1042&cmid=125020, it did so because Petitioner had failed to give notice to the adverse party and not on the merits of his claims. See Id. Furthermore, should Plaintiff be convicted, he may raise his federal constitutional claims on direct appeal and by application for post-conviction relief. See Okla. Stat. tit. §§ 1051, 1080.

         Finally, because the State of Oklahoma necessarily has an important interest in prosecuting crimes that have allegedly occurred within its jurisdiction, the third Younger condition is satisfied.

         There are only narrow exceptions to Younger abstention. Specifically, “federal injunctive relief against pending state prosecutions [is] appropriate only in cases of proven harassment or prosecutions undertaken by state officials in bad faith without hope of obtaining a valid conviction and perhaps in other extraordinary circumstances where irreparable injury can be shown . . . .” Perez v. Ledesma, 401 U.S. 82, 85 (1971).

         Plaintiff's pleadings in this case do not implicate an exception to Younger abstention-he does not allege that the State's prosecution was undertaken in bad faith ...


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