Shukry Messiah, Petitioner-appellant, v. Bakersfield Municipal Court, Respondent-appellee, 65 F.3d 175 (9th Cir. 1995)Annotate this Case
Before: ALARCON, FERNANDEZ, and RYMER, Circuit Judges.
Shukry Messiah appeals pro se the denial of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 or 2241 and his request for a stay of state criminal proceedings under 28 U.S.C. § 2251. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291 and affirm.
"As an exercise of judicial restraint, ... federal courts elect not to entertain habeas corpus challenges to state court proceedings until habeas petitioners have exhausted state avenues for raising [a] federal claim." Carden v. Montana, 626 F.2d 82, 83 (9th Cir.) (a Sec. 2241 petition), cert. denied, 449 U.S. 1014 (1980). Absent special circumstances, such as " 'proven harassment or prosecutions undertaken by state officials in bad faith without hope of obtaining a valid conviction,' " a federal court will not entertain a pre-trial habeas corpus petition. Id. at 84 (quoting Perez v. Ledesma, 401 U.S. 82, 85 (1971)).
Here, Messiah has been charged with misdemeanors in a California Municipal Court. At the time he filed his federal habeas petition he had not been tried. Messiah sought habeas relief because the police did not have probable cause to arrest him; the state court judge issued rulings in his case after he had disqualified himself; his attorney is rendering ineffective assistance of counsel by failing to file suppression motions; and he is being deprived of his right to a speedy trial. Because Messiah can vindicate his federal constitutional claims in the state courts, for example, by filing pre-trial motions or a direct appeal, the district court did not err by declining to entertain his pre-trial habeas petition. See id. (declining to entertain pre-trial habeas petition raising a speedy trial claim). Messiah's assertion that the police officers conspired to arrest him to cover-up their own illegal conduct reduces to a challenge to the legality of his arrest; consequently, this claim can be aired in state court and does not require federal intervention at this time. See id.