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Campbell v. Erfe

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

September 14, 2016

ROBERT CAMPBELL, Petitioner,
v.
SCOTT ERFE, et al., Respondents.

          RULING ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS

          Alvin W. Thompson United States District Judge.

         The petitioner, Robert Campbell, is confined at Cheshire Correctional Institution. He brings this action pro se for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenging his May 2016 convictions for possession of narcotics with intent to sell. For the reasons that follow, the petition is dismissed.

         I. Procedural Background

         On October 24, 2014, New Britain police officers arrested the petitioner on possession of narcotics charges. See Pet. Writ Habeas Corpus, Ex. C, Doc. No. 1-5 at 2. On December 18, 2015, a jury in Connecticut Superior Court for the Judicial District of New Britain found the petitioner guilty of one count of possession with intent to sell and one count of possession with intent to sell within 1500 feet of a school. See id., Doc. No. 1 at 2; State v. Campbell, Docket No. H15N-CR14-0275324-S (Conn. Super. Ct. Dec. 18, 2015).[1] On May 6, 2016, a judge sentenced the petitioner to twelve years of imprisonment followed by five years of special parole on the first count and three years of imprisonment on the second count. See id.

         The petitioner claims that he filed a sentence review application that remains pending. He has not yet filed an appeal of his conviction. See Pet. Writ Habeas Corpus, Doc. No. 1 at 3.

         II. Legal Standard

         A prerequisite to habeas corpus relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 is the exhaustion of available state remedies. See O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838, 842 (1999); 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1)(A). The exhaustion requirement seeks to promote considerations of comity between the federal and state judicial systems. See Coleman v. Thompson; 501 U.S. 722, 731 (1991).

         To satisfy the exhaustion requirement, a petitioner must present the essential factual and legal bases of his federal claim to each appropriate state court, including the highest state court capable of reviewing it, in order to give state courts a full and fair “opportunity to pass upon and correct alleged violations of its prisoners' federal rights.” Duncan v. Henry, 513 U.S. 364, 365 (1995) (per curiam) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). A federal claim has been “fairly present[ed] in each appropriate state court, including a state supreme court with powers of discretionary review, ” if it “alert[s] that court to the federal nature of the claim.” Baldwin v. Reese, 541 U.S. 27, 29 (2004) (internal parentheses and quotation marks omitted). A petitioner “does not fairly present a claim to a state court if that court must read beyond a petition or a brief . . . that does not alert it to the presence of a federal claim in order to find material . . . that does so.” Id. at 32.

         Failure to exhaust may be excused only where “there is no opportunity to obtain redress in state court or if the corrective process is so clearly deficient to render futile any effort to obtain relief.” Duckworth v. Serrano, 454 U.S. 1, 3 (1981) (per curiam). A petitioner cannot, however, simply wait until appellate remedies no longer are available and argue that the claim is exhausted. See Galdamez v. Keane, 394 F.3d 68, 73-74 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 544 U.S. 1025 (2005).

         III. Discussion

         The petitioner raises four grounds for relief. See Pet. Writ of Habeas Corpus at 9, 11, 13 and 15. He states that he did not exhaust his remedies as to any claim because the state court in which he was convicted “dishonored commercial agreements and federal and constitutional violations.” See Id. This explanation does not suggest that there are no available opportunities to obtain relief in state court or that the available remedies would be ineffective to protect the petitioner's rights. See 28 U.S.C. 2254(b)(1)(B). Nor does the explanation constitute a viable excuse relieving the petitioner from exhausting his remedies in state court. Because the petitioner has not exhausted his available state court remedies as to any claim, the petition is being dismissed without prejudice.

         IV. Conclusion

         The Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus [Doc. No. 1] is hereby DISMISSED without prejudice for failure to exhaust state court remedies.[2] The petitioner may re-file his federal habeas petition after he has exhausted his state court remedies.[3]

         The court concludes that jurists of reason would not find it debatable that petitioner failed to exhaust his state court remedies with respect to the grounds in the petition. Thus, a certificate of appealability will not issue. See Slack v. McDaniel,529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000) (holding that, when the district court denies a habeas petition on procedural grounds, a certificate of appealability ...


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