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Morales v. State

December 14, 2007

EDDIE A. MORALES, PETITIONER,
v.
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hillman, District Judge

OPINION

This matter is before the Court on petitioner Eddie A. Morales' petition for habeas corpus relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. For the reasons set forth below, the petition will be dismissed without prejudice.

I. BACKGROUND

According to the allegations contained in the petition, petitioner, Eddie A. Morales ("Morales"), is presently confined at the Camden County Correctional Facility in Camden, New Jersey, awaiting adjudication of state criminal charges against him. (Petition at ¶¶ 2, 3, 7 and 9). Morales has been charged with several counts of drug-related offenses and resisting arrest. (Petition at ¶ 5). He alleges that he was coerced by the Camden County Public Defender to plead "guilty" on two of the three indictments against him. He admits that there has been no trial, or sentencing, and that he has not appealed any judgment of conviction or sentence at this time. He claims that he has requested discovery and was not provided anything. Morales also alleges that he was denied a prompt judicial determination of probable cause and was denied a speedy trial and due process.

In addition to the federal constitutional claims, Morales further asserts that his incarceration violates international law under the "International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights," the "Convention Against Torture," the "International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination," and the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights." (Petition, ¶ 13C, Ground C).

It appears from the petition that Morales may be seeking his release from confinement before any adjudication of guilt or sentencing based on his claims that he has been denied due process and a speedy trial.

II. ANALYSIS

A. Standards for Sua Sponte Dismissal

United States Code Title 28, Section 2243 provides in relevant part as follows:

A court, justice or judge entertaining an application for a writ of habeas corpus shall forthwith award the writ or issue an order directing the respondent to show cause why the writ should not be granted, unless it appears from the application that the applicant or person detained is not entitled thereto.

Morales brings his habeas petition as a pro se litigant. A pro se pleading is held to less stringent standards than more formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). A pro se habeas petition and any supporting submissions must be construed liberally and with a measure of tolerance. See Royce v. Hahn, 151 F.3d 116, 118 (3d Cir. 1998); Lewis v. Attorney General, 878 F.2d 714, 721-22 (3d Cir. 1989); United States v. Brierley, 414 F.2d 552, 555 (3d Cir. 1969), cert. denied, 399 U.S. 912 (1970). Nevertheless, a federal district court can dismiss a habeas petition if it appears from the face of the application that the petitioner is not entitled to relief. See Lonchar v. Thomas, 517 U.S. 314, 320 (1996); Siers v. Ryan, 773 F.2d 37, 45 (3d Cir. 1985), cert. denied, 490 U.S. 1025 (1989).

B. Jurisdiction

Jurisdiction to issue a writ of habeas corpus before a judgment of conviction is rendered in a state criminal proceeding lies under 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3). See Braden v. 30th Judicial Circuit Court of Kentucky, 410 U.S. 484 (1973); Moore v. DeYoung, 515 F.2d 437, 442, 443 (3d Cir. 1975). To invoke habeas corpus review under § 2241, the petitioner must satisfy two jurisdictional requirements: (1) the status requirement that the person be "in custody," and (2) the substance requirement that the petition challenge the legality of that custody on the ground that it is "in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3); see also Maleng v. Cook, 490 U.S. 488, 490 (1989); 1 James S. Liebman & Randy Hertz, Federal Habeas Corpus Practice and Procedure ยง 8.1 (4th ed. 2001). Although Morales may be sufficiently "in custody" at this time to attack the New Jersey ...


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