United States District Court, D. New Jersey
McNULTY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
petitioner, Marcellus Mitchell, is a pretrial detainee lodged
at the Passaic County Jail. He is proceeding pro se
with a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2241. For the following reasons, this Court
will summarily dismiss the habeas petition without prejudice.
STANDARD OF REVIEW: SCREENING
respect to screening the petition, 28 U.S.C. § 2243
provides in relevant part:
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
28 U.S.C. § 2243. As petitioner is proceeding pro
se, his petition is held to less stringent standards
than those pleadings drafted by lawyers. See Rainey v.
Vomer, 603 F.3d 189, 198 (3d Cir. 2010) ("It is the
policy of the courts to give a liberal construction to pro se
habeas petitions.") (internal quotation marks and
citation omitted); United States v. Otero, 502 F.3d
331, 334 (3d Cir. 2007) ("we construe pro se pleadings
liberally.") (citing Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S.
519, 520, 92 S .Ct. 594, 30 L.Ed.2d 652 (1972)).
Nevertheless, "a district court is authorized to dismiss
a [habeas] petition summarily when it plainly appears from
the face of the petition and any exhibits annexed to it that
the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district
court[.]" Lonchar v. Thomas, 517 U.S. 314, 320
Mitchell names the following as respondents in this action:
(1) Richard H. Berdwik - Sheriff; (2) Michael Tolerico -
Warden Passaic County Jail; (3) Judge Ronald D. Wigler; and
(4) Carolyn A. Murray - Prosecutor. The sole proper
respondent in this § 2241 action is the custodian,
i.e., the warden of the institution where Mr.
Mitchell is being held, Mr. Tolerico. See Rumsfeld v.
Padilla, 542 U.S. 426, 434-35 (2004). Therefore, the
habeas petition will be dismissed with prejudice as to
respondents Berdwik, Wigler and Murray.
Mitchell brings three claims in his habeas petition as a
pretrial detainee. First, he claims that the state criminal
litigation against him is vexatious because it lacks legal
merit and is not founded on probable cause. More
specifically, he attacks an identification of himself and
claims that the prosecutor knew that there was no eyewitness
placing him at the crime scene. Second, Mr. Mitchell asserts
that there has been an inordinate delay by the state in
processing his claims, most notably his claim challenging the
suggestiveness and credibility of the evidence. Finally, Mr.
Mitchell claims that the prosecutor has acted in bad faith by
fabricating evidence against him.
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has
stated the required elements to obtain pretrial habeas relief
(1) federal courts have "pre-trial" habeas corpus
(2) that jurisdiction without exhaustion should not be
exercised at the pre-trial stage unless extraordinary
circumstances are present[; and]
(3) where there are no extraordinary circumstances and where
petitioner seeks to litigate the merits of a constitutional
defense to a state criminal charge, the district court should
exercise its "pretrial" habeas jurisdiction only if
petitioner makes a special showing of the ...