Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of Pennsylvania (D.C. Civil No. 2-18-cv-00902)
District Judge: Honorable R. Barclay Surrick
for Possible Dismissal Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B) or Summary Action Pursuant to Third Circuit LAR
27.4 and I.O.P. 10.6
Before: CHAGARES, GREENAWAY, JR., and FUENTES, Circuit Judges
FUENTES. CIRCUIT JUDGE.
appellant Troy Reese appeals the District Court's order
dismissing his petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Reese,
who is awaiting criminal trial in federal court, raised
claims challenging the evidence supporting the charges
against him, the conduct of the law-enforcement officers who
arrested and interrogated him, and the District Court's
refusal to release him pending trial. As we have previously
stated, a detainee's challenge to the conduct of law
enforcement officers in connection with his arrest or the
validity of the charges against him must be addressed in an
appropriate pretrial motion. See Government of Virgin
Islands v. Bolones, 427 F.2d 1135, 1136 (3d Cir. 1970)
(per curiam). We write to address a novel question in our
Court: may a federal detainee challenge his pretrial
detention via a § 2241 habeas petition? We join the two
other Circuits to have addressed this issue and conclude that
a federal detainee's request for release pending trial
can only be considered under the Bail Reform Act and not
under a § 2241 petition for habeas relief. See
Fassler v. United States, 858 F.2d 1016, 1017-19 (5th
Cir. 1988) (per curiam); United States v. Pipito,
861 F.2d 1006, 1009 (7th Cir. 1987).
events leading to this appeal began in December 2017, when
Reese was charged in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
with one count of using a facility and means of interstate or
foreign commerce to attempt to induce, entice, or coerce a
minor into engaging in sexual activity in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 2422(b). See E.D. Pa. Cr. A. No.
17-cr-0631. Reese was arrested, and the Government filed a
motion for pretrial detention. The Government argued that
there was probable cause to believe that Reese had committed
the charged offense, which created a rebuttable presumption
in favor of detention, see 18 U.S.C. §
3142(e)(3)(E), and that other factors, including Reese's
criminal record and the length of the sentence he faced,
further militated in favor of detention. A Magistrate Judge
granted the Government's motion.
February 2018, Reese filed the § 2241 petition at issue
in this appeal. In this petition, he claimed that the
criminal charge was baseless, that the police had violated
his constitutional rights in the course of arresting and
interrogating him, and that he was entitled to be released
pending trial. This filing was docketed separately from the
criminal action, see E.D. Pa. Civ. A. No.
18-cv-00902, but assigned to the same District Judge.
March 2018, Reese, through counsel, filed a motion for
pretrial release in the criminal case. The District Court
held a hearing and denied the motion, concluding that the
evidence against Reese was "overwhelming," that
Reese had numerous prior criminal convictions, that Reese had
previously violated conditions of bail, and that Reese lacked
ties to the community. Reese appealed that order. That appeal
is pending at C.A. No. 18-1748.
denying Reese's request for release in the criminal
action, the District Court dismissed the § 2241
petition, and Reese instituted the appeal now before the
jurisdiction over this appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1291, and we exercise plenary review over the District
Court's legal conclusions. See Cradle v. United
States ex rel. Miner, 290 F.3d 536, 538 (3d Cir. 2002)
(per curiam). Because Reese is a federal prisoner appealing
the dismissal of a § 2241 petition, he need not obtain a
certificate of appealability to proceed. See United
States v. Cepero, 224 F.3d 256, 264-65 (3d Cir. 2000)
(en banc), abrogated on other grounds by Gonzalez v.
Thaler, 565 U.S. 134 (2012).
2241 confers on district courts the authority to entertain
applications for a writ of habeas corpus filed by prisoners
claiming to be "in custody in violation of the
Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States."
§ 2241(c)(3). Nevertheless, "a habeas court is
'not bound in every case' to issue the writ."
Munaf v. Geren, 553 U.S. 674, 693 (2008) (quoting
Ex parte Royall, 117 U.S. 241, 251 (1886)). Thus,
even in cases where the habeas court has the authority to
grant relief, it must consider "whether this be a case
in which that power ought to be exercised." Id.
(alteration omitted) (quoting Ex parte Watkins, 28
U.S. (3 Pet.) 193, 201 (1830)); see also Timms v.
Johns, 627 F.3d 525, 530-31 (4th Cir. 2010) (discussing
prudential concerns that may counsel against using habeas
have consistently refused to exercise their habeas authority
in cases where federal prisoners have sought relief before
standing trial. Instead, Courts have long stressed that
defendants should pursue the remedies available within the
criminal action. See, e.g., Jones v.
Perkins, 245 U.S. 390, 391 (1918) ("It is well
settled that in the absence of exceptional circumstances in
criminal cases the regular judicial procedure should be
followed and habeas corpus should not be granted in advance
of a trial."); Riggins v. United States, 199
U.S. 547, 551 (1905) (vacating order granting habeas relief
to federal pretrial detainees because there was "nothing
in this record to disclose that there were any special
circumstances which justified a departure from the regular
course of judicial procedure" of pretrial motions and,
if necessary, appeal); see also Medina v. Choate,
875 F.3d 1025, 1029 (10th Cir. 2017) (adopting "the
general rule that § 2241 is not a proper avenue of
relief for federal prisoners awaiting federal
requests for pretrial relief through the criminal action
encourages an orderly, efficient resolution of the issues,
maintains respect for the appellate process, and prevents
duplication of judicial work and judge-shopping. See
United States v. Addonizio, 442 U.S. 178, 184 n.10
(1979) (explaining that "the writ of habeas corpus
should not do service for an appeal," and that
"[t]his rule must be strictly observed if orderly
appellate procedure is to be maintained" (quoting
Adams v. United States ex rel. McCann, 317 U.S. 269,
274 (1942)); see also Medina, 875 F.3d at 1028-29
(identifying similar interests).
relied on this rationale in Government of Virgin Islands
v. Bolones, 427 F.2d 1135 (3d Cir. 1970) (per curiam),
to affirm the District Court's denial of pretrial habeas
petitions filed by federal defendants. We rejected the
defendants' challenges to their arrest and interrogation
on the ground that a pretrial motion in the criminal case,
"rather than their petition for writs of habeas corpus,
provides the appropriate avenue of relief before trial."
Id. at 1136. We similarly held that the
defendants' claim that they had been denied a speedy
trial should be resolved "on an appropriate pretrial
motion." Id. Accordingly, insofar as Reese
sought to challenge the charges against him or the conduct of