United States District Court, D. New Jersey
BRIAN R. MARTINOTTI UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
MATTER is opened to the Court by pro se
prisoner Curtis Blunt (“Petitioner”), upon the
filing of a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, filed
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (ECF No. 1), an Application
to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (ECF No. 1-3), and a
Motion to Appoint Pro Bono Counsel (ECF No. 2).
Petitioner submits that state proceedings in the New Jersey
Superior Court Appellate Division are pending. (ECF No. 1 at
Nonetheless, he asks this Court to grant relief for a
purported illegal sentence. Notwithstanding, the variation in
format, the substance of Petitioner's claims appears to
be the same as those in his previously filed notice of
removal that was denied by the Court. (See 18-5106,
ECF No. 1). The instant petition appears to be entirely
composed of unexhausted claims that are currently pending in
state court. See Morris v. Horn, 187 F.3d 333, 337
(3d Cir. 1999) (“[Section] 2254 requires federal habeas
petitioners to exhaust state remedies unless there is an
absence of available corrective state process or state
remedies are ineffective.”)
Consequently, this Court will dismiss the petition without
ordering Respondents to file an answer. See Iremashvili
v. Rodriguez, No. 15-6320, 2017 WL 935441, *1 (D.N.J.
Mar. 9, 2017) (“[Habeas] Rule 4 requires a district
court to examine a habeas petition prior to ordering an
answer and if it plainly appears from the petition and any
attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to
relief in the district court, the judge must dismiss the
petition and direct the clerk to notify the
petitioner.” (internal quotations omitted).
Plaintiff filed a Motion to Appoint Pro Bono Counsel that is
denied for the following reasons. (ECF No. 2). The threshold
question when considering such a motion is whether “the
plaintiff's claim [has] some merit in fact and
law.” Parham v. Johnson, 126 F.3d 454, 457 (3d
Cir. 1997) (citation omitted). Petitioner has raised his
indigency, his unfamiliarity with relevant legal principles
and his medical ailments as factors supporting his motion.
Nonetheless, the Court's dismissal of this case for the
reasons already stated in this opinion, obviate the
application of the well-established factors courts usually
consider when deciding motions to appoint pro bono counsel.
See Tabron v. Grace, 6 F.3d 147, 156 (3d Cir. 1993).
Therefore, Plaintiff's Motion to Appoint Pro Bono Counsel
(ECF No. 2), is denied.
Petitioner's application to Proceed In Forma
Pauperis (ECF No. 1-3), is granted.
Finally, this Court must determine whether Petitioner is
entitled to a certificate of appealability in this matter.
See Third Circuit Local Appellate Rule 22.1. The
Court will issue a certificate of appealability if the
petitioner “has made a substantial showing of the
denial of a constitutional right.” 28 U.S.C. §
2253(c)(2). Petitioner has not made a substantial showing of
denial of a constitutional right, and this Court will not
issue a certificate of appealability.
and for good cause appearing, IT IS on this
1st day of February 2019;
that the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus is
DENIED; and it is further
that Petitioner's Application for pro bono Counsel is
DENIED; and it is further
that Petitioner's Application to proceed In Forma
Pauperis is GRANTED; and it is further
that a certificate of appealability shall not issue; and it
that the Clerk of the Court shall close this matter; and it
is finally ORDERED that the Clerk of the
Court shall serve a copy ...