United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
Stadtmueller U.S. District Judge.
23, 2017, Scott Richard Hall (“Hall”), who is
currently incarcerated at the Brown County Jail in Green Bay,
Wisconsin, filed this petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2254, asserting that his state court conviction and sentence
were imposed in violation of the Constitution. (Docket
#1).Hall has paid the $5.00 filing fee, and
so the Court now turns to screening his petition pursuant to
Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the
United States District Courts.
entering a plea of nolo contendere, Hall was
convicted in a Florida state court of felony battery in 2013.
(Docket #4 at 2). He was sentenced to time served, one year
of “community control, ” and two years of
probation. Id. He appealed this conviction to
Florida's intermediate appellate court on the ground that
he was provided ineffective assistance of counsel.
Id. at 3. He claims that his appeal failed because
he was forced to proceed without the aid of counsel on
appeal. See Id. He did not continue to press his
appeal to the Florida Supreme Court or seek discretionary
review in the United States Supreme Court. Id. at
claims that he has filed one prior state-level motion for
post-conviction relief. Id. As he puts it, the
motion, filed in April 2016 with the assistance of counsel,
sought termination of his term of probation. Id.
Apparently, Hall argued that his probation should be
terminated because he had completed over one half of his term
of probation and had “completed all of the conditions
of [his] probation.” Id. Hall does not say
whether his motion was granted or denied. See Id. He
reports that his probation term is scheduled to end on June
9, 2016. Id.
explains why he is now in a Wisconsin jail, as opposed to
Florida or anywhere else. Sometime prior to January 2017,
Hall came to Wisconsin to visit his mother while she was ill.
Id. at 8. He offers other, less clear reasons for
leaving Florida, including problems with his probation
officer and that he “fear[ed] for [his] life and
safety” in that state. Id. Hall was arrested
on January 20, 2017 in Vilas County. Id. Hall was
transferred to Brown County on January 23, 2017. Brown
County's prosecutor charged Hall as a fugitive,
presumably from Florida, and an extradition hearing was set.
See State of Wisconsin v. Scott R. Hall, Brown
County Case No. 2017-CF-100, Court Record Events,
available at: https://wcca.wicourts.gov/. It appears
that the extradition proceedings went against Hall, as he
filed a habeas corpus action on April 7, 2017. Id. A
hearing on that issue was held just last week, on June 2,
instant petition, Hall raises several unrelated claims.
First, he asserts that his trial counsel did not file an
appeal in the Florida case as he requested. (Docket #4 at 6).
Second, Hall contends that he was not of sound mind at his
Florida sentencing because he had recently suffered head
trauma. Id. at 7. Third, Hall alleges that his
counsel in the Brown County case provided him ineffective
assistance. Id. at 8. Finally, Hall claims that he
has ongoing serious medical needs that are not being properly
treated by the Brown County Jail. Id. at 9.
of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United
States District Courts authorizes a district court to conduct
an initial screening of habeas corpus petitions and to
dismiss a petition summarily where “it plainly appears
from the face of the petition. . .that the petitioner is not
entitled to relief.” This rule provides the district
court the power to dismiss both those petitions that do not
state a claim upon which relief may be granted and those
petitions that are factually frivolous. See Small v.
Endicott, 998 F.2d 411, 414 (7th Cir. 1993). Upon an
initial Rule 4 review of habeas petitions, the Court will
analyze whether the petitioner has avoided statute of
limitations bars, exhausted available state remedies, avoided
procedural default, and set forth cognizable constitutional
or federal law claims.
initial matter, the Court will dispose of Plaintiff's
final claim, which is that he needs better medical care at
the Brown County Jail. Such a claim is not a challenge to his
conviction or sentence and is therefore not the proper
subject of habeas relief. Glaus v. Anderson, 408
F.3d 382, 387 (7th Cir. 2005); Williams v.
Wisconsin, 336 F.3d 576, 579 (7th Cir. 2003). If Hall
believes he has a viable claim for violation of his
constitutional right to medical care, he must raise it in a
separate action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
For now, the claim must be dismissed from this habeas
Court will next consider the timeliness of Hall's
petition. A state prisoner in custody pursuant to a state
court judgment has one year from the date “the judgment
became final” to seek federal habeas relief. 28 U.S.C.
§ 2244(d)(1)(A). A judgment becomes final within the
meaning of § 2244(d)(1)(A) when all direct appeals in
the state courts are concluded followed by either the
completion or denial of certiorari proceedings in the U.S.
Supreme Court, or if certiorari is not sought, at the
expiration of the ninety days allowed for filing for
certiorari. See Ray v. Clements, 700 F.3d 993, 1003
(7th Cir. 2012).
it appears Hall's petition is untimely as to the Florida
proceedings. According to the information provided in his
petition, Hall was sentenced in June 2013, and his conviction
became final after the time for continuing his direct appeal
to the Florida Supreme Court, or seeking certiorari in the
U.S. Supreme Court, expired. While Hall does not provide the
date that he filed his appeal or when the Florida Court of
Appeals decided it, the Court must assume that, despite busy
dockets across the country, the appeal was decided well
before the year May 2016. Assuming that is true, Hall's
petition would be untimely.
worth noting that although Hall claims to have filed a motion
for post-conviction relief, his description of it shows that
it was not, by any stretch of the imagination, a collateral
attack on his conviction or sentence. Instead, it was a
request for early termination of his probation. Such a
request did not implicate any of the claims Hall asserts here
regarding ineffective assistance of counsel, his mental
condition, or his medical issues. Nor could it be construed
as an attack on the fact or duration of his sentence, at
least not for the reasons permissible in a habeas petition.
See Glaus, 408 at 387; Williams, 336 F.3d
at 579. Thus, his motion did not toll the one-year statute of
limitations for habeas petitions under Section 2254. 28
U.S.C. § 2244(d)(2). This, in turn, bolsters the
Court's conclusion that the petition here is untimely.
even if one assumes that any ground of Hall's petition is
timely presented, the entire petition must nevertheless be
dismissed because Hall has undoubtedly failed to exhaust his
state remedies. A district court may not address the merits
of the constitutional claims raised in a federal habeas
petition “unless the state courts have had a full and
fair opportunity to review them.” Farrell v.
Lane, 939 F.2d 409, 410 (7th Cir. 1991). Accordingly, a
state prisoner is required to exhaust the remedies available
in state court before a district court will consider the
merits of a federal habeas petition. 28 U.S.C. §
2254(b)(1)(A); Dressler v. McCaughtry, 238 F.3d 908,
912 (7th Cir. 2001) (if petitioner “either failed to
exhaust all available state remedies or raise all claims
before the state courts, his petition must be denied without
considering its merits”). A petitioner exhausts his
constitutional claim when he presents it to the highest state
court for a ruling on the merits. Lieberman v.
Thomas, 505 F.3d 665, 669 (7th Cir. 2007) (citing
Picard v. Connor, 404 U.S. 270, 275 (1971));
Perruquet v. Briley, 390 F.3d 505, 513 (7th Cir.
2004). Once the state's highest court has had a full and
fair opportunity to pass upon the merits of the claim, a
prisoner is not required to present it again to the state
courts. Humphrey v. Cady, 405 U.S. 504, 516 n.18
Hall has not exhausted his state court remedies as to any of
the claims he advances in his petition. First, Hall did not
pursue his direct appeal past Florida's intermediate
appellate court. His ineffective-assistance argument was,
therefore, never heard in Florida's highest court.
Second, with respect to his 2016 motion to terminate his
probation, this is not properly characterized as a motion for
post-conviction relief, as it did not allege that his
conviction and sentence were unlawful, only that equitable
considerations supported shortening his probation term.
Moreover, he never appealed whatever order was ultimately
entered on that motion, again depriving the Florida Supreme
Court of an opportunity to weigh in on Hall's request.
Finally, Hall's Brown County case is ongoing, and so he
has clearly failed to exhaust his state court remedies in the
context of a Section 2254 action.
not clear whether Hall should be considered a “pretrial
detainee” as to the Brown County action. If he were,
the Court might generously construe Hall's complaints
about the Brown County action as a Section 2241 action.
“Section 2241 allows a pretrial detainee to bring a
habeas corpus petition, but this ability is limited by the
policy of federal courts not to interfere with pending state
criminal prosecutions[.]” Graf v. Clarke, No.
14-CV-1205, 2014 WL 5361309, at *1 (E.D. Wis. Oct. 20, 2014)
(collecting cases). Like Section 2254 actions, “[t]o be
eligible for habeas corpus relief under § 2241, a
federal pretrial detainee must first exhaust other available
remedies.” Alden v. Kellerman, 224 F.
App'x 545, 547 (7th Cir. 2007); see also Jones v.
Perkins, 245 U.S. 390, 391-92 (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, 550-51 (1905) (vacating order granting habeas
relief when pretrial detainees filed habeas petitions before
“invok[ing] the action of the Circuit Court upon the
sufficiency of the ...