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Quinones v. Davis

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division

October 4, 2019

LEONIDES QUINONES, JR., ID # 1892457, Petitioner,
v.
LORIE DAVIS, Director, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Correctional Institutions Division, Respondent.

          FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATION

          IRMA CARRILLO RAMIREZ UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE [1]

         Based on the relevant findings and applicable law, this habeas corpus petition should be DISMISSED without prejudice for failure to exhaust state court remedies, and all non-habeas claims should be DISMISSED without prejudice.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Leonides Quinones, Jr. (Petitioner), an inmate currently incarcerated in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Correctional Institutions Division (TDCJ-CID), filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The respondent is Lorie Davis, the Director of TDCJ-CID.

         Petitioner challenges his 2013 conviction for murder and 45-year sentence in Cause Number F-1252873-N in the 195th Judicial District in Dallas, Texas. (See doc. 2 at 2.) He did not file a direct appeal, a petition for discretionary review (PDR), or a state application for writ of habeas corpus. (See Id. at 3.)

         In his federal petition, received on July 16, 2019 Petitioner asserts four grounds:

(1) his attorney was ineffective for refusing to send him a copy of legal instruments concerning his case;
(2) the District Clerk keeps denying his request for transcripts from his case;
(3) the District Attorney has refused to provide legal transcripts; and (4) the trial judge denied him legal instruments.

(See doc. 2 at 6-7.) He seeks a “time cut” as a result.

         II. EXHAUSTION

         A petitioner must fully exhaust state remedies before seeking federal habeas relief. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b). To exhaust in accordance with § 2254, a petitioner must fairly present the factual and legal basis of any claim to the highest available state court for review prior to raising it in federal court. See Deters v. Collins, 985 F.2d 789, 795 (5th Cir.1993); Richardson v. Procunier, 762 F.2d 429, 432 (5th Cir.1985); Carter v. Estelle, 677 F.2d 427, 443 (5th Cir.1982). In Texas, a prisoner must present his claim to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in a PDR or an application for writ of habeas corpus. See Bautista v. McCotter, 793 F.2d 109, 110 (5th Cir.1986); Richardson, 762 F.2d at 432. To exhaust in accordance with § 2254, a petitioner must fairly present all claims to the state courts prior to raising them in federal court. Deters, 985 F.2d at 795.

         A federal district court may raise the lack of exhaustion sua sponte. Shute v. State, 117 F.3d 233, 237 (5th Cir.1997). It is well-settled that federal courts can dismiss without prejudice a federal petition for writ of habeas corpus that contains unexhausted grounds for relief. See Rose v. Lundy, 455 U.S. 509, 510 (1982). As a matter of comity, the state courts must be given a fair opportunity to hear and consider the claims raised by an applicant before those claims are heard in federal court. Picard v. Connor, 404 U.S. 270, 275 (1971).

         Here, Petitioner has not fairly presented his ineffective assistance of counsel claim, or any of his other claims, to the Court of Criminal Appeals. He acknowledges that he did not file a direct appeal, a PDR, or an application for habeas corpus relief in state court. (See doc. 2 at 3-4.) The Court of Criminal Appeals has therefore not had the opportunity to review this claim raised in his federal petition. A ruling from the federal court at this juncture would preempt the state court from performing its proper function. See Rose, 455 U.S. at 518 (the exhaustion requirement is “designed to protect the state courts' role in the enforcement of federal law and ...


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