United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah
MEMORANDUM OPINION ORDER
B. Russell, Senior Judge.
matter is before the Court upon a Motion to Hold Petition in
Abeyance filed by Petitioner, Zayer Antonio Adams. (R. 17).
The Respondent's time to respond has long since lapsed.
Accordingly, this matter is ripe for adjudication. For the
reasons discussed below, the Court HEREBY GRANTS Adams's
Motion to Hold Petition in Abeyance, (R. 17).
Antonio Adams is an African-American man convicted in the
Commonwealth of Kentucky by a Christian County jury of
assault, evading police, and unlawful imprisonment. That jury
had only one African-American on it.
August 6, 2018, Adams filed with this court a writ of habeas
corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Adams raised only
one issue in that petition-based on 2010 census data, the
jury that convicted him was not drawn from a fair cross
section of the of the community as required by the Sixth
Amendment. Adams has fully exhausted his state remedies
concerning that issue.
September 24, the Court referred the matter to Magistrate
Judge Lanny King for report and recommendation. On October 1,
2018, Adams moved to hold his petition in abeyance pending
exhaustion of additional claims not included in his petition.
On October 31, 2018, Magistrate Judge King denied Adams's
motion to hold his petition in abeyance because Adams had
failed to provide evidence that he was indeed pursuing those
additional claims in state court. Three months later, Adams
had still not provided the Court with evidence that he had
begun the exhaustion process for any additional claims.
Consequently, at that time, Magistrate Judge King issued a
Finding of Fact Conclusions of Law and Recommendation in
which he recommended to this Court that Adams's petition,
containing only the one issue of whether the jury was drawn
from a fair cross section of the community, be denied.
days later, on January 25, 2019, Adams renewed his motion to
hold his petition in abeyance so that he could exhaust
additional claims in state court not yet included in his
habeas petition. This time, Adams attached to his motion a
copy of a state court docket and his own affidavit indicating
that he had filed additional claims with the state court. The
Respondent has failed to respond to that motion.
requests that the Court hold his habeas petition, which
contains only a single exhausted claim, in abeyance while he
returns to the state courts to exhaust additional claims not
yet included in that petition.
well settled law that federal district courts may stay fully
exhausted habeas petitions while the petitioner exhausts
additional claims in the state courts. See Andrews v. Horton,
No. 4:18-CV-12686, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166147, at *2-3
(E.D. Mich. Sep. 27, 2018) (compiling authority). In doing
so, the Court must consider the apparent merit of the
unexhausted claims and whether the Court would benefit from a
state-court ruling on the unexhausted claims. Thomas v.
89 F.Supp.3d 937, 943 (E.D. Mich. 2015) (citing Rhines v.
Weber, 544 U.S. 269, 125 S.Ct. 1528, 161 L.Ed.2d 440 (2005).
the Court is not in a position to evaluate Adams's
additional unexhausted claims. As such, the this Court would
benefit from the state court's ruling on Adams's
additional claims. Furthermore, denying Adams an abeyance and
ruling on his petition as it sits before the Court might
preclude the consideration of Adams's additional claims
in federal court based upon the expiration of the one-year
statute of limitations contained in the Antiterrorism and
Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA). See 28 U.S.C. §
2244(d)(1). Such circumstances warrant an abeyance. See
Hargrove v. Brigano, 300 F.3d 717, 720-21 (6th Cir. 2002). As
such, the Court determines that a stay is appropriate pending
the exhaustion of Adams's additional claims.
“even where a district court determines that a stay is
appropriate pending exhaustion, the district court
‘should place reasonable time limits on a
petitioner's trip to state court and back.' Horton,
U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166147, at *5 (quoting Rhines v. Weber, 544
U.S. 269, 278, 125 ...