United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
ORDER AND MEMORANDUM ON RESPONDENT'S MOTION TO
DISMISS PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS (DOCKET NO.
TIMOTHY S. HILLMAN DISTRICT JUDGE
Arthur Burnham filed a pro se petition for habeas corpus
pursuant to the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act
(AEDPA), 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Docket No. 1). The petition
is verbose, disorganized, rambling, and at times incoherent.
Petitioner challenges his confinement at Worcester County
Sheriff's Office for a number of reasons including
objections about his right to counsel, motion practice in his
state criminal proceedings, his own civil litigation, and the
venue of his trial. Respondent, Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis,
moves to dismiss on the grounds that Petitioner fails to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted. For the
reasons stated below, Respondent's motion (Docket No. 9)
defendant may move to dismiss, based solely on the complaint,
for the plaintiff's “failure to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). To
survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a complaint must
allege “a plausible entitlement to relief.”
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 559
(2007). Although detailed factual allegations are not
necessary to survive a motion to dismiss, the standard
“requires more than labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do.” Id. at 555. “The relevant
inquiry focuses on the reasonableness of the inference of
liability that the plaintiff is asking the court to draw from
the facts alleged in the complaint.”
Ocasio-Hernandez v. Fortuno-Burset, 640 F.3d 1, 13
(1st Cir. 2011).
evaluating a motion to dismiss, the court must accept all
factual allegations in the complaint as true and draw all
reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor.
Langadinos v. American Airlines, Inc., 199 F.3d 68,
68 (1st Cir. 2000). It is a “context-specific
task” to determine “whether a complaint states a
plausible claim for relief, ” one that “requires
the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and
common sense.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 679 (2009) (internal citations omitted). “[W]here
the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more
than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has
alleged-but it has not ‘show[n]'-that the pleader
is entitled to relief.” Id. (quoting
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). On the other hand, a court may not
disregard properly pled factual allegations, “even if
it strikes a savvy judge that actual proof of those facts is
improbable.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556.
Plaintiff appears pro se, we construe his pleadings more
favorably than we would those drafted by an attorney. See
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007).
Nevertheless, Plaintiff's pro se status does not excuse
him from complying with procedural and substantive law.
See Ahmed v. Rosenblatt, 118 F.3d 886, 890 (1st Cir.
the beginning of this country's history Congress has,
subject to few exceptions, manifested a desire to permit
state courts to try state cases free from interference from
federal courts.” Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S.
37, 43 (1971). Thus, “a federal court must abstain if
(1) there is an ongoing state judicial proceeding involving
the federal plaintiff that (2) implicates important state
interests and (3) provides an adequate opportunity for the
federal plaintiff to assert his claims.” Colonial
Life & Accidental Ins. Co. v. Medley, 572 F.3d 22,
26 (1st Cir. 2009). Here, there is an ongoing state judicial
proceeding in the Worcester Superior Court. Additionally, the
proceeding implicates important state interests as Petitioner
has been charged with numerous felonies including
Secreting/Throwing/Launching/Placing Explosives in violation
of Mass. Gen. Laws c. 268, § 102A. Finally, Petitioner
has adequate opportunity to raise his federal claims in the
addition, federal courts may only enjoin state criminal
actions “under extraordinary circumstances where the
danger of irreparable loss is both great and
immediate.” Younger, 401 U.S. at 45.
Petitioner has failed to demonstrate this precondition for
habeas relief. Petitioner sites a variety of grievances
regarding his state proceeding such as the disagreements with
appointed counsel, losing pretrial motions, and the venue of
his trial. The Court in Younger, however, noted that
“the cost, anxiety, and inconvenience of having to
defend against a single criminal prosecution, could not by
themselves be considered irreparable in the special legal
sense of that term.” 401 U.S. at 46. Instead,
“the threat to the plaintiff's federal protected
rights must be one that cannot be eliminated by his defense
against a single criminal prosecution.” Id.
Petitioner fails to demonstrate irreparable loss or that he
is “threatened with any injury other than that
incidental to every criminal proceeding brought lawfully and
in good faith.” Id. at 47.
reasons stated above, Petitioner has failed to plausibly
demonstrate that he is entitled to habeas relief. Therefore,
Respondent's motion to dismiss (Docket No. 9) is