United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
L. Hornsby, U.S. Magistrate Judge.
Alexis White, II (“Petitioner”) was arrested in
Caddo Parish and charged with several drug and firearm crimes
in state court. The judge set bail on seven charges in
amounts ranging from $5, 000 to $15, 000. Petitioner filed a
motion to reduce bond or be released on his own recognizance.
The trial court denied the motion, and the state appellate
courts declined to grant relief.
now seeks federal habeas corpus relief with respect to the
amount of his bail. A review of the record shows that (1)
Petitioner did not exhaust state court remedies with respect
to a federal claim, (2) the excessive bail claim lacks merit,
and (3) the petition is potentially moot because Petitioner
has since been released on bail. For the reasons that follow,
it is recommended that his petition be denied.
sheriff's deputy testified at a preliminary hearing that
the cleaning staff at a motel entered a room to do a standard
cleaning and found a large amount of marijuana. Police
responded to the hotel and learned that Petitioner had the
room booked for the next 20 days. The officers saw the
marijuana in plain view, cleared the room, and obtained a
search warrant. They executed the warrant and seized
marijuana, scales, ammunition, cash, synthetic urine, and
ecstasy from the room. They also found documents from the
Office of Motor Vehicles and items of mail that had
Petitioner's name on them.
motel staff reported that Petitioner could be found at the
Diesel Driving Academy. The deputy testified that officers
found Petitioner's vehicle parked at the academy. They
saw two guns on the floorboard in plain view. They found a
leather bag under the back seat, and it contained
methamphetamine, ecstasy, ammunition, scales, marijuana, and
Xanax. Petitioner admitted to purchasing the weapons and said
that he had been driving the vehicle for a couple of months.
refused the appointment of counsel and elected to represent
himself. He filed a number of motions, including a motion to
reduce bond. Tr. 17. The judge took up the motion at the
preliminary examination. Petitioner argued that he was not a
flight risk, did not present a risk of danger to anyone, and
was willing to undergo pretrial drug screening. He said that
he had worked as a tax preparer for Liberty Tax, and he
enrolled at the driving academy after tax season ended. He
said that he would have finished the course in four weeks and
obtained a job that paid $80, 000 a year had he not been
arrested. Petitioner complained about his conditions of
confinement at the local jail and argued that some of the
police searches were unlawful. Tr. 105-110.
prosecutor responded that Petitioner's criminal history
suggested he was a danger to society. He had a previous
conviction of negligent homicide and two or three prior
convictions for possession of marijuana. He was facing two
firearms charges. Petitioner was adamant that he was not a
danger to society based on the negligent homicide conviction
because it had been an accidental killing of his cousin. He
contended that he was “still allowed to purchase a
weapon” and had owned a weapon despite the felony
conviction for the negligent homicide of his cousin. The
judge stated: “Okay. I agree with the State.
Denied.” Tr. 106-12.
filed a writ application with the state appellate court. The
court noted that Petitioner was seeking review of the trial
court's denial of his motion to reduce bond and denied
the writ, stating, “On the showing made, this
Court's supervisory jurisdiction is not warranted.”
Tr. 232. The Supreme Court of Louisiana denied a writ
application without comment. Tr. 352.
habeas petitions by state prisoners are presented pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2254, which obligates the federal court to
afford a great deal of deference to a state court
adjudication. § 2254(d)(1). But the petitioner here is
proceeding as a pretrial detainee with a petition governed by
Section 2241. That statute does not contain a standard of
review, but the Fifth Circuit and several other circuit
courts have held that Section 2254(d) deference never applies
to habeas petitions brought by pretrial detainees under
Section 2241. Martinez v. Caldwell, 644 F.3rd 238,
242 (5th Cir. 2011); Christian v. Wellington, 739
F.3rd 294, 298 (6th Cir. 2014) (agreeing with the First,
Fifth, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits on the issue).
Fifth Circuit has recognized in a Section 2241 challenge that
the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of excessive bail is
binding on the states. Simon v. Woodson, 454 F.2d
161, 165 (5th Cir. 1972). The Supreme Court has said that the
determination of whether bail is excessive involves an
assessment of whether the amount fixed is reasonably
calculated to assure the presence of the accused at trial.
Stack v. Boyle, 72 S.Ct. 1 (1951). “Thus, the
only issue to be resolved by a federal court presented with a
habeas corpus petition that complains of excessive bail is
whether the sate judge has acted arbitrarily in
setting that bail.” Simon, 454 F.2d at 165.
See also U.S. ex rel. Garcia v. O'Grady, 812
F.2d 347, 355 (7th Cir. 1987); Jackson v. Circuit Court
of Cook County, 2018 WL 6435654, *3 (N.D. Ill. 2018).
The Fifth Circuit stated that any other rule would ...