Watson v. FCI Hazelton
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER ADOPTING 12 REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION: denying as moot 9 Motion for Hearing; denying as moot 11 Motion for Preliminary Injunction filed by Curtis Lee Watson. The Petitioner's Objections are OVERRULED. The [1 ] Petitioners 2241 petition is DENIED and DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE and STRICKEN from the active docket of this Court Signed by Chief Judge Gina M. Groh on 12/16/16. (njz) copy mailed to pro se pet via cert. return rec't mail (Additional attachment(s) added on 12/16/2016: # 1 Certified Mail Return Receipt) (njz).
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF WEST VIRGINIA
CURTIS LEE WATSON,
CIVIL ACTION NO.: 3:16-CV-109
WARDEN, FCI Hazelton
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND
On this day, the above-styled matter came before the Court for consideration of
the Report and Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge Michael J. Aloi.
Pursuant to Rule 2 of the Local Rules of Prisoner Litigation Procedure, this action was
referred to Magistrate Judge Aloi for submission of a proposed report and
recommendation. On August 26, 2016, Magistrate Judge Aloi conducted an initial review
and filed a report and recommendation (“R&R”).
ECF No. 12.
In the R&R, the
magistrate judge recommends that this Court deny and dismiss with prejudice the
Petitioner=s 28 U.S.C. ' 2241 petition.
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ' 636(b)(1)(c), this Court is required to make a de novo
review of those portions of the magistrate judge=s findings to which objection is made.
However, the Court is not required to review, under a de novo or any other standard, the
factual or legal conclusions of the magistrate judge as to those portions of the findings or
recommendation to which no objections are addressed. Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140,
150 (1985). Moreover, failure to file timely objections constitutes a waiver of de novo
review and the petitioner’s right to appeal this Court’s Order. 28 U.S.C. ' 636(b)(1);
Snyder v. Ridenour, 889 F.2d 1363, 1366 (4th Cir. 1989); United States v. Schronce, 727
F.2d 91, 94 (4th Cir. 1984). Here, objections to Magistrate Judge Aloi=s R&R were due
within fourteen (14) days after being served with a copy of the R&R pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
' 636(b)(1) and Rule 72(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Petitioner was
served with the R&R on August 29, 2016.
Petitioner timely filed his objections on
September 9, 2016. Accordingly, this Court will undertake a de novo review of those
portions of Magistrate Judge Aloi=s findings to which objection is made. This Court will
review the remainder of the R&R for clear error.
On August 10, 1978, the Superior Court for the District of Columbia sentenced the
Petitioner to serve thirty years to life in prison for various crimes in two different cases,
including carrying a pistol without a license, armed burglary, assault with a dangerous
weapon, assault with intent to kill and first degree murder while armed. In 1988, the
Petitioner escaped from confinement, and he was not located and arrested until 1995.
In 1996, the Petitioner received an additional twelve-month sentence for escape, to run
consecutive to any other sentences.
As his primary ground for relief, the Petitioner avers that no indictment was ever
issued on the charges of which he was convicted. The Petitioner also mentions that he
was denied counsel, and the official court docket was falsified and removed from the
courthouse during his first appeal in 1979. Accordingly, the Petitioner asserts that this
Court must now hold a hearing “for the purpose of certifying this conviction can not stand
and this Petitioner must be freed.” ECF No. 1 at 5. In the R&R, Magistrate Judge Aloi
found that this Court lacks jurisdiction in the case sub judice, and therefore, it should be
dismissed with prejudice.
After reviewing the content of his objections, the Petitioner largely rehashes the
argument in his Petition as objections to Magistrate Judge Aloi=s R&R. At most, the only
new argument posited by the Petitioner in his objection is “the onus [is] on the citizen to
show that an act by congress must be shown hallow in order to grant review. . . . That is
inane. . . . Moreover the state courts can never review any act of congress for the purpose
of its constitutionality, thus no citizen can be required to do like[wise].”
Since passage of the Court Reform Act, however, a District of Columbia
prisoner seeking to collaterally attack his sentence must do so by motion in
the sentencing court-the Superior Court-pursuant to D.C.Code § 23-110.4
Thus a District of Columbia prisoner bears a certain resemblance to his
federal counterparts who must collaterally challenge their sentences, not by
seeking a writ of habeas corpus in the district where they are in custody, but
by motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 in the district where they were
sentenced. Despite the similarity there is one obvious difference between a
federal prisoner and a District of Columbia prisoner: a federal prisoner who
seeks collateral relief pursuant to section 2255 is heard by an Article III court
(i.e. the federal district court that imposed sentence) whereas a District of
Columbia prisoner who seeks collateral relief pursuant to section 23-110 of
the D.C.Code is heard by an Article I court (i.e. the Superior Court). In order
to collaterally attack his sentence in an Article III court a District of Columbia
prisoner faces a hurdle that a federal prisoner does not. Namely, he must
show that the relief by motion in Superior Court pursuant to section 23-110
of the D.C.Code “is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his
detention.” D.C. Code § 23-110(g).
Byrd v. Henderson, 119 F.3d 34, 36-37 (D.C. Cir. 1997).
In determining that D.C. Code § 23-110(g) “cannot fairly be read as merely
requiring the exhaustion of local remedies[,]” the Supreme Court of the United
States characterized it as an “unequivocal statutory command to federal courts not
to entertain an application for habeas corpus after the applicant has been denied
collateral relief in the Superior Court.” Swain v. Pressley, 430 U.S. 372, 377
(1977). Thus, even construing the Petitioner’s objections liberally, no cognizable
argument exists therein to support any conclusion other than the one Magistrate
Judge Aloi reached in his R&R.
Upon careful review of the record, it is the opinion of this Court that the magistrate
judge=s R&R should be, and is, hereby ORDERED ADOPTED for the reasons more fully
stated therein. The Petitioner=s Objections are OVERRULED. It is further ordered that
the Petitioner=s Motion for Hearing [ECF No. 9] and Motion for Injunction [ECF No. 11]
are DENIED AS MOOT. Accordingly, the Petitioner’s ' 2241 petition is DENIED and
DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE and STRICKEN from the active docket of this Court.
The Clerk is directed to transmit copies of this Order to all counsel of record and
to mail a copy to the pro se Petitioner by certified mail, return receipt requested, to his
last known address as shown on the docket sheet.
It is so ORDERED.
DATED: December 16, 2016
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?