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LEWIS v. STEMPSON
May 4, 1990
DONALD B. LEWIS, Petitioner,
DOUGLAS STEMPSON, Respondent
George H. Revercomb, United States District Judge.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: REVERCOMB
GEORGE H. REVERCOMB, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
This matter is before the Court pursuant to petitioner's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and the Respondent's Response to the Court's Order to Show Cause.
Petitioner Donald B. Lewis is currently incarcerated at the Maximum Security Facility, Lorton, Virginia. He is in service of a term of imprisonment pursuant to four Superior Court of the District of Columbia, Judgment and Commitment Orders. Petitioner filed the instant action against Douglas Stempson, the administrator of the Maximum Security Facility, alleging that he has been held illegally, on administrative segregation, in cell block 3 of the Maximum Security Facility which he claims is in violation of his first, fifth and eighth amendment rights because he is being held in his cell 23 1/2 hours a day during the week and 24 hours a day on the weekend, and denied access to outside recreation, educational and religious programs. This Court dismisses the petitioner's Petition for failure to exhaust administrative remedies and mootness.
B. Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies
A prisoner in custody pursuant to a state court judgment must exhaust his state remedies before applying for a writ of habeas corpus in the federal system. 28 U.S.C. § 2254 provides, in pertinent part:
(b) An application for a Writ of Habeas Corpus in behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court shall not be granted unless it appears that the applicant has exhausted the remedies available in the courts of the State, or that there is either an absence of available State corrective process or the existence of circumstances rendering such process ineffective to protect the rights of the prisoner.
(c) An applicant shall not be deemed to have exhausted the remedies available in the courts of the State, within the meaning of this section, if he has the right under the law of the State to raise, by any available procedure, the question presented.
The District of Columbia provides the petitioner with a sufficient remedy by which to protest the lawfulness of his confinement in the first instance. D.C. Code § 16-1901 provides:
(a) A person committed, detained, confined, or restrained from his lawful liberty within the District, under any color or pretense whatever, or a person on his behalf, may apply by petition to the appropriate court, or a judge thereof, for a writ of habeas corpus, to the end that the cause of the commitment, detainer, confinement, or restraint may be inquired into. The court or the judge applied to, if the facts set forth in the petition make a prima facie case, shall forthwith grant the writ, directed to the officer or other person in whose custody or keeping the party so detained is returnable forthwith before the court or judge.
(b) Petitions for writs directed to Federal officers and employees shall be filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
(c) Petitions for writs directed to any other person shall be filed in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
As this Court has held in other cases interpreting D.C. Code § 16-1901, "petitions must be filed with the Superior Court if the petitions are for writs directed to the D.C. Board of Parole or to Lorton prison wardens, administrators or jailors, or if the petitioner is not in federal prison for any reason -- thus including almost all cases arising from a sentence of the Superior Court." Fletcher v. Braxton, Civil Action No. 88-2866-GHR (D.D.C. Nov. 7, 1988); see also McCall v. Swain, 166 U.S. App. D.C. 214, 510 F.2d 167, 182 (D.C. Cir. 1975); Washington-El v. Thornburgh, 1990 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19904, Civil Action No. 89-0784-GHR (D.D.C. Mar. 2, 1990); Pittman v. Ridley, Civil Action No. ...
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