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DOUGHTY v. UNITED STATES BD. OF PAROLE

January 17, 1992

John H. Doughty, Jr., Plaintiff,
v.
United States Board of Parole, et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CHARLES R. RICHEY

 Before the Court are Motions for Summary Judgment filed by both the defendants and the plaintiff in the above-captioned action, which is on remand from the Court of Appeals. See Doughty v. U.S. Board of Parole, App. No. 90-5276 (D.C. Cir. May 31, 1991) (per curiam). The plaintiff is a D.C. Code offender presently serving a term of 10-30 years in the Federal Correctional Institution at Ashland, Kentucky, who alleges that he has wrongfully been denied educational good time credits to which he is entitled under D.C. Code § 24-429 that would reduce his minimum sentence. The Court has carefully considered the submissions of the parties, the arguments of counsel, the applicable law, and the entire record herein. For the reasons outlined below, the Court concludes that under existing law, it must deny the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and grant the defendants' motion for summary judgment.

 I. Background

 (1) it lacked venue over out-of-state federal officials sued in their individual capacities; (2) sovereign immunity barred Doughty's monetary claims against these officials and the federal agencies; and (3) Doughty's failure to exhaust administrative procedures prevented the court from considering his requests for equitable relief.

 Doughty v. U.S. Board of Parole, App. No. 90-5276 (D.C. Cir. May 31, 1991) (per curiam) at 1. The Court of Appeals also held that:

 Summary affirmance of the district court's conclusion that the D.C. Good Time Credits Act, D.C. Code Ann. § 24-428, does not violate the equal protection rights of male D.C. Code offenders housed in federal prisons outside the District is not appropriate, however, because the claim warrants further development. See Jackson v. Thornburgh, 285 App. D.C. 124, 907 F.2d 194, 198 (D.C. Cir. 1990). It is

 FURTHER ORDERED that appellants D.C. Good Time Credits Act claim be remanded for further consideration in light of Jackson.

 Id. at 1-2.

 This Court appointed counsel to represent the plaintiff, and held a status call on September 23, 1991. At this time, the Court was advised that the Act had been amended to award institutional good time credits to D.C. Code offenders housed in federal facilities outside of the District. The plaintiff has since been awarded these institutional good time credits. See Def.'s Mot. for Summary Judgment, Ex. A. Therefore that portion of the plaintiff's claim is now moot. However, the parties continue to dispute the plaintiff's entitlement to educational good time credits pursuant to D.C. Code § 24-429.

 II. Analysis

 The defendants argue that there are a number of bars to the plaintiff asserting his claim in this forum. The Court is not persuaded by their argument that the claim is beyond the scope of the complaint (see note 1, supra) or that the claim is beyond the scope of the remand. While the Court of Appeals only referred to D.C. Code § 24-428 in its mandate, the Court declines to interpret the mandate mechanistically. Section 24-429 is also a part of the Good Time Credits Act, and awards good time credits, which is what the plaintiff sought in his complaint, and is thus a part of this lawsuit.

 Neither is the Court persuaded by the defendants argument that the claim is barred because the plaintiff has not exhausted his administrative remedies with respect to this claim. In open court on September 23, 1991, the Bureau of Prisons stated unequivocally that the plaintiff would not be awarded any educational good time credits. Based on this position, the Court finds that it would be futile for the plaintiff to attempt to exhaust his administrative remedies on this issue. See Randolph-Sheppard Vendors v. Weinberg, 254 App. D.C. 45, 795 F.2d 90, 105-6 (D.C. Cir. 1986); see also Pl.'s Additional Materials filed December 30, 1991.

 The defendants raise another argument, however. They persuasively contend that since the plaintiff seeks a reduction in his sentence, see Pl.'s Motion for Summary Judgment at 2; Complaint at 7, his challenge is a proper subject-matter for a habeas corpus petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. See Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 36 L. Ed. 2d 439, 93 S. Ct. 1827 (1973) (holding that habeas corpus is the exclusive remedy for challenges to the fact or duration of confinement, specifically discussing a claim for good time credits). In this circuit, habeas corpus, if available, is a prisoner's exclusive remedy and preempts declaratory and injunctive relief. Chatman-Bey v. Thornburgh, 864 F.2d 804, 274 App. D.C. 398 (D.C. Cir. 1988) (en banc). A district court may not entertain a habeas action unless it has personal jurisdiction over the prisoner's custodian. Id. at 810; Guerra v. Meese, 252 App. D.C. 1, 786 F.2d 414, 415 (D.C. Cir. 1986). The custodian of a federal prisoner seeking release on parole is the warden of the prison where he is ...


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