On March 19, 2001, the District of Columbia's Corporation
Counsel filed papers indicating that the claims of the
petitioner should be dismissed for failure to make out a
prima-facie case and as an attempted collateral attack on the
merits of BOP's decision to revoke parole. See Def.'s Resp. at
3-6.*fn2 Upon realizing sua sponte that potential problems
with jurisdiction may exist in the case, the court requested
additional briefing on the issue of whether the court has
jurisdiction over the petitioner's petition under D.C.Code
section 16901.*fn3 Having received the requested materials,
the case is now ripe for judgment.
A. Legal Standard
This case presents a very distinct issue, namely, whether the
petitioner has lodged his claim in the proper court. While the
federal courts have the power to grant habeas relief to
prisoners convicted and imprisoned under state law, proper
respect for state and local court authorities mandates that
federal courts refrain from doing so until all state and local
remedies have been exhausted. See Irvin v. Dowd, 359 U.S. 394,
404-05, 79 S.Ct. 825, 3 L.Ed.2d 900 (1959); see also
28 U.S.C. § 2254 (2000). The Supreme Court has explained that requiring a
prisoner to exhaust his local remedies is designed to "protect
the state courts' role in the enforcement of federal law and
prevent disruption of state judicial proceedings." See Rose v.
Lundy, 455 U.S. 509, 518, 102 S.Ct. 1198, 71 L.Ed.2d 379 (1982)
(citing Braden v. 30th Judicial Circuit Court of Kentucky,
410 U.S. 484, 490-491, 93 S.Ct. 1123, 35 L.Ed.2d 443, (1973)). It is
with these principles in mind that the court reviews the pending
habeas petition and the respondent's contention that the
petition should be dismissed.
B. Dismissal Without Prejudice
1. Jurisdictional Analysis
In this case, the petitioner's writ is not directed to a
Federal officer or employee. Margaret Quick, the named
respondent, is the chair of BOP, a district (or non-federal)
position. As such, she falls under the "any other person"
provision of section 16-1901(c). See D.C.Code § 161901(c). On
its face, section 16-1901(c) requires the filing of this
petition in Superior Court. See id. In the case of Blair-Bey
v. Quick, 151 F.3d 1036, 1050 (D.C.Cir. 1998), however, the
D.C. Circuit disagreed by holding that section 16-1901 does not
bar federal courts from hearing habeas petitions filed by
petitioners convicted in Superior Court. See id. at 1050.
Indeed, Blair-Bey stands for the proposition that the federal
habeas statute, 28 U.S.C. § 2241, is unaffected by the
corresponding D.C. statute. See id. Therefore, habeas
petitioners filing in the District of
Columbia can assert, as the petitioner did here, jurisdiction
under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 and file their petition in either this
court or Superior Court. See id. at 1045.
2. Exhaustion of Remedies
The mere existence of jurisdiction alone does not allow this
court to rule on the merits of the petition. The fact that the
petitioner is serving a sentence imposed by the Superior Court,
arising under violations of the D.C.Code and not federal law,
leads this court to conclude that the petitioner must first file
his petition for a writ of habeas corpus with Superior Court
before seeking relief from this court. See Irvin, 359 U.S. at
405, 79 S.Ct. 825 (holding that the potential conflict between
federal and state habeas cases required exhaustion of state
remedies before intervention by federal courts). Further, while
the District of Columbia is not a state, per se, it does
possess all the characteristics of a state court system. For
this reason, the D.C. Circuit has stated that the same deference
shown to state courts, namely, requiring prisoners to exhaust
their local remedies before bringing their claims to the federal
forum, should also be shown to D.C. courts. See Maddox v.
Elzie, 238 F.3d 437, 440 (D.C.Cir. 2001) (citing Garris v.
Lindsay, 794 F.2d 722 (D.C.Cir. 1986)) (holding that the appeal
requirements for habeas petitioners convicted in Superior Court
are treated as a detention and sentence arising out of a state
court); see also 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(1). Simply put, the
petitioner must file his habeas petition with that judicial body
before seeking relief from this court. See id. Therefore, the
court dismisses the petition without prejudice until such time
as the petitioner has exhausted all available remedies within
the District of Columbia court system.
For the foregoing reasons, the court dismisses the
petitioner's request for a writ of habeas corpus without
prejudice. An Order directing the parties in a manner consistent
with this Memorandum Opinion is separately and contemporaneously
executed and issued this 5th day of November 2001.