Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Banks v. Smith

July 8, 2005

SIMON BANKS, PETITIONER,
v.
STEVEN SMITH, WARDEN RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Royce C. Lamberth, United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Before the court is the motion to dismiss of the United States ("Government"), filed on behalf of the respondent warden. The Government moves to dismiss petitioner Banks'*fn1 petition for a writ of habeas corpus on the grounds that the Banks has failed to exhaust the remedies available to him in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. For the reasons stated herein, the court will grant the motion to dismiss.

I. BACKGROUND

Banks is imprisoned for criminal contempt of court. Banks was held in contempt of court for violating an injunction placed on him by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals ("DCCA"). For the full history of Banks' run-ins with the DCCA, the court referrences In Re Simon Banks, 561 A.2d 158 (D.C. 1987) and In Re Simon Banks, 805 A.2d 990 (D.C. 2002).*fn2

Banks is a 1975 law school graduate who has never been a member of any Bar, State or Federal. The injunction placed on Banks by the DCCA enjoins Banks from holding himself out as the functional equivalent of a lawyer or using advertising materials that cause people to think he is a lawyer. Judge Kramer, sitting by designation of the DCCA, found Banks guilty of criminal contempt for violating the injunction. Judge Kramer sentenced Banks to six months of incarceration for each of four counts of criminal contempt. Banks' appeal of his criminal contempt conviction remains pending before the DCCA. (Government's Motion to Dismiss p. 17.)

Banks now petitions the court for a writ of habeas corpus. Banks' claims for release include but are not limited to 1) lack of personal jurisdiction; 2) judicial vindictiveness; 3) prosecutorial vindictiveness; 4) violation of equal protection; and 5) violation of due process.*fn3

II. ANALYSIS

A. D.C. Code § 23-110

The court will briefly address why D.C. Code § 23-110 does not apply in this case. § 23-110 requires that prisoners held "under sentence of the Superior Court" file the writ of habeas corpus with the Superior Court. D.C. Code § 23-110. Thus, § 23-110 is the exclusive method to attack a conviction with a habeas corpus petition for a prisoner sentenced in Superior Court. Blair-Bey v. Quick, 151 F.3d 1036, 1042 (D.C. Cir. 1998).

From first glance it would appear that Banks has no standing to file for a writ of habeas corpus in this court, but the wording of § 23-110 requires that the petitioner be under sentence of the Superior Court. § 23-110. Since Banks was sentenced by a judge sitting by designation of the DCCA, it would appear that Banks is held under sentence of the DCCA, and not under sentence of the Superior Court. After giving § 23-110 a plain reading, it appears that § 23-110 does not apply to Banks.

B. State Prisoner

For the purposes of Banks' petition for a writ of habeas corpus, the court considers Banks a State prisoner. The D.C. Circuit has consistently held that when considering a writ of habeas corpus a prisoner of the District of Columbia is considered a State prisoner, when the prisoner is held under a conviction of the D.C. Superior Court. See Garris v. Lindsay, 794 F.2d 722 (D.C. Cir.), cert. denied, 479 U.S. 993 (1986); see also Madley v. U. S. Parole Comm'n, 278 F.3d 1306, 1308-10 (D.C. Cir. 2002) (applying Garris to a revised version of 28 U.S.C. § 2253). The D.C. Circuit treats the "local courts as state courts for the purposes of . . . federal habeas corpus jurisdiction." Milhouse v. Levi, 548 F.2d 357, 360 n. 6 (D.C. Cir. 1976) (internal quotation omitted).

In Garris, the petitioner was held under conviction of the D.C. Superior Court. Garris, 794 F.2d at 723. The Circuit Court dismissed the appeal because the petitioner did not qualify for a certificate of probable cause ("certificate"). Id. at 727. The only type of prisoner that requires a certificate of probable cause is a prisoner whose detention "arises out of process issued by a State court[.]" Id. at 724. Garris shows that a D.C. prisoner held due to conviction in a local D.C. court is a State prisoner for the purposes of the federal habeas statutes because the conviction is a process of the State court.

In Madley, the D.C. Circuit Court considered the fact that the D.C. Superior Court was part of a court system created by Congress to be like a State court system. Madley, 278 F.3d at 1308. The DCCA is part of the same court system as the D.C. Superior Court. Thus, it would follow that the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.