*fn1,The opinion of the court was delivered by: Terry, Associate Judge,Jerry T. Graham filed a brief pro se.,JERRY T. GRAHAM, APPELLANT v. UNITED STATES, APPELLEE" />

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Graham v. United States

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA COURT OF APPEALS


January 30, 2006 *fn1

JERRY T. GRAHAM, APPELLANT
v.
UNITED STATES, APPELLEE

Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (F-1774-94) (Hon. Harold L. Cushenberry, Jr., Trial Judge).

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Terry, Associate Judge

Submitted June 12, 2003

Before TERRY and RUIZ, Assoiciate Judges, and STEADMAN, Senior Judge.*fn2

Appellant was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute it (PWID) while armed. After a jury trial, he was convicted of the lesser included offense of unarmed PWID.*fn3 On appeal from that conviction, he argued primarily that the trial court had erred in denying his motion to suppress the cocaine and other physical evidence. This court rejected that argument (and others) and affirmed his conviction in an unpublished Memorandum Opinion and Judgment. Graham v. United States, No. 95-CF-786 (D.C. January 31, 2001).*fn4

About a year later, in January 2002, appellant filed in the trial court a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, naming as the respondent the warden of the Sussex II State Prison in Virginia, where he had formerly been confined.*fn5 Appellant argued in his habeas corpus petition that the trial court had erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence, and that this court had also erred in rejecting his constitutional arguments and affirming his conviction. He claimed in addition that the trial court had made other errors in his murder case (see note 1, supra) and that this court had erred in affirming the murder and related convictions. The trial court, after reviewing the petition, concluded that it should be considered as a motion to vacate sentence under D.C. Code § 23-110 (2001). As such, the motion was referred to the judge who had tried appellant's case, who denied it on the merits.*fn6 This appeal followed.

I.

Appellant's main contention on appeal is that the trial court erred in reclassifying his habeas corpus petition as a § 23-110 motion without his consent.

He bases his argument on several federal cases dealing with motions under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, and in particular with that statute as it was amended in 1996 by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), Pub. L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214, 1220 (1996). See, e.g., Castro v. United States, 540 U.S. 375 (2003). Those cases are inapposite, however, because the AEDPA amendments, on which those federal decisions are based, apply only to motions filed under section 2255 and not to motions under our local statute, D.C. Code § 23-110. As the government explains in its brief, "AEDPA applies to successive motions filed pursuant to the federal statute," whereas section 23-110 "does not contain such stringent statutory requirements that limit a prisoner's ability to bring a second or successive motion . . . ." Since the federal decisions on which appellant relies are based on these AEDPA restrictions, and since those restrictions (and AEDPA itself) are not applicable at all in the District of Columbia courts, we hold that the federal cases cited by appellant are inapposite.

In addition, it is clear that because appellant was serving his sentence in a federal penitentiary in Louisiana, the Superior Court had no jurisdiction to entertain a habeas corpus petition from him. "District of Columbia courts may grant habeas corpus relief only for prisoners incarcerated within the District or in District of Columbia correctional facilities." Alston v. United States, 590 A.2d 511, 514-515 (D.C. 1991). Under D.C. Code § 16-1901 (2001), the District's habeas corpus statute, "the Superior Court does not have jurisdiction to entertain a habeas corpus petition directed against federal respondents." Taylor v. Washington, 808 A.2d 770, 772 (D.C. 2002). The proper habeas corpus respondent was the warden of the federal prison in Louisiana where appellant was confined at the time he filed his petition. See Rumsfeld v. Padilla, 124 S.Ct. 2711, 2717 (2005); Taylor, 808 A.2d at 773, 775; Stokes v. United States Parole Commission, 362 U.S. App. D.C. 410, 413-414, 374 F.3d 1235, 1238-1239 (2004); Chatman-Bey v. Thornburgh, 374 U.S. App. D.C. 398, 404, 864 F.2d 804, 810 (1988) (en banc). Because that warden is a federal officer, the petition should have been filed in a federal court in Louisiana.

We therefore conclude that the trial court committed no error in treating appellant's habeas corpus petition as a motion to vacate his sentence under D.C. Code § 23-110. Appellant was in no way harmed by the court's recharacterization of his petition; indeed, that was the only way in which the court could have considered the petition at all.

II.

On the merits, we hold that appellant's petition, construed as a § 23-110 motion, was properly denied. The only claim pertinent to this case which was raised in appellant's motion was his assertion that the trial court had erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence. As the trial court recognized, he made the very same contention in the direct appeal from his conviction, and this court rejected it and affirmed the judgment in January 2001. For this reason, he is barred from raising the issue again on collateral attack. See, e.g., Doepel v. United States, 510 A.2d 1044, 1045-1046 (D.C. 1986);*fn7 Thompson v. United States, 7 F.3d 1377, 1379 (9th Cir. 1993) (claim of unlawful search and seizure, previously rejected on direct appeal, cannot be raised again on collateral attack), cert. denied, 511 U.S. 1010 (1994); cf. Vaughn v. United States, 600 A.2d 96, 97 (D.C. 1991) (trial court "was under no obligation even to consider" claims that had been raised and rejected in previous § 23-110 motion). Furthermore, insofar as appellant sought to challenge this court's prior ruling in his direct appeal that the search and seizure was lawful, the trial court correctly held that it had no authority to consider that claim. "Section 23-110 provides no basis upon which the trial court may review appellate proceedings." Streater v. United States, 429 A.2d 173, 174 (D.C. 1980).

For the foregoing reasons, the order denying appellant's petition for a writ of habeas corpus, considered as a motion to vacate sentence under D.C. Code § 23-110, is Affirmed.


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