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Conway v. Wainwright

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA


October 19, 2010

ROBERT CONWAY, PETITIONER,
v.
SIMON WAINWRIGHT, ET AL., RESPONDENTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Emmet G. Sullivan United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This is an action for a writ of habeas corpus filed by a petitioner who is confined at the District of Columbia Jail on a parole violator warrant issued by the United States Parole Commission. See Pet. at 1. For the following reasons, the petition will be denied.

The extraordinary remedy of habeas corpus is available to District of Columbia prisoners if the prisoner shows that he is "in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3). Petitioner challenges the local statute governing supervised release, D.C. Code § 24-403.01, on the ground that its execution violates the separation of powers doctrine. He seeks "recall[]" of the statute and his immediate release. Pet. at 3.

As the paroling authority for District of Columbia prisoners, the U.S. Parole Commission is authorized by § 24-403.01(6) to grant, deny, or revoke a District of Columbia offender's parole supervision and to impose or modify his parole conditions. See § D.C. Code § 24-131(a); Thompson v. District of Columbia Dep't of Corrections, 511 F. Supp.2d 111, 114 (D.D.C. 2007).

Because the foregoing statutes govern the execution of a judicially imposed sentence, "[t]he Parole Commission does not exercise a judicial function and its decisions do not violate the separation of powers." Montgomery v. U.S. Parole Comm'n, Civ. Action No. 06-2133 (CKK), 2007 WL 1232190, *2 (D.D.C. Apr. 26, 2007) (citing cases); accord Leach v. U.S. Parole Comm'n, 522 F. Supp.2d 250, 251 (D.D.C. 2007); Hammett v. U.S. Parole Comm'n, Civ. Action No. 10-0442 (JDB), 2010 WL 1257669, *1 (D.D.C. Apr. 2, 2010) (Bates, J.) (observing that "[t]his argument, and similar separation of powers arguments, have been raised often and rejected each time."). Cf. with Maddox v. Elzie, 238 F.3d 437, 445 (D.C. Cir. 2001) (explaining that "Morrissey makes clear that parole revocation is not the continuation of a criminal trial but a separate administrative proceeding at which the parolee does not possess the same rights as a criminal defendant at trial.") (citing Morrissey v. Brewer, 408 U.S. 471, 480 (1972) (emphasis added). Accordingly, the petition for a writ of habeas corpus is denied. A separate Order accompanies this Memorandum Opinion.

20101019

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