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Saunders v. United States

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

October 30, 2014

LOUIS SAUNDERS, JR., Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent

Page 106

LOUIS SAUNDER, JR., Petitioner, Pro se, Bruceton Mills, WV.

For UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent: Sherri Lee Berthrong, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Washington, DC.

Page 107

MEMORANDUM OPINION

TANYA S. CHUTKAN, United States District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on the Motion for a Writ of Habeas Corpus, which the Court construes as a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus. For the reasons discussed below, the petition will be denied.

I. BACKGROUND

According to the Information filed in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia:

Louis Saunders . . . , with the intent to kill another and to inflict serious bodily injury on another and with a conscious disregard of an extreme risk of death or serious bodily injury to another, caused the death of William Otis Smith, by shooting him with a pistol . . . , thereby causing injuries from which . . . Smith died on or about July 3, 1996.

United States' Response to Petitioner's Motion for a Writ of Habeas Corpus (" Resp't's Opp'n), Ex. A (Information, United States v. Saunders, Crim. No. F-5814-96 (D.C. S.Ct. Oct. 10, 1996)). The petitioner, who was represented by counsel, waived his right to a jury trial and pled guilty to second degree murder. See Petition (" Pet." ) at 3; see id., Exs F-G. (Waiver of Trial by Jury dated October 9, 1996, and Judgment and Commitment Order dated December 6, 1996, respectively). The Superior Court imposed a prison sentence of 20 years to life. Id., Ex. G.

Although the petitioner did not appeal his conviction or sentence to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, see Resp't's Opp'n at 2 n.2, he did seek relief in the Superior Court. His first attempt, titled Petitioner's Writ of Habeas Corpus Pursuant to the D.C. Code § 23-110, was dismissed without prejudice:

The Writ of Habeas Corpus was filed by Milton Joseph Taylor as " Attorney for Petitioner." In the body of his pleading, however, Mr. Taylor notes that he is not a licensed attorney. Given that Mr. Taylor is not an attorney and Mr. Saunders, Jr. did not sign the pleading as pro se, this Court cannot rule on this Writ of Habeas Corpus.

Id., Ex. C (Order, United States v. Saunders, Crim. No. F-5814-96 (D.C. S.Ct. filed Oct. 27, 2005)).[1] The petitioner's second attempt, a Motion to Reconsider and Grant the Defendant's Filed D.C. Code § 23-110, also was denied. The Superior Court noted that the motion failed to present an argument " that warrants any change in the October 21, 2005 Order dismissing the petition filed by Milton J. Taylor." Id., Ex. D (Order, United States v. Saunders, Crim. No. F-5814-96 (D.C. S.Ct. filed Nov. 3, 2005)). The plaintiff was no more successful with his last two ...


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