United States District Court, District of Columbia
ANTHONY L. DAVIS, Petitioner,
MICHAEL D. BRITTIN, et al., Respondents.
P. MEHTA UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Anthony L. Davis asks “this Court to vacate, set-aside,
or correct the [s]entence, ” Pet., ECF No. 1, at 5
(page numbers designated by ECF), imposed by the Superior
Court of the District of Columbia for his conviction in 1996
of first-degree murder while armed and related firearms
offenses, id. at 8. Petitioner is serving a term of
30 years to life imprisonment. Id. According to
Petitioner, his conviction is unlawful because the Assistant
United States Attorney who prosecuted his case committed
misconduct. See generally id. at 10-12, 17-20.
Petitioner also challenges the constitutionality of D.C. Code
§ 22-2404, the statute pursuant to which the Superior
Court imposed a 30-year mandatory minimum sentence. See
generally Pet. at 5, 74-77.
federal district court may “entertain an application
for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in custody
pursuant to the judgment of a State court only on the ground
that he is in custody in violation of the Constitution or
laws . . . of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. §
2254(a). For purposes of § 2254, the local courts of the
District of Columbia are treated like state courts. See
Milhouse v. Levi, 548 F.2d 357, 360 n.6 (D.C. Cir.
1976); Banks v. Smith, 377 F.Supp.2d 92, 94 (D.D.C.
2005). A District of Columbia offender, however, faces a
unique hurdle. See Byrd v. Henderson, 119 F.3d 34,
37 (D.C. Cir. 1997). Because he has been convicted in and
sentenced by the D.C. Superior Court, a challenge to his
conviction and sentence must be raised by motion under D.C.
Code § 23-110 in the D.C. Superior Court. See, e.g.,
Ibrahim v. United States, 661 F.3d 1141, 1142 (D.C. Cir.
relevant part, D.C. Code § 23-110 provides:
A prisoner in custody under sentence of the Superior Court
claiming the right to be released upon the ground that (1)
the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution of
the United States or the laws of the District of Columbia,
(2) the court was without jurisdiction to impose the
sentence, (3) the sentence was in excess of the maximum
authorized by law, (4) the sentence is otherwise subject to
collateral attack, may move the court to vacate, set aside,
or correct the sentence.
D.C. Code § 23-110(a). Such a motion “shall not be
entertained . . . by any Federal . . . court if it appears
that the applicant has failed to make a motion for relief
under this section or that the Superior Court has denied him
relief, unless it also appears that the remedy by motion is
inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his
detention.” D.C. Code § 23-110(g); see
Williams v. Martinez, 586 F.3d 995, 998 (D.C. Cir. 2009)
(“Section 23-110(g)'s plain language makes clear
that it only divests federal courts of jurisdiction to hear
habeas petitions by prisoners who could have raised viable
claims pursuant to section 23-110(a).”). Hence, this
federal district court has jurisdiction only over
“those claims that could [not] have been raised [under
§] 23-110.” Williams, 586 F.3d at 999
(quoting Blair-Bey v. Quick, 151 F.3d 1036, 1043
(D.C. Cir. 1998)); see Ibrahim, 661 F.3d at 1142
(stating that “the availability of relief by motion
under § 23-110 typically precludes the challenger from
seeking habeas relief in federal court”).
is well established that claims predicated on prosecutorial
misconduct . . . are ‘cognizable under §
23-110.'” Roberson v. United States, No.
18-cv-1469, 2018 WL 5777394, at *2 (D.D.C. Nov. 2, 2018)
(quoting Saunders v. United States, 72 F.Supp.3d
105, 109 (D.D.C. 2014)); see Richardson v. Stephens,
No. 11-5004, 2011 WL 8363538, at *1 (D.C. Cir. July 25, 2011)
(per curiam). So, too, are claims arising from the imposition
of an illegal sentence. See Johnson v. Stansberry,
No. 10-cv-0178, 2010 WL 358521, at *1 (D.D.C. Jan. 29, 2010).
If, as Petitioner represents, see Pet. at 3, he has
raised these issues in the District of Columbia courts, he
has no recourse in federal court merely because his efforts
were unsuccessful. See, e.g, Plummer v. Fenty, 321
Fed.Appx. 7, 8 (D.C. Cir. 2009) (per curiam); Graham v.
FCC Coleman USP II Warden, No. 14-cv-1567, 2016 WL
2962190, at *3 (D.D.C. May 20, 2016); Pinkney v. United
States, No. 11-5239, 2012 WL 5995435, at *1 (D.C. Cir.
Feb. 10, 2012) (per curiam) (citing Garris v.
Lindsay, 794 F.2d 722, 727 (D.C. Cir. 1986)).
Court therefore denies the petition for a writ of habeas
corpus. An Order ...