United States District Court, District of Columbia
L. Friedrich United States District Judge.
Wallace Mitchell was sentenced in the Superior Court of the
District of Columbia to twenty years to life imprisonment.
Mitchell v. United States, 629 A.2d 10, 11 n.2 (D.C.
1993). On December 14, 2018, Mitchell mailed a petition for a
writ of habeas corpus under 18 U.S.C. § 2241 from the
District of Columbia's Central Detention Facility.
See Pet., Dkt. 1. In response to a Show Cause Order,
Dkt. 5, Respondent Lennard Johnson, Warden of the D.C. Jail,
argued that the petition should be denied, see
Resp't's Resp., Dkt. 9. On May 7, 2019, the Court
directed Mitchell to file his reply, if any, by June 7, 2019.
May 7, 2019 Order, Dkt. 10. Mitchell did not file any reply,
and on August 14, 2019, the Court ordered supplemental
briefing from both parties. Aug. 14, 2019 Order, Dkt. 12.
Johnson responded on September 6, 2019, Resp't's
Mem., Dkt. 15, but Mitchell again failed to respond in any
way to the Court's Order. For the reasons that follow,
the Court will deny his petition.
alleges that, on November 19, 2018, he was placed, for an
“indefinite” period of time, “in punitive
segregation” with “no notice [or] opportunity to
be heard.” Pet. at 3. According to Mitchell, “the
conditions in punitive segregation amount to solitary
confinement [with] virtually no human contact.”
Id. at 8. He represents that, in punitive
segregation, lights continuously remain on, cells contain
mold, no health care is provided, no outdoor recreation is
permitted, and inmates lack access to running water and are
required to wear handcuffs and leg irons when out of a cell.
Id. at 8-9. Mitchell also claims that he cannot earn
good-time credit, participate in programs, or meet with a
case manager to arrange calls with an attorney. Id.
at 8. Mitchell asserts that respondent denied him due
process, id. at 7, and he demands an order
“enjoin[ing] respondent from any segregation placements
without due process, ” restoration of good-time credit,
and his “return to the general population of the
jail, ” id. at 9. He also seeks an evidentiary
hearing “to create a record for review” and a
ruling on whether his placements meet the mootness exception
for claims that are “rep[e]titive, yet able to escape .
. . review.” Id.
asserts that the D.C. Jail “does not have an inmate
housing status called ‘punitive
segregation.'” Carrington Decl. ¶ 9, Dkt. 9-6.
It does, however, have “housing designated for inmates
requesting or requiring protection from other inmates for
reasons of health or safety.” Id. ¶ 6;
see also Inmate Disciplinary and Administrative
Housing Hearing Procedures at 9, Dkt. 9-7 (describing
“protective custody” as a “designation
assigned to an inmate requesting or requiring
protection”). According to Johnson, Mitchell was placed
in protective custody on November 19, 2018, and he remained
there until he was transferred to the general population unit
on December 18, 2018. Carrington Decl. ¶¶ 5-8.
also disputes the majority of Mitchell's allegations
regarding the conditions of protective custody.
Resp't's Resp. at 3-4. For example, he explains, with
citation to specific evidence, that inmates placed in
protective custody have access to healthcare, legal services,
running water, and lights that they may control. Denton Decl.
¶¶ 18-19. He also states that inmates may
participate in two hours of recreation each day. Id.
begin, this action is moot because Mitchell is no longer in
protective custody. “[E]vents have so transpired that
[a] decision will neither presently affect the parties'
rights nor have a more-than-speculative chance of affecting
them in the future.” Reid v. Hurwitz, 920 F.3d
828, 832 (D.C. Cir. 2019) (internal quotation marks omitted).
invokes an exception to the mootness doctrine for cases that
are “capable of repetition, yet evading review.”
Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). But that
exception applies only when “(1) the challenged action
is in its duration too short to be fully litigated prior to
its cessation or expiration, and (2) there is a reasonable
expectation that the same complaining party will be subject
to the same action again.” Id. at 832-33
(internal quotation marks omitted). Although the challenged
action here is “in its duration too short to be fully
litigated prior its cessation, ” Mitchell has not
established that there is “a reasonable expectation
that [he] will be subject to the same action again.”
Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). Despite
multiple opportunities to submit supplemental briefing,
see May 7, 2019 Order; Aug. 14, 2019 Order, Mitchell
has not even alleged that he reasonably expects to be placed
in protective custody again, let alone offered evidence in
support of such an allegation. He has not, for example,
provided any details about any previous confinements in
administrative segregation or alleged with any specificity a
policy or practice of subjecting him to administrative
segregation. Cf. Id. at 834 (“Having been
placed in a [Special Housing Unit] in myriad different . . .
institutions, subject each time to a restriction allegedly
imposed under a purported [Bureau of Prisons] policy or
practice contravening [Bureau of Prisons] regulations, Reid
has proffered a logical theory that the challenged actions
reasonably will recur despite his current transfer out of the
[Special Housing Unit].”). Mitchell has therefore
failed to establish that this case is capable of repetition,
yet evading review.
Court also notes, with respect to Mitchell's due process
claim, that prisoners “d[o] not have a liberty interest
in avoiding . . . placement in administrative
segregation.” Neal v. District of Columbia,
131 F.3d 172, 174 (D.C. Cir. 1997). Housing determinations
are generally considered “commonplace judgments in the
day-to-day management of prisons” and “do not
give rise to liberty interests” unless “the
prisoner is subjected to some extraordinary treatment.”
Franklin v. District of Columbia, 163 F.3d 625,
634-35 (D.C. Cir. 1998) (internal quotation marks omitted);
see also Id. at 635 n.8; Hatch v. District of
Columbia, 184 F.3d 846, 856 (D.C. Cir. 1999) (“[A]
deprivation in prison implicates a liberty interest protected
by the Due Process Clause only when it imposes an atypical
and significant hardship on an inmate in relation to the most
restrictive confinement conditions that prison officials,
exercising their administrative authority to ensure
institutional safety and good order, routinely impose on
inmates serving similar sentences.” (internal quotation
marks omitted)). In light of the record evidence here, the
Court cannot conclude that either the 30-day duration or the
conditions of Mitchell's segregation were extraordinary
or atypical relative to the “comparative
baseline” of other “confinement conditions that
prison officials routinely impose.” Hatch, 184
F.3d at 856; see also Sandin v. Connor, 515 U.S.
472, 486-87 (1995) (holding that 30 days in segregation
“was within the range of confinement to be normally
expected for one serving an indeterminate term of 30 years to
life”); Neal, 131 F.3d at 173, 175 (finding no
liberty interest in a 6-month administrative segregation for
one serving 49 to 147 years).
Mitchell's demand for good-time credit must be denied.
Mitchell argues that he has a statutory liberty interest in
good-time credit arising “under the old, old law in
effect at the time of his alleged crime, ” Pet. at 8,
presumably referring to D.C.'s Good Time Credit Act of
1986 (GTCA), D.C. Code § 24-201.29 (repealed Aug. 20,
1994). Under the law of this Circuit, however, individuals
convicted of first-degree murder are not entitled to
good-time credit under the GTCA. See Poole v. Kelly,
954 F.2d 760 (D.C. Cir. 1992) (per curiam) (denying habeas
petitions challenging failure to award good time credit on
the ground that the GTCA does not entitle persons sentenced
for first-degree murder under the D.C. Code to credits);
see also Mitchell v. Johnson, No. 17-cv-764, 2018 WL
4637361, at *1 n.1 (D.D.C. Sept. 27, 2018) (similar);
Mitchell, 629 A.2d at 11 n.2 (affirming Mr.
Mitchell's conviction for first-degree murder under the
these reasons, the Court denies the Mitchell's petition.
A separate order ...