United States District Court, District of Columbia
BERMAN JACKSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Douglas Wardrick is a D.C. Code offender appearing pro
se. He has filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus
under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, asserting that he is entitled to
a sentence reduction in light of the holding in Johnson
v. United States, __ U.S. __, 135 S.Ct. 2551, 2563
(2015). For the reasons that follow, the petition will be
dismissed for want of jurisdiction.
Superior Court jury convicted petitioner in 2010 of two
counts of second-degree burglary and one count each of
malicious destruction of property, possession of implements
of crime, and assault with a dangerous weapon (vehicle).
See Gov't's Opp'n to Pet'r's
Pet. for Writ of Habeas Corpus at 1-2 [Dkt. # 7]; Pet. at 2
[Dkt. # 1]; Wardrick v. United States, No.
15-CO-1004 (D.C. Mar. 23, 2017) (per curiam) [Dkt. # 1-1].
Judge Anthony C. Epstein sentenced petitioner to a total of
312 months' incarceration. Id. Petitioner's
convictions were affirmed by summary disposition on March 20,
2012. See Wardrick v. United States, 40 A.3d 18
(D.C. Mar. 20, 2012) (Table). After overcoming hurdles under
the habeas successive rule, see Gov't's
Opp'n at 2-3, petitioner was allowed to proceed in this
Court under § 2254, and the government was ordered to
show cause why the writ of habeas corpus should not issue.
See Nov. 26, 2018 Order [Dkt. # 2] (citing In
re: Douglas Wardick, No. 17-3028 (D.C. Cir. July 31,
2018)). The government filed an opposition to the petition
[Dkt. # 8], and petitioner filed a reply [Dkt. # 9].
allegations of . . . an answer to an order to show cause in a
habeas corpus proceeding, if not traversed, shall be accepted
as true except to the extent that the judge finds from the
evidence that they are not true.” 28 U.S.C. §
2248. 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). But unlike prisoners challenging state or
federal court convictions, “District of Columbia
prisoner[s] ha[ve] no recourse to a federal judicial forum
unless [it is shown that] the local remedy is inadequate or
ineffective to test the legality of his detention.”
Garris v. Lindsay, 794 F.2d 722, 726 (D.C. Cir.
1986) (internal footnote and quotation marks omitted);
see Byrd v. Henderson, 119 F.3d 34, 36-37 (D.C. Cir.
1997) (“In order to collaterally attack his sentence in
an Article III court a District of Columbia prisoner faces a
hurdle that a federal prisoner does not.”).
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.
Id. § 23-110(a). It also states:
An application for a writ of habeas corpus in behalf of a
prisoner who is authorized to apply for relief by motion
pursuant to this section 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.
Id. § 23-110(g). Section 23-110 has been
described as “a remedy analogous to 28 U.S.C. §
2255 for prisoners sentenced in D.C. Superior Court who wish[
] to challenge their conviction or sentence, ”
Blair-Bey v. Quick, 151 F.3d 1036, 1042-43 (D.C.
Cir. 1998), and it has been the vehicle for D.C. prisoners to
collaterally attack their sentences since passage of the
Court Reform Act in 1970, Byrd, 119 F.3d at 36-37.
government argues that D.C. Code § 23-110(g) bars
federal court review of petitioner's claim. Opp'n at
4-5. The Court agrees. The Court of Appeals has interpreted
§ 23-110(g) as “divest[ing] federal courts of
jurisdiction to hear habeas petitions by prisoners who could
have raised viable claims pursuant to §
23-110(a).” Williams v. Martinez, 586 F.3d
995, 998 (D.C. Cir. 2009); see Ibrahim v. United
States, 661 F.3d 1141, 1146 (D.C. Cir. 2011) (explaining
that “§ 23-110(g) is not a procedural bar to
otherwise available federal habeas claims; it is
Congress's deliberate channeling of constitutional
collateral attacks on Superior Court sentences to courts
within the District's judicial system (subject to Supreme
Court review), with federal habeas available only as a safety
valve”) (parenthesis in original)).
indicated above, petitioner relies on “a new rule of
constitutional law, made retroactive to cases on collateral
review by the Supreme Court[.]” 28 U.S.C. §
2254(e)(2)(A)(i). In Johnson, the Supreme Court
considered the sentence enhancement provisions of the Armed
Career Criminal Act of 1984, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B);
determined that the definition of “violent
felony” for enhancement purposes was unconstitutionally
vague; and held “that imposing an increased sentence
under the residual clause of the . . . Act violates the
Constitution's guarantee of due process.” 135 S.Ct.
at 2563. The Court subsequently held that “the rule