CRIMINAL DEFENDANT’S HANDBOOK – Order Now!
“The writ of habeas corpus is the fundamental instrument for safeguarding individual freedom against arbitrary and lawless state action. Its pre-eminent role is recognized by the admonition in the Constitution that: ‘The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended. I US Const, Art I, §9, cl 2. The scope and flexibility of the writ – its capacity to reach all manner of illegal detention – its ability to cut through barriers of form and procedural mazes – have always been emphasized and jealously guarded by courts and lawmakers. The very nature of the writ demands that it be administered with the initiative and flexibility essential to insure that miscarriages of justice within its reach are surfaced and corrected.” Harris v. Nelson, 394 U.S. 286, 291, 22 L.Ed.2d 281, 89 S.Ct. 1082 (1969).
“As Blackstone phrased it, habeas corpus is ‘the great and efficacious writ, in all manner of illegal confinement.’ As this Court said in Fay v. Noia, 372 U.S. 391, 401-402, 9 L.Ed.2d 837, 83 S.Ct. 822 (1963), the office of the writ is ‘to provide a prompt and efficacious remedy for whatever society deems to be intolerable restraints.’ See Peyton v. Rowe, 391 U.S. 54, 65-67, 20 L.Ed.2d 426, 88 S.Ct. 1549 (1968).” -Id, at 291.
Section 2255 affords federal prisoners a “remedy exactly commensurate with that which had previously been available by habeas corpus.” Hill v. United States, 368 U.S. 424, 427, 7 L.Ed.2d 417, 82 S.Ct. 468 (1962). The savings clause of section 2255 provides a section 2241 remedy for AEDPA-barred claims when section 2255 remedy is inadequate or ineffective.
Federal prisoner section 2241 petitions are not subject to the provisions of AEDPA. The “text [of §2241] remained undisturbed by…AEDPA.” INS v. St. Cyr, 533 U.S. 289, 150 L.Ed.2d 347, 121 S.Ct. 2271, 2282 n.25 (2001).
The range of situations in which courts have concluded that the inadequacy of section 2255 remedies applies is very narrow.
A. Administration of Parole
Challenge to Parole Commission decisions setting terms of parole should be brought in habeas corpus, not section 2255. Doganiere v. United States, 914 F.2d 165, 169-70, (9th Cir. 1990).
B. Computation of Time Served
The computation of credit for pre-trial detention, good time credit, and other means of shortening sentences that are administered by prison officials should be brought in habeas corpus, not section 2255. The Supreme Court adjudicated the merits of federal prisoner’s habeas corpus petition challenging denial of credit toward service of prison term for pre-trial period during which prisoner was confined in community treatment center. Reno v. Koray, 515 U.S. 50, 52-55 n.1, 132 L.Ed.2d 46, 115 S.Ct. 2021 (1995).
“Federal prisoner was not required to exhaust his administrative remedies before filing habeas petition alleging that he was entitled to custody credit for state sentences that were imposed after commencement of federal sentence and expressly made concurrent to federal sentence; such exhaustion would be futile as government had announced its disagreement with prisoner’s request for credit, and prisoner would be entitled to immediate release if credit was given.” Buggs v. Crabtree, 32 F.Supp.2d 1215 (D.Or. 1998).
Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §3624(b) an inmate earns 54 days credit toward service of sentence for each year of “time served.” This is prorated when the time served is less than a full year. See, 28 C.F.R. §23.20. This means inmates serve 365 out of 419 days (365 + 54 = 419) of the sentence imposed, not 311 days for every year of imprisonment. For example, a three-year sentence imposed would result in a good time award of 141 days total (54 + 54 + 33), not 162 days (54 + 54 + 54).
There is some dispute regarding the calculation of good time credits being raised in some of the Circuit Courts as Congress intended good time credits be awarded based on the sentence imposed, not on time-served.
C. Prison Disciplinary Actions, Transfers and Types of Detention
A defendant challenging the manner in which his sentence is being executed rather than the validity of his conviction and sentence, is more properly construed as a petition for habeas corpus pursuant to section 2241, not section 2255. See, United States v. Tubwell, 37 F.3d 175, 177 (5th Cir. 1994); Dunne v. Keohane, 14 F.3d 335, 336-37 (7th Cir. 1994), cert-denied, 511 U.S. 1149 (1994).
Federal habeas may also be available to contest an unconstitutional transfer to another institution. See, Preiser v. Rodriquez, 411 U.S. 475, 486, 36 L.Ed.2d 439, 92 S.Ct. 1827 (1973). Habeas corpus is proper remedy for federal prisoner’s common law challenge to successive transfers between federal and state facilities.
D. Prison Conditions
Section 2241 governs “challenges to the length, appropriateness or conditions of confinement.” Kingsley v. United States Bureau of Prisons, 937 F.2d 26, 30 n.5 (2nd Cir. 1991). Habeas corpus is proper remedy for claim of arbitrary denial of good-time credits for prison labor. Waletzkiv. Keohane, 13 F.3d 1079, 1080-81 (7th Cir. 1994); citing Federal Habeas Corpus Practice and Procedures.
Habeas corpus jurisdiction over challenges to extradition is limited to inquiring, based on certified copy of foreign judgment of conviction at proceeding at which petitioner was present, whether magistrate had jurisdiction, whether offense is within extradition treaty, and whether there was any evidence warranting finding of probable cause to believe petitioner is guilty. Spatola v. United States, 925 F.2d 615, 617-19 (2nd Cir. 1991).
F. Removal by Deportation or Exclusion
Habeas Corpus has played a vital role in immigration cases as a vehicle for challenging deportation and exclusion orders. INS v. St.Cyr, 533 U.S. 289, 150 L.Ed.2d 347, 121 S.Ct. 2271, 2282-83 (2001). After numerous lower court decisions and one U.S. Supreme Court decision, the Supreme Court definitively reaffirmed the continuing vitality of the writ in immigration cases. See, Reno v. American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, 525 U.S. 471, 142 L.Ed.2d 940, 119 S.Ct. 936 (1999). Habeas corpus proceedings remain available as a forum for statutory and constitutional challenges to post-removal-period detention.
G. Court-Martial Proceedings
After a criminal conviction is reviewed in the military system, and a service member has exhausted other relief under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, he is entitled to bring a habeas corpus petition. See, Noyd v. Bond, 395 U.S. 683, 693-699, 23 L.Ed.2d 631, 89 S.Ct. 1876 (1969).
H. Burden of Proof, Filing and Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies
Habeas petitions filed by federal prisoners pursuant to section 2241 should be filed in the federal district of incarceration rather than the district of sentencing whereas section 2255 motions are filed in the district of sentencing rather than the district of incarceration.
The petitioner bears the burden of proving the section 2255 remedy is inadequate. The petitioner may be required to exhaust all available administrative remedies before seeking federal court review. A federal prisoner who failed to exhaust administrative remedies by filing timely appeal of disciplinary hearing officer’s ruling committed procedural default that bars habeas corpus review, absent showing of “cause” and “prejudice.” See, Nigro v. Sullivan, 40 F.3d 990 (9th Cir. 1994).