Maddox v. Elzie

Decision Date12 January 2001
Docket NumberNo. 00-3018,00-3018
Citation238 F.3d 437,345 U.S.App. D.C. 58
Parties(D.C. Cir. 2001) Edward Maddox, Appellee v. Michelle Elzie, et al., Appellants
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — District of Columbia Circuit

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (No. 96cr00151-01) Mary L. Wilson, Assistant Corporation Counsel, argued the cause for appellant. With her on the briefs were Robert Rigsby, Corporation Counsel, and Charles L. Reischel, Deputy Corporation Counsel.

Valinda Jones, Assistant U.S. Attorney, argued the cause for amicus curiae The United States of America. With her on the brief were Wilma A. Lewis, U.S. Attorney, John R. Fisher, Thomas J. Tourish, Jr. and Ronald Dixon, Assistant U.S. Attorneys.

Mary Manning Petras, appointed by the court, argued the cause and filed the brief for appellee.

Before: Rogers and Garland, Circuit Judges and Silberman, Senior Circuit Judge.

Opinion for the Court filed by Circuit Judge Rogers.

Rogers, Circuit Judge:

Michelle Elzie1 and the District of Columbia Board of Parole (collectively "the Board") appeal the order granting, in part, Edward Maddox's petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The Board contends as a threshold matter that the district court erred in not requiring Maddox to exhaust his habeas corpus remedies in the District of Columbia courts before allowing him to challenge, under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (1994), his service of a sentence imposed by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. On the merits, the Board contends that the district court erred in partially granting the writ because Maddox failed to show that the manner in which the Board conducted his parole revocation hearing resulted in any prejudicial violation of his due process rights. We reverse the district court's order on the merits without deciding the exhaustion issue.

I.

The United States Attorney prosecuted Maddox three times in the United States district court in connection with his April 9, 1996, arrest. The first trial resulted in a mistrial; Maddox was convicted at the second trial, but his conviction was reversed because of prosecutorial misconduct during closing argument, see United States v. Maddox, 156 F.3d 1280 (D.C. Cir. 1998) ("Maddox I"); the jury found him not guilty at the third trial.2 After the reversal of Maddox's

second conviction, the Board lodged a parole violation warrant for Maddox's prior D.C. Superior Court sentence; Maddox therefore remained in custody following his acquittal.3 The Board thereafter revoked his parole, and Maddox filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (1994).4 In seeking reinstatement of his parole, Maddox argued that the trial prosecutor's appearance at the revocation hearing was in retaliation for Maddox's exercise of his statutory right to appeal and his constitutional right to a jury trial, and thus violated his right to due process. Under the circumstances, he argued that the court must presume vindictiveness, and alternatively, that there was actual vindictiveness. See Maddox v. Elzie, 83 F. Supp. 2d 113, 120 (D.D.C. 1999) ("Maddox II"). In addition, he argued that the trial prosecutor's ex parte meeting with the Board violated his due process rights to confront and to cross-examine witnesses.

Following a hearing, the district court granted the writ in part. The district court found that Maddox had been denied his constitutional rights to due process, specifically his right to confront adverse witnesses and his right to be present at every stage of the revocation proceeding. See id. at 121. In addition, because the trial prosecutor appeared not only as a witness, but presented evidence and argument and crossexamined witnesses, the district court ruled that inasmuch as the trial prosecutor had no legal right to participate in the revocation hearing, his "excessive" conduct constituted actual prosecutorial vindictiveness. Id. at 121-23. The district court ordered that a new revocation hearing be held in accordance with certain conditions, and continued Maddox's detention while retaining jurisdiction of the case.5 Id. at 124-25. The Board's motion to alter or amend the judgment under Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e) was denied.6

II.

As a threshold matter, the Board contends that the district court should have required Maddox to exhaust his habeas corpus remedies in the District of Columbia courts because he was challenging his reincarceration on a sentence imposed by the D.C. Superior Court. Although the Board acknowledged that under Blair-Bey v. Quick, 151 F.3d 1036 (D.C. Cir. 1998), a D.C. prisoner may challenge his parole revocation in federal court by means of a habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (1994), the Board maintains that a D.C. prisoner, "like any other state prisoner," must first exhaust his local habeas corpus remedies in the District of Columbia courts. See, e.g., Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 731 (1991) (and cases cited). The Board relies for its exhaustion argument on the long-established principle that federal courts should not interfere with a State conviction or with the service of a State sentence until the State courts address any errors.

We are not unsympathetic to the Board's view that requiring a D.C. prisoner to exhaust his habeas remedies under District of Columbia law before filing a petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 follows logically from the establishment of a State-type court system for the District of Columbia. See District of Columbia Court Reform and Criminal Procedure Act of 1970, Pub. L. No. 91-358, 84 Stat. 473 (1970) ("Court Reform Act"). After the expansion of the federal courts' habeas corpus jurisdiction to include cases in which State prisoners are held in violation of the United States Constitution, the Supreme Court recognized that federal courts had the power to grant relief to State prisoners and that, as a consequence, there was a potential for conflict between federal and State courts. See Irvin v. Dowd, 359 U.S. 394, 404-05 (1959). The potential for such conflict necessitated, in the Court's view, exhaustion of State remedies before the federal courts intervened. The Court explained:

[t]he principles are now reasonably clear. Ordinarily an application for habeas corpus by one detained under a state court judgment of conviction for crime will be entertained by a federal court only after all state remedies available, including all appellate remedies in the state court and in [the Supreme] Court by appeal or writ of certiorari have been exhausted.

Id. at 405 (quoting Ex parte Hawk, 321 U.S. 114, 116-17 (1944)).7 Congress codified the exhaustion doctrine in 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (1994 & Supp. IV 1998).8 See Irvin, 359 U.S. at 405.

The Board contends that for the reasons noted in Irvin v. Dowd the exhaustion doctrine embodied in § 2254 should apply to D.C. prisoners. To overcome the fact that the District of Columbia is not a State, the Board points out that § 2254 was enacted before the District of Columbia had an independent court system equivalent to a State system and at a time when most criminal prosecutions for violation of District of Columbia law had to be filed in the federal courts. See Palmore v. United States, 411 U.S. 389, 392 n.2, 408-09 (1973); Thompson v. United States, 548 F.2d 1031, 1033-34 (D.C. Cir. 1976). Once Congress established a separate State-type court system for the District of Columbia with its own habeas corpus remedies, see D.C. Code §§ 16-1901,

23-110 (1981), 9 the Board

maintains there is no reason not to treat D.C. prisoners like State prisoners and require D.C. prisoners to exhaust their District of Columbia law remedies. Maddox responds that, in view of the statement by the court in Blair-Bey, 151 F.3d at 1044, that District of Columbia and federal remedies are equally available to D.C. prisoners, he was not required to exhaust his remedies under District of Columbia law before filing a petition under § 2241.

The court was not confronted in Blair-Bey with an exhaustion issue because the defendant in that case had, in fact, exhausted his remedies under District of Columbia law. See id. at 1038. Consequently, the court had no occasion to address the exhaustion contention that the Board now pres ents. Congress did not specifically address the question in the Court Reform Act, and the question whether a D.C. prisoner should be treated as a State prisoner for purposes of § 2254 is an open question in this circuit. The court has addressed the question of whether the District of Columbia is to be treated as a State in connection with a § 2241 habeas petition attacking a D.C. conviction and sentence. In Garris v. Lindsay, 794 F.2d 722 (D.C. Cir. 1986), the court applied the appeal requirements of 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(1) (Supp. IV 1998)10 by treating a D.C. Superior Court conviction and sentence as "detention ... aris[ing] out of process issued by a State court."11 Id. at 724 (interpreting an earlier version of 28 U.S.C. § 2253). Whatever the logical import of Garris may be for purposes of the Board's exhaustion contention, the court need not resolve this question today because the district court erred in ruling that Maddox was denied due process at his parole revocation hearing. Cf. Montez v. McKinna, 208 F.3d 862, 866 (10th Cir. 2000); see also 28 U.S.C. S 2254(b)(2)(Supp. IV 1998).12

III.

The Board contends that the district court erred in granting Maddox partial habeas corpus relief on the ground that he was denied due process at his parole revocation hearing. Essentially, the Board maintains that Maddox failed to show any prejudicial constitutional error because his acquittal after trial did not preclude the Board from revoking parole, if appropriate, following a hearing. Joined by the United States as amicus curiae, the Board maintains that a review of the revocation hearing, including the trial prosecutor's conduct, demonstrates that Maddox had a full and fair hearing...

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