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Square v. Deville

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

September 26, 2018

JOHN EARL SQUARE
v.
KEITH DEVILLE

          RULING AND ORDER

          BRIAN A. JACKSON JUDGE

         Before the Court is the Emergency Motion for Temporary Injunction; Prohibiting Further Custody (Doc. 7) filed by Petitioner, John Earl Square. For the reasons set forth herein, the Motion is DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On February 24, 2017, Petitioner, proceeding pro se, initiated this action by filing a petition for habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Doc. 1). At the time of filing the Habeas Corpus Petition, Petitioner was confined at Winn Correctional Center in Louisiana. (Doc. 1 at p. 1). Petitioner challenges the constitutionality of Louisiana Revised Statutes § 15:571.5, which provides for supervision upon release after the diminution of a sentence for good behavior. Petitioner argues that he "has a vested 'liberty interest' in the good time earned protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment under the United States Constitution," and questions whether Respondent's imposition of his criminal sentence "void[ed] Petitioner's guilty plea." (Doc. 1) Petitioner's Habeas Corpus Petition is pending.

         Approximately one year after Petitioner filed the pending Habeas Corpus Petition, Petitioner filed the instant Motion. Petitioner asks this Court to "prevent further custody of his person until this Honorable Court has rendered judgment" with respect to the Habeas Corpus Petition. (Doc. 7 at p. 1). Petitioner avers he was released from physical custody on December 12, 2017 and that following his release, he went to live with his wife in California. (Id.). Petitioner further contends that following his return to California, a "Louisiana parole agent" called Petitioner to tell him "it was an oversight of the West Baton Rouge Work Facility for releasing him without first having enacted an Interstate Compact Agreement" with California. (Id. at p. 2). Petitioner asserts that the parole agent subsequently mailed Petitioner an Interstate Compact Offender Application and told Petitioner during a telephone call to return the signed application "within a week or I will file a warrant for your arrest." (Id.) Based on this telephone call, Petitioner contends that he is "under the threat of arrest without a crime," and asks this Court to issue an emergency injunction "prohibiting any 'parole supervision' upon petitioner until the rights of both parties have been so determined by this Honorable Court." (Id. at pp. 3-4).

         II. DISCUSSION

         Attached to the instant Motion are various documents related to Petitioner's December 12, 2017 release, including a "Statement of General Conditions under which Diminution of Sentence/Parole Supervision is Granted." (the "Statement") (Doc. 7-1 at p. 3). According to the Statement, certain conditions were imposed upon Petitioner at the time of his release, including that Petitioner would "not leave the State of Louisiana without written permission from my Parole Officer." (Id.). Accordingly, the Court interprets the instant Motion as a challenge to that particular condition of Petitioner's December 2017 release, and a request that this Court order Petitioner's immediate relief from the challenged condition of his parole supervision.[1]

         "Courts have repeatedly held that the sole remedy in seeking an immediate release from custody is not to seek an injunction, but rather to file a petition for writ of habeas corpus."[2] "[W]here, as here, a plaintiff is challenging 'the very fact or duration of his physical imprisonment, and the relief he seeks is a determination that he is entitled to immediate release or a speedier release from that imprisonment, his sole federal remedy is a writ of habeas corpus."[3] "Federal courts have consistently held that 'the conditions of parole and probation sufficiently restrain the individual to constitute custody"'[4]

         With respect to habeas corpus proceedings, "[a] state prisoner may seek relief under either § 2241 or § 2254 of Title 28 of the United States Code. Specifically, relief should be sought under § 2254 if the prisoner is challenging the legality of his underlying state conviction or the sentence imposed by the trial court, while relief should be sought under § 2241 if he is instead challenging the manner in which prison officials are executing his sentence."[5] The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has previously explained the distinction between the two statutes as whether, if the Petitioner prevailed on the merits, the result would apply "against the sentence as imposed" rather than as a correction to the sentence itself.[6]

         Here, to the extent the instant Motion reiterates arguments made by Petitioner in his pending Habeas Corpus Petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 and challenges the constitutionality of La. R.S. § 15:571.5, such claims shall not be addressed here. However, as the instant Motion also requests the Court to change how Petitioner's sentence is being imposed (i.e., Petitioner challenges a particular parole supervision condition imposed), the Court construes Petitioner's Motion as one brought under 28 U.S.C. §2241.[7]

         "Although § 2241 contains no explicit exhaustion requirement, [the Fifth Circuit] has required a petitioner seeking relief under § 2241 first to exhaust his state remedies."[8] "This exhaustion requirement is only satisfied when the substance of a federal habeas claim has been 'fairly presented' to the highest state court."[9] As the Fifth Circuit has explained:

[A] claim is not exhausted unless the habeas petitioner provides the highest state court with a "fair opportunity to pass upon the claim," which in turn requires that the applicant "present his claims before the state courts in a procedurally proper manner according to the rules of the state courts."[10]

         In Louisiana, the highest state court is the Supreme Court of Louisiana.[11] "The petitioner bears the burden of showing exhaustion of state remedies" and may "discharge that burden of proof by stating facts in the petition and by providing copies of briefs filed in state court or of state-court opinions demonstrating that the same issues have been presented to the state courts."[12] Here, although Petitioner contends that he has exhausted his state court remedies with respect to the claims set forth in his Habeas Corpus Petition, Petitioner has presented no evidence to suggest that he has submitted the instant challenge to the conditions of his release to any state court or that he has exhausted his state remedies. Given that Petitioner challenges the conditions of release that were imposed after the filing of his Habeas Corpus Petition, the Court finds it likely that Petitioner has not yet exhausted state remedies. In any event, Petitioner certainly has not carried his burden to show such exhaustion. Accordingly, the Emergency Motion for Temporary Injunction; Prohibiting Further Custody is DENIED.

         III. ...


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