United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
VAN MEERVELD UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Horace Washington a/k/a Cornell Washington, a federal inmate
incarcerated in Texas, filed the instant federal application
seeking habeas corpus relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2254. For the following reasons, it is recommended that the
application be dismissed for lack of subject matter
November 4, 1993, petitioner was convicted in the Orleans
Parish Criminal District Court on a charge of possession with
intent to distribute cocaine, sentenced to a suspended
sentence of seven years, and placed on active probation for
five years. When he thereafter violated the terms of
probation, his probation was revoked, and the original
seven-year sentence was made executory.
serving that state sentence, petitioner was released and once
again ran afoul of the law. As a result, he ultimately
pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of possession
with intent to distribute cocaine base and was sentenced to
the mandatory minimum sentence of twenty years imprisonment
and ten years of supervised probation upon release from
imprisonment. His related appeal was then dismissed for want
of prosecution, and his subsequent motion for relief pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 was denied. United States v.
Washington, Crim. Action No. 03-209, 2010 WL 3923803
(E.D. La. Sept. 28, 2010) (Zainey, J.).
January of 2018, petitioner filed the instant federal
application seeking habeas corpus relief pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2254 in the United States District Court for
the Northern District of Mississippi. Because the application
challenges the validity of the 1993 state court criminal
judgment entered in Orleans Parish, the matter was
transferred to this Court. The state has filed a response in this
proceeding arguing that petitioner's § 2254
application should be dismissed for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction. The state is correct.
district courts have jurisdiction to entertain petitions for
writs of habeas corpus only from persons who are
“in custody in violation of the Constitution
or laws or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C.
§§ 2241(c)(3) and 2254(a) (emphasis added). Once a
sentence imposed for a conviction has fully expired, a
federal habeas corpus petitioner is no longer considered to
be “in custody” with respect to that conviction.
Maleng v. Cook, 490 U.S. 488, 492 (1989).
there is no dispute that petitioner is no longer in custody
with respect to the 1993 state court
conviction. Because he completed the sentence imposed
with respect to his 1993 state conviction long before he
filed this federal application in 2018, the Court lacks
subject matter jurisdiction to entertain this challenge to
that conviction. Fields v. Cain, Civ. Action No.
12-2143, 2012 WL 6674032, at *1 (E.D. La. Dec. 10, 2012),
adopted, 2012 WL 6673777 (E.D. La. Dec. 20, 2012);
Silvo v. Cain, Civ. Action No. 09-3692, 2009 WL
3151166, at *1 (E.D. La. Sept. 30, 2009); Johnson v.
Hubert, Civ. Action No. 08-688, 2008 WL 1746727, at *2
(E.D. La. Apr. 11, 2008).
an abundance of caution, the Court makes an additional
observation. Because petitioner is currently incarcerated
based on a subsequent federal conviction, and because his
federal sentence in that case was enhanced based in part on
the 1993 state conviction,  this habeas corpus petition could
be construed as a 28 U.S.C. § 2255 motion challenging
that related federal criminal judgment. Maleng, 490
U.S. at 493-94; Silvo, 2009 WL 3151166, at *2.
However, petitioner is clear in his federal application that
he is challenging his 1993 state conviction, not his
subsequent federal criminal judgment. Moreover, as already
noted, he filed a prior § 2255 motion and was denied
relief. Accordingly, he may not file another
§ 2255 motion challenging that same federal criminal
judgment unless he first obtains authorization to file a
second or successive motion from the United States Fifth
Circuit Court of Appeals. See 28 U.S.C. §
2255(h). He has not requested and been granted such
even if petitioner were able to file another § 2255
motion and had not waived his right to seek such relief as
part of his federal plea agreement, he would still be
prohibited from challenging the validity of his federal
criminal judgment on the grounds that his predicate state
criminal judgment was invalid. Specifically, the United
States Supreme Court has held:
If … a prior conviction used to enhance a federal
sentence is no longer open to direct or collateral attack in
its own right because the defendant failed to pursue those
remedies while they were available (or because the defendant
did so unsuccessfully), then that defendant is without
recourse. The presumption of validity that attached to the
prior conviction at the time of sentencing is conclusive, and
the defendant may not collaterally attack his prior
conviction through a motion under § 2255. A defendant
may challenge a prior conviction as the product of a
Gideon violation in a § 2255 motion, but
generally only if he raised that claim at his federal
sentencing proceeding. See United States v. Frady,
456 U.S. 152, 167-168, 102 S.Ct. 1584, 71 L.Ed.2d 816 (1982)
(holding that procedural default rules developed in the
habeas corpus context apply in § 2255 cases); see also
Reed v. Farley, 512 U.S. 339, 354-355, 114 S.Ct.
2291, 129 L.Ed.2d 277 (1994).
Daniels v. United States, 532 U.S. 374, 382-83
(2001). That same rule also applies in the context
of proceedings brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
Lackawanna County District Attorney v. Coss, 532
U.S. 394 (2001). Because petitioner's 1993 state
conviction is no longer open to direct or collateral attack,
is prohibited from challenging his subsequent enhanced
federal sentence in a § 2255 motion on the ground that
the 1993 state conviction was invalid.
therefore RECOMMENDED that petitioner's
federal application seeking habeas corpus relief pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2254 be DISMISS ...