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United States v. Washington

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT


July 19, 1982

THE UNITED STATES
v.
AINSWORTH CHARLES JACKSON 1654 HOBART ST. WASHINGTON, D.C. AINSWORTH C. JACKSON APPELLANT

APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA

Opinion OF THE COURT

Per Curiam.

The question for decision is whether the district court had jurisdiction to entertain a pro se motion brought by appellant under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to vacate a sentence imposed in 1973, from which he was unconditionally released in 1979. The district court determined that it lacked jurisdiction. On the basis of the record before us, we have concluded that it is necessary to remand this case to the district court to determine whether the 1973 sentence directly affects the duration of appellant's present confinement under a subsequent conviction in another jurisdiction.

On September 24, 1979, appellant Ainsworth Jackson moved to vacate his 1973 conviction in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for possession of stolen government property, forgery, and uttering United States Treasury checks.*fn1 He had been unconditionally released from the sentence on these charges on May 4, 1979, but he was serving a five to fifteen year sentence in the District of Columbia for forgery, false pretenses, and uttering bank checks with intent to defraud. The district court held that it was without jurisdiction and dismissed the motion.*fn2 Jackson appeals solely on this issue.*fn3

Section 2255 provides in pertinent part:

A prisoner in custody under sentence of a court established by Act of Congress claiming the right to be released upon the ground that the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, . . . may move the court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside or correct the sentence.

On appeal, as in his motion to reconsider the order of the district court, Jackson argues that the district court had jurisdiction of his motion even though he was not in custody under the 1973 conviction, because his sentence under the 1977 conviction had been enhanced because of his prior conviction.*fn4 The government does not directly respond to this argument,*fn5 but it asserts that our decision in Kravitz v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 546 F.2d 1100 (3d Cir. 1977), is controlling. In Kravitz, the appellant filed a habeas corpus petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenging a conviction for which she was unconditionally released from custody at the time she filed her petition. We held that the custody requirement of § 2254 was not satisfied by one who, at the time of filing the petition, had been unconditionally released. Id. at 1102. However, Kravitz did not involve a situation where, as here, at the time the petition was filed the petitioner was "in custody" on another conviction which he was not attacking. We dealt with this problem in United States ex rel. Di Rienzo v. State of New Jersey, 423 F.2d 224 (3d Cir. 1970), in which we held that the district court had jurisdiction to entertain a habeas corpus petition if invalidation of petitioner's challenged sentence could eventually lead to a shortening of his present sentence. Similarly, in Lyons v. Brierley, 435 F.2d 1214 (3d Cir. 1970), relying on Di Rienzo, we held that when a completed earlier sentence which is under attack directly and indubitably affects the duration of a petitioner's confinement under a later sentence, there is no lack of custody or of jurisdiction to entertain the application for habeas corpus.

Because a record of appellant's 1977 sentencing proceedings in the District of Columbia apparently was not made available to the district court, and therefore is not properly before us, we unfortunately again must remand this case to the district court to determine whether the 1973 sentence directly affects the duration of appellant's confinement under the sentence which he is presently serving. See United States ex rel. Bell v. Pinto, 423 F.2d 511 (3d Cir. 1970) (per curiam). Our own independent research has disclosed that a record of the 1977 sentencing proceeding is now available in the District of Columbia.

We expressly do not meet the merits of appellant's contentions.

We therefore vacate the judgment of the district court and remand these proceedings for a determination of whether the conviction appellant challenges positively and demonstrably affects the duration of his confinement under the second sentence and therefore meets the custody requirement of § 2255.

The government is directed to make available to the district court forthwith a copy of the record in the 1977 sentencing proceedings in the District of Columbia.


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