Why your client wants to stay at the DB

Danger Will Robinson.

United States v. Parker and Woodruff

In these consolidated appeals, the Government challenged the district court’s orders dismissing its 18 U.S.C. § 4248 (2006) petitions for civil commitment of Lonnie Parker and James Woodruff, who were both convicted of various sex offenses and sentenced in military court-martial proceedings, but are currently housed within a Bureau of Prisons facility. The district court dismissed the Government’s petitions because it found that "§ 4248 does not apply to military prisoners [since] they are not `in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons’ pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4248(a)." In so holding, the district court relied on its order in a related case, United States v. Joshua, No. 5:09-hc-02035-BR (E.D.N.C. Jan. 13, 2010), which was recently affirmed by this court. See United States v. Joshua, 607 F.3d 379 (4th Cir. 2010) (holding that an individual convicted and sentenced by United States Army court-martial but housed within a facility operated by the Bureau of Prisons is not "in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons" under § 4248(a)). The Government concedes that these appeals present the same issue addressed in, and that the disposition of the appeals is controlled by Joshua.

Because we agree that Joshua controls the outcome of these appeals, we affirm the district court’s orders dismissing the Government’s petitions.

Long term prisoners at the USDB can end up in a federal prison near their family.  There are various ways this can happen, sometimes at the prisoners request.  See Para. 6.15, DODI 1325.7, Adminstration of Military Correctional Facilities and Clemency and Parole Authority.

Prisoners with approved sentences to confinement may be transferred to Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBOP) facilities with the concurrence or by direction of the appropriate Secretary of a Military Department or designee. Authority to transfer prisoners to the FBOP confers no right on prisoners to request transfer.

6.15.3. A prisoner’s desire to be or not to be transferred to a Federal institution need not be considered in making the transfer decision.

However, the above case illustrates a potential issue if the person is a sex offender.  Right now the Fourth Circuit holds that military prisoners in federal prisons are not subject to civil commitment based on United States v. Joshua.  That could change, and that holding is only applicable so far within the Fourth Circuit.