United States of America, Plaintiff-appellee, v. William Blohm, Defendant-appellant.united States of America, Plaintiff-appellee, v. William Blohm, Defendant-appellant, 922 F.2d 836 (4th Cir. 1990)

Annotate this Case
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit - 922 F.2d 836 (4th Cir. 1990) Submitted May 16, 1990. Decided Dec. 19, 1990

Appeals from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, at Raleigh. W. Earl Britt, District Judge. (CA-86-1184-HC)

William Blohm, appellant pro se.

Stephen Aubrey West, Assistant United States Attorney, Raleigh, N.C., for appellee.


No. 89-7653 AFFIRMED AND No. 89-7746 DISMISSED.

Before K.K. HALL, CHAPMAN and WILKINS, Circuit Judges.


These two consolidated appeals were taken by William Blohm in his continuing quest to be unconditionally released from the Federal Correctional Center at Butner, North Carolina. Blohm has been incarcerated at F.C.I. Butner pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4246 pending release to state custody. See United States v. Blohm, 579 F. Supp. 495 (S.D.N.Y. 1983).

The district court ordered prison officials to obtain state placement for Blohm on an outpatient basis, so long as Blohm agreed to comply with a number of conditions of release. In No. 89-7653, Blohm moved for unconditional release from federal custody; the basis of the motion was his allegation that he was being held in federal custody for an indeterminate period of time without a trial, and he was incarcerated with convicted felons. The district court summarily denied the motion for release. In No. 89-7746, Blohm appealed an order of the district court which provided that, although prison officials were still obligated to continue to seek state placement for Blohm, that placement was no longer required to be on an outpatient basis, an element of the court's prior placement order.

No. 89-7653

Blohm's motion for immediate and unconditional release could have been construed as a habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 because Blohm was seeking habeas relief. The district court may order summary dismissal of a Sec. 2241 petition only if, after reviewing the motion, exhibits, files and transcripts relating to the judgment under attack, it is plainly apparent that the movant is not entitled to relief. See Raines v. United States, 423 F.2d 526, 529 (4th Cir. 1970). In this context, summary dismissal is a dismissal made without requiring an answer from the respondent. The district court's opinion should, as in any other habeas case, clearly and completely set out the court's analysis of the petitioner's claims and its reasons for ordering dismissal. See United States v. Edwards, 711 F.2d 633 (5th Cir. 1983); United States v. Counts, 691 F.2d 348 (7th Cir. 1982). Such an approach benefits both the parties and the reviewing court. See United States v. Marr, 856 F.2d 1471 (10th Cir. 1988).

In this case, it is a close question whether it is "plainly apparent" that Blohm's motion is meritless. Although the district court did not state the reasons for dismissal, the motion was an attempt to obtain the same relief as Blohm sought in the 18 U.S.C. § 4246 proceedings, namely release. As such, the motion for unconditional release was duplicative of the Sec. 4246 proceedings pending before the district court. There was no need to entertain two parallel actions in which Blohm was seeking the same relief on the same grounds--to do so would have allowed Blohm to maintain an essentially successive, although simultaneous, habeas-type action. Therefore, the district court's denial of the motion for unconditional release was not improper, and the district court's order is affirmed.

No. 89-7746

Blohm appealed the district court's order rescinding the previous order that prison officials seek outpatient release for Blohm. The district court also stated, however, that prison officials were still ordered to secure state placement for Blohm. The order was not a final, appealable order in that it did not end the litigation on its merits. 28 U.S.C. § 1291. Further, the district court did not certify the order for immediate appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b). Therefore, the appeal is interlocutory. Catlin v. United States, 324 U.S. 229, 233 (1945). We dismiss the appeal in No. 89-7746 for lack of jurisdiction.

We dispense with oral argument because the facts and legal contentions are adequately presented in the materials before the Court and argument would not significantly aid the decisional process.

No. 89-7653, AFFIRMED.

No. 89-7746, DISMISSED.