Barrett v. PetersAnnotate this Case
Petitioner Jacob Barrett committed aggravated murder in Oregon and was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Pursuant to the Interstate Corrections Compact (ICC), Oregon transferred petitioner to an institution in the state of Florida. Thereafter, petitioner filed, in Oregon, two separate petitions for writ of habeas corpus alleging, among other things, that the terms of his confinement in Florida violated his rights under the state and federal constitutions. Defendant Colette Peters, Director of the Oregon Department of Corrections moved to “deny” petitioner’s first habeas petition for failure to state a claim. The state argued that the director was not a proper defendant because she did not have physical custody of petitioner and because she did not control the conditions of confinement in Florida. The trial court agreed with the state and dismissed petitioner’s first habeas petition with prejudice. Subsequently, the trial court, acting sua sponte, dismissed petitioner’s second petition for the same reasons that it had dismissed petitioner’s first petition. In reversing both of the trial court's decisions, the Court of Appeal held that an Oregon inmate incarcerated out of state pursuant to the ICC retained the right to petition for a writ of habeas corpus in Oregon to remedy alleged unconstitutional conditions of confinement and that petitioner had properly named the Director of ODOC as defendant. The state sought review of both cases, raising three issues: (1) whether Oregon law permits an inmate confined outside of Oregon pursuant to the ICC to file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in Oregon; (2) whether petitioner alleged cognizable habeas corpus claims in contesting the conditions of his confinement in Florida; and (3) whether petitioner properly named the Director of ODOC as defendant in these cases. After review, the Oregon Supreme Court concluded that petitioner’s transfer to and confinement in Florida did not prohibit him from bringing those constitutional claims, and affirmed the Court of Appeals.