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Castillo v. Upton

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Fort Worth Division

May 2, 2018

ELISA CASTILLO, Petitioner,
v.
JODY R. UPTON, Warden, FMC-Carswell, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          REED O'CONNOR, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 2241 filed by Petitioner, Elisa Castillo, a federal prisoner confined at FMC-Carswell, against Jody R. Upton, warden of FMC-Carswell, Respondent. After considering the pleadings and relief sought by Petitioner, the Court has concluded that the petition should be denied.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Petitioner is serving a life sentence for her convictions in the Southern District of Texas for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Resp't's Resp. 2, doc. 6. This habeas petition involves the Initiative on Executive Clemency (IEC) for federal prisoners. Pet. Ex. A, ECF No. 1. According to the “Notice to Inmates: [IEC], ” attached to the petition as exhibit A, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the IEC in April 2014 as an “invitation” to prisoners to petition for executive clemency, seeking to have their sentences commuted, or reduced, by the president. Id. Prisoners were notified that the IEC is limited to inmates who:

• Are currently serving a federal sentence in prison and, by operation of law, likely would have received a substantially lower sentence if convicted of the same offense(s) today;
• Are non-violent, low-level offenders without significant ties to large-scale criminal organizations, gangs, or cartels;
• Have served at least 10 years of their sentence;
• Do not have a significant criminal history;
• Have demonstrated good conduct in prison; and
• Have no history of violence prior to or during their current term of imprisonment.

Id. Petitioner neither alleges nor demonstrates that she has filed a formal petition for clemency.

         II. ISSUES

         By way of this habeas action, Petitioner claims that former President Obama and the DOJ exercised executive clemency power and agency action in violation of the United States Constitution and federal regulations “in reviewing and granting clemency and/or sentence commutations.” Pet. 1, ECF No. 1. Specifically, she lists the following alleged constitutional and statutory violations (all spelling, punctuation, and/or grammatical errors are in the original):

1. Ex Post Facto Clause violation where the DOJ changed the criteria for qualifying for clemency, making it more onerous to qualify under the IEC than 28 CFR ยงยง 1.0-1.11. The criteria for the IEC were not in ...

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