United States District Court, D. Hawaii
MICHAEL K. CIACCI, Petitioner,
UNITED STATES PROBATION OFFICE, Respondent.
ORDER GRANTING IN FORMA PAUPERIS APPLICATION;
DISMISSING PETITION; AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF
Derrick K. Watson United States District Judge.
the Court is Petitioner Michael K. Ciacci's petition for
a writ of habeas corpus brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2254 (“Petition”),  and Application to Proceed in
District Court Without Prepaying Fees or Costs (“IFP
Application”). Ciacci is currently serving his term of
supervised release, pursuant to his 2013 conviction in the
District of Columbia Superior Court (“Superior
Court”), in Hawaii under the authority of the United
States Parole Commission. See D.C. Code §
following reasons, the IFP Application is GRANTED,
Petition is DISMISSED, and any request for certificate of
appealability is DENIED.
September 12, 2013, Ciacci was found guilty in the Superior
Court for the District of Columbia (“Superior
Court”) of: (1) Aggravated Assault Knowingly While
Armed (“Count 2 ”); (2) Assault With A Dangerous
Weapon (“Count 3 ”); and (3) Assault with
Significant Bodily Injury (“Count 4”).
See Pet., ECF No. 1, at PageID #2; see also
United States v. Ciacci, 2011 CF2 012334 (D.C. Super.
November 15, 2013, the Superior Court sentenced Ciacci to 96
months imprisonment with five years supervised release on
Count 2; 48 months imprisonment with three years supervised
release on Count 3; and 24 months imprisonment with three
years supervised release on Count 4, all terms to run
concurrently. Ciacci, 2011 CF2 012334; see
also Pet., ECF No. 1, at PageID #2. On November 27,
2013, Ciacci directly appealed his conviction and sentence.
See Ciacci v. United States, 13-CF-1359 (D.C. Ct.
10, 2015, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
(“D.C. Court of Appeals”) affirmed Ciacci's
conviction in part, remanding to the Superior Court “to
vacate the lesser-included convictions affected by the
merger” of Count 2 with Counts 3 and 4. See
Ciacci, 13-CF-1359; 2011 CF2 012334.
16, 2015, the Superior Court issued an Amended Judgment that
merged Count 2 with Counts 3 and 4. It imposed a 48-month
term on Count 3 and a 24-month term on Count 4, terms to run
concurrently, with three-year terms of supervised release on
both Counts. Id.
December 3, 2013, while his direct appeal was pending, Ciacci
also filed a Motion to Vacate, Set Aside or Correct Sentence
and Judgment (“Motion”), pursuant to D.C. Code
§ 23-110. The Superior Court denied the Motion on March
9, 2015. Id. Ciacci appealed, and the D.C. Court of
Appeals affirmed on September 21, 2016. See Ciacci v.
United States, App. No. 15-CO-0334 (D.C. App. 2016). The
mandate issued on October 13, 2016.
also filed a previous federal habeas petition, pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2254, in the U.S. District Court for the
Eastern District of North Carolina, where he was then
confined. See Ciacci v. Tripp, Civ. No
5:15-HC-2062-F (E.D. N. Car. Dec. 15, 2015). That petition
was summarily dismissed for lack of venue, jurisdiction, and
because Ciacci's § 23-110 was still pending in the
D.C. Superior Court. Id.
filed the present Petition on September 4, 2019, after he was
placed on supervised release in Hawaii. He “seeks
relief from his [Superior Court] sentence on the grounds that
the sentence violates the United States Constitution.”
Pet., ECF No. 1, at PageID #1. Ciacci alleges that his
sentence violates the Fifth and Sixth Amendments because: (1)
the judge who presided at his criminal trial was assigned to
review and adjudicate his D.C. Code § 23-110 Motion; (2)
his court-appointed public defender provided ineffective
assistance of counsel before and during trial; and (3) his
sentence, which included terms of incarceration and terms of
supervised release, allegedly constitutes two separate
sentences for one crime in violation of the Fifth
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court must screen all petitions for writ of habeas corpus
before service to determine if “it plainly appears from
the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is
not entitled to relief in the district court.” Rule 4,
Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the U.S. District
Courts (2012). As a pro se litigant, the petitioner's
pleadings are accorded liberal construction and held to a
less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by
attorneys. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89,