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Haines v. Archuleta

United States District Court, Tenth Circuit

December 17, 2013



PHILIP A. BRIMMER, District Judge.

The matter before the Court is an Application for a Writ of Habeas Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 [Docket No. 1] filed on July 17, 2013 by Applicant Christopher Haines. In an August 28, 2013 Order, this Court ordered Respondent to show cause within twenty-one days why the Application should not be granted [Docket No. 8]. On October 4, 2013, this Court issued a Second Order to Show Cause to Respondent [Docket No. 12]. Respondent filed a Response to Application for Writ of Habeas Corpus on October 18, 2013 [Docket No. 13]. Applicant filed a Reply on November 8, 2013 [Docket No. 14].

The Court has determined that it can resolve the Application without a hearing. 28 U.S.C. § 2243; see also Jeter v. Keohane, 739 F.2d 257 n.1 (7th Cir. 1984) ("An evidentiary hearing is not necessary when the facts essential to consideration of the constitutional issue are already before the court.").


Mr. Haines is an inmate in the custody of the Colorado Department of Corrections and is incarcerated at the Fremont Correctional Facility in Cañon City, Colorado. In 2005, he was found guilty of sexual assault on a child as part of a pattern of abuse, a class 3 felony, and was sentenced to an indeterminate term of imprisonment of sixteen years to natural life under the Colorado Sex Offender Lifetime Supervision Act of 1998 ("SOLSA"), Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-1.3-1001 et seq. [Docket No. 13-1]. The state district court classified Mr. Haines as a sex offender pursuant to SOLSA. Id.


Mr. Haines asserts two claims in the § 2241 Application, but contained within the second claim are two independent causes of action. Thus, Mr. Haines actually asserts three claims for relief. First, he challenges the computation of his parole eligibility date. Specifically, Mr. Haines argues that he is being forced to serve his entire determinate sentence of sixteen years before being considered eligible for parole in violation of his due process and equal protection rights. [Docket No. 1, at 2-7]. Mr. Haines contends that the time computation for his parole eligibility is subject to Colo. Rev. Stat. § 17-22.5-403. This statute mandates that any person sentenced for a class 3 felony is eligible for parole after the person has served fifty percent of his sentence, less any earned time credit. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 17-22.5-403.

Second, Mr. Haines asserts an equal protection claim based on the alleged disparate treatment of sex offenders. Mr. Haines alleges that only sex offenders serving indeterminate sentences under SOLSA are required to participate in sex offender treatment programs prior to being paroled, while sex offenders serving determinate sentences are not, in contravention of Colo. Rev. Stat. § 16-11.7-105 that mandates treatment for all sex offenders. [Docket No. 1, at 3-4, 8-9].

Third, Mr. Haines contends that he should not have to participate in sex offender treatment because he "was convicted under a Complicity Theory, and... any person convicted of complicity is not required to attend treatment." Id. at 9-10. Mr. Haines asserts that forcing him to undergo treatment constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment as well as a violation of due process under the Fourteenth Amendment. Id. at 11. As relief, Mr. Haines requests (1) that his parole eligibility be calculated under Colo. Rev. Stat. § 17-22.5-403; (2) that all sex offenders undergo treatment while incarcerated or that all sex offenders begin treatment as a parole requirement; and (3) that the requirement of sex offender treatment is not applicable to him because he was convicted of complicity. Id. at 14-15.

Respondent answers that Applicant has no constitutional or inherent right in parole, and that Applicant must complete the minimum incarceration term imposed ( i.e., 16 years), minus credit for presentence confinement and earned time, before he is eligible for parole. [Docket No. 13, at 2-4]. Respondent also asserts that Mr. Haines' equal protection claim fails because the differences in determinate and indeterminate sentences justify the different treatment of sex offenders for equal protection purposes. Id. at 4. Respondent, moreover, contends that the Colorado Department of Corrections merely prioritizes sex offenders for treatment based on various factors in accordance with CDOC Administrative Regulation 700-19. Id. at 4-5. Thus, Applicant's contention that offenders with determinate sentences are not required to undergo sex offender treatment is incorrect. Id. Finally, Respondent asserts that Mr. Haines is required to participate in sex offender treatment because he was convicted of sexual assault on a child and sentenced under SOLSA, which mandates sex offender treatment for all offenders sentenced under this statute. Id. at 5-7.


A. Pro Se Litigant

Mr. Haines is proceeding pro se. The court, therefore, "review[s] his pleadings and other papers liberally and hold[s] them to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys." Trackwell v. United States, 472 F.3d 1242, 1243 (10th Cir. 2007 (citations omitted); see also Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972). However, a pro se litigant's "conclusory allegations without supporting factual averments are insufficient to state a claim on which relief can be based." Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991). A court may not assume that an applicant can prove facts that have not been alleged or that a respondent has violated laws in ways that an applicant has not alleged. Associated Gen. Contractors of Cal., Inc. v. Cal. State ...

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