STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
D'Elegance Sutherlin, petitioner,
Richard Folden, petitioner,
State of Minnesota,
Filed November 2, 1999
Washington County District Court
File No. C4991676
D'Elegance D. Sutherlin, 7525 Fourth Avenue, Lino Lakes, MN 55014 (pro se appellant)
Richard A. Folden, No. 109399, Minnesota Correctional Facility, 970 Pickett Street North, Bayport, MN 55003-1490 (pro se appellant)
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, Kari Jo Ferguson, Assistant Attorney General, 445 Minnesota Street, Suite 1100, St. Paul, MN 55101-2128 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Amundson, Presiding Judge, Peterson, Judge, and Foley, Judge.[*]
In this appeal from the dismissal of a writ of habeas corpus, appellants Richard Folden and D'Elegance Sutherlin argue that (1) a prison policy requiring the deduction of room and board costs from their wages violates the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment and the prohibition against bills of attainder, and (2) being forced to work for private industry constitutes involuntary servitude in violation of the Thirteenth Amendment. We affirm.
Appellants filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus claiming that (1) the deduction of room and board costs violates the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment and the prohibition against bills of attainder, and (2) being forced to work for private industry constitutes involuntary servitude in violation of the Thirteenth Amendment. The district court dismissed the petition on the grounds that (1) the issues raised by appellants were unrelated to their sentences and, therefore, not proper matters to be addressed in a habeas corpus proceeding and (2) appellants' claims were unsupported by any arguable basis in law or fact and were, therefore, frivolous.
The state argues that the issues raised by appellants are not proper matters to be addressed in a habeas proceeding. A writ of habeas corpus is a statutory civil remedy available "to obtain relief from [unlawful] imprisonment or restraint." Minn. Stat. § 589.01 (1998). Habeas is an appropriate remedy if the relief to which a petitioner may be entitled is immediate release. Kelsey v. State ex rel. McManus, 309 Minn. 560, 560-61, 244 N.W.2d 53, 54 (1976). But a writ of habeas corpus may also be used to raise claims involving fundamental constitutional rights and significant restraints on a defendant's liberty or to challenge the conditions of confinement. See, e.g., Kelsey v. State, 283 N.W.2d 892, 895 (Minn. 1979) (unconstitutional denial of parole; habeas may be used to challenge conditions as cruel and unusual punishment); Bolstad v. State, 435 N.W.2d 547, 549 (Minn. App. 1989) (habeas appropriate for challenging conditions of confinement); Kelsey v. State ex rel. Erickson, 349 N.W.2d 613, 613 (Minn. App. 1984) (allegation of cruel and unusual punishment because of prison conditions may be litigated in habeas proceedings). Appellants are challenging changes in the conditions of their confinement on constitutional grounds.
Appellants first argue that being forced to work for private industry while incarcerated constitutes involuntary servitude in violation of the Thirteenth Amendment. See Minn. Stat. § 243.88 (1998) (governing private industry on grounds of correctional institutions). The supreme court has specifically held that requiring prisoners to work is constitutional and does not violate the Thirteenth Amendment. Wilkinson v. McManus, 299 Minn. 112, 112-13, 216 N.W.2d 264, 265 (1974). Appellants do not cite any authority supporting their contention that a distinction should be made between requiring prisoners to work for the state and requiring prisoners to work for private industry.
Appellants next contend that the deduction of room and board costs from their wages violates the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Policies withholding or deducting money from prison wages to offset costs of incarceration are not "so punitive either in purpose or effect" as to constitute additional criminal punishments for the same offense. State v. McKinney, 575 N.W.2d 841, 845 (Minn. App. 1998) (civil sanctions that are not "so punitive either in purpose or effect" do not violate Double Jeopardy Clause). see also Hodgson v. Wood, 107 F.3d 875 (8th Cir. 1997) (noting that state presented uncontradicted evidence that Minnesota Department of Corrections's policy of deducting room and board costs from prisoners' wages was not intended to punish prisoners for past crimes but rather to defray the costs of supporting the inmate population and to teach financial responsibility).
Appellants finally contend that the deduction of room and board costs from their wages violates the constitutional prohibition against bills of attainder. Because the policy of deducting room and board costs from prisoners' wages is civil in nature, this argument is without merit. See Schmidtbauer v. Commissioner of Pub. Safety, 392 N.W.2d 668, 669-70 (Minn. App. 1986) (because driver's license revocation under the implied consent statute is a civil penalty, not punishment for a crime, and is subject to judicial review, implied consent statute does not violate the constitutional prohibition against bills of attainder), review denied (Minn. Oct. 29, 1986).
[*] Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.