This is an appeal from an order of the District Court dismissing appellant's petition for a writ of habeas corpus.
In 1963 appellant, along with a co-defendant, was convicted by jury in the District Court for the District of Columbia of murder in the first degree, 22 D. C. Code § 2404, and robbery, 22 D. C. Code § 2901. Appellant was originally sentenced to death by electrocution on the murder count and to five to fifteen years on the count of robbery. On appeal to this court, the judgments of conviction were affirmed, but the penalty of death was set aside in favor of a sentence of life imprisonment on the murder verdict. Frady v. United States, 121 U.S.App.D.C. 78, 348 F.2d 84 (en banc), cert. denied, 382 U.S. 909, 86 S.Ct. 247, 15 L.Ed.2d 160 (1965). Appellant is serving these sentences, which run consecutively, at the United States Penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
In March 1977, appellant petitioned the district court for a writ of habeas corpus to establish his immediate eligibility for parole consideration.
Section 22-2404 of the District of Columbia Code, the statute under which appellant was convicted, provides in part:
22 D. C. Code § 2404. The legislative history of this section reveals that Congress' express purpose in enacting the provision was to preempt general parole eligibility by specifically barring parole until a person convicted under the statute has served at least twenty years of his life sentence. The Committed on the District of Columbia of the House of Representatives reported:
H.R.Rep.No. 677, 87th Cong., 1st Sess. 2 (1961). Since appellant has served less than fifteen years, he is ineligible for parole under the express terms of this statute.
Appellant contends, however, that his eligibility for parole consideration was modified by the enactment of the United States Parole Commission and Reorganization Act of 1976, 18 U.S.C. §§ 4201 et seq. ["federal act"]. The general parole eligibility section of the federal act now provides that prisoners serving a life sentence are generally eligible for parole after serving ten years. 18 U.S.C. § 4205(a).
It is a well-recognized canon of statutory construction that the later enactment of a general statute will not take precedence over a controlling specific statute absent an explicit contrary legislative intent. Bulova Watch Co. v. United States, 365 U.S. 753, 758, 81 S.Ct. 864, 6 L.Ed.2d 72 (1961); United States v. Brown, 157 U.S.App.D.C. 311, 318-19, 483 F.2d 1314, 1321-22 (1973) [MacKinnon, J., dissenting] and cases cited therein. Applying this rule, it is evident that there is no indication either in the federal parole act or its legislative history that Congress intended by its enactment to supersede the provision of the District of Columbia statute. To the contrary, specific bars to parole eligibility contained in sentencing statutes were expressly left intact.
The general parole eligibility provision of the federal parole act, by its own terms, applies "except to the extent otherwise provided by law." 18 U.S.C. § 4205(a). The same section further states:
18 U.S.C. § 4205(h). This provision, when read in conjunction with section 22-2204 of the District of Columbia Code, which renders appellant ineligible for parole consideration until he has served a minimum of twenty years, unquestionably leads to the conclusion that appellant's parole eligibility
We therefore reject appellant's argument that the United States Parole Commission and Reorganization Act of 1976 supersedes the express prohibition to parole eligibility contained in the District of Columbia murder statute under which appellant was convicted and sentenced.