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Willie G. Munn Bey v. United States Parole Commission


November 15, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gladys Kessler United States District Judge


Petitioner Willie G. Munn Bey brings this action pro se against the United States Parole Commission for a Writ of Habeas Corpus. Upon consideration of the Petition, Opposition, Reply, and the entire record herein, and for the reasons stated below, Munn Bey's Petition is denied.

I. Background

On May 1, 1987, Munn Bey was sentenced by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to forty-six years in prison for assault with the intent to rape, first degree burglary, and threats to injure. Resp't's Opp'n, Ex. 1 [Dkt. No. 10-1]. On October 9, 2008, Munn Bey was paroled.*fn1 Resp't's Opp'n, Ex. 2 [Dkt. No. 10-2].

He was to remain under parole supervision for another twenty-seven years, until October 23, 2035. Id.

On September 4, 2009, nearly a year after Munn Bey was released from prison, his Community Supervision Officer ("CSO") informed the Parole Commission that Munn Bey had violated his parole. Resp't's Opp'n, Ex. 3, at 1 [Dkt. No. 10-3]. The CSO's report indicated that, two days earlier, Munn Bey had been arrested for simple assault and felony threats. Id. at 2. Following that arrest, the report states, Munn Bey tested positive for cocaine. Id. Additionally, Munn Bey had failed to report for a prior drug test or for a scheduled supervision and was "unsuccessfully discharged" from his required sex offender treatment. Id. at 3.

On September 11, 2009, the Parole Commission issued a parole violator warrant for Munn Bey. Resp't's Opp'n, Exs. 4-5 [Dkt. Nos. 10-4, 10-5]. In a memorandum accompanying the warrant, the Parole Commission instructed the U.S. Marshal to assume custody of Munn Bey as soon as possible, but to allow any criminal warrant to take precedence. Resp't's Opp'n, Ex. 6 [Dkt. No. 10-6]. In other words, if the U.S. Marshal found that a criminal arrest warrant had been executed or was outstanding or that Munn Bey had already been sentenced for a new crime, the Marshal was to lodge the parole violator warrant as a detainer. Id.

"Detainers" assure that parole violators serving a term for a crime committed while on parole are not released from custody until the Parole Commission has had an opportunity to make a determination as to the parole violation. See Moody v. Daggett, 429 U.S. 78, 81 n.2 (1976). In practice, a detainer would allow the Parole Commission to defer a decision on Munn Bey's parole violation until he had served out his sentence for any criminal conviction he received during the period was out on parole. At that point, the Commission could decide whether he should be reincarcerated for his parole violation or whether he should be released.

On October 3, 2009, Munn Bey was arrested in the District of Columbia for distribution of cocaine. Resp't's Opp'n, Ex. 1, at 1. On October 5, 2009, the U.S. Marshal Service lodged the parole violator warrant as a detainer at the D.C. Jail. Resp't's Opp'n, Ex. 7 [Dkt. No. 10-7]. Munn Bey was then sentenced to twenty-eight months in prison for distribution of cocaine. Munn Bey was later transferred to the Federal Correctional Institution, Talladega, Alabama,*fn2 to serve his sentence. Resp't's Opp'n, Exs. 8-9 [Dkt. Nos. 10-8, 10-9]. The detainer for his parole violation was therefore lodged at the prison in Talladega. See Resp't's Opp'n, Ex. 7. The Parole Commission has yet to afford Munn Bey a revocation hearing to determine whether his parole will be revoked.

On June 30, 2010, Munn Bey filed this Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus [Dkt. No. 1], claiming that the Parole Commission has denied him due process by failing to provide a hearing within a reasonable time after his arrest. On August 30, 2010, the Parole Commission filed its Opposition [Dkt. No. 10]. On September 10, 2010, Munn Bey filed a Reply [Dkt. No. 12].*fn3

II. Analysis

Munn Bey contends that "he is entitled to a prompt parole revocation hearing within a . . . reasonable time following his return to [custody]." Pet. 3. He argues that the Parole Commission's failure to afford him such a hearing on his parole violator warrant has violated his due process rights. Id. He requests, therefore, that the Court grant a Writ of Habeas Corpus and quash the warrant for his detention. Id. at 2-3.

Munn Bey is correct that "[t]here must . . . be an opportunity for a hearing, if it is desired by the parolee, prior to the final decision on revocation" and that this "revocation hearing must be tendered within a reasonable time after the parolee is taken into custody." Morrissey v. Brewer, 408 U.S. 471, 487-88 (1972). However, it is equally well settled law that "execution of the warrant and custody under that warrant [is] the operative event triggering any loss of liberty attendant upon parole revocation." Moody, 429 U.S. at 87. Hence, the right to a revocation hearing within a reasonable time is only triggered after the parole violator warrant is executed, not when it is lodged, and when the defendant is taken into custody under that warrant, not any other criminal warrant. Id.

In this case, the Parole Commissioner merely acted in accordance with applicable regulations, permitting a parole violator warrant to be placed as a detainer, and permitting the Commission to execute the warrant and hold a revocation hearing when the parolee is later released. 28 C.F.R. § 2.100(a)-(b). Indeed, this Court has previously approved the constitutionality of that practice. Lyons v. CCA/Corr. Treatment Facility, Civil Action No. 06-2008 (GK), 2007 WL 2007501, at *2 (D.D.C. July 10, 2007) ("It is not a violation of a parolee's due process rights to lodge a parole violator warrant as a detainer and execute the warrant only after the new sentence is completed."); see also, Ramsey v. Reilly, 613 F. Supp. 2d 6, 11 (D.D.C. 2009) ("due process does not require that a parole violator warrant be executed or that a parole revocation hearing be conducted until after the expiration of the new sentence.").

Munn Bey argues that, as a result of the detainer, "he suffer[s] a present inevitable loss of liberty interests," which includes "a higher security level of incarceration," "denial of pre-release classification and programs," "denial of halfway house," and "denial of early home detention." Pet'r's Reply 2. However, "[w]ith only a prospect of future incarceration which is far from certain, we cannot say that the parole violator warrant has any present or inevitable effect upon the liberty interests which Morrissey sought to protect." Moody, 429 U.S. at 87; see also Morrissey, 408 U.S. at 482 (discussing relevant liberty interests, such as being "gainfully employed and . . . free to be with family and friends and to form the other enduring attachments of normal life.").

In short, the law is clear that due process affords Munn Bey no right to a revocation hearing until his parole violator warrant is executed. Therefore, his Petition is denied.

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