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Baker v. United States Parole Commission

United States District Court, District of Columbia

June 2, 2015

TODD EMERSON BAKER, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES PAROLE COMMISSION, et al., Respondents.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

CHRISTOPHER R. COOPER, District Judge.

Todd Emerson Baker has been granted parole no less than six times on a single 1997 sentence in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Each time, he violated a parole condition and was sent back to jail. Due to this back and forth, calculating how much time remains on Baker's sentence is no small task. In this petition for a writ of habeas corpus, Baker primarily contends that federal authorities have miscalculated the remaining time, resulting in his continued incarceration beyond the expiration of his sentence. The Government counters that it has calculated Baker's sentence in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations. Upon review of the parties' submissions, the Court finds that the Government has accurately calculated Baker's sentence and will therefore deny the petition.

I. Background

Be forewarned: following the history of Baker's revolving-door relationship with the D.C. jail requires a measure of patience.

A. The Original Sentence, Probation, and Parole

Baker pled guilty in District of Columbia Superior Court to destruction of property, attempted unauthorized use of a vehicle (a misdemeanor), and unauthorized use of a vehicle. See Fed. Resp'ts' Opp'n to Pet'r's Pet. for a Writ of Habeas Corpus ("Fed. Opp'n"), Ex. 41 ("Erickson Decl.") ¶ 5. On January 24, 1997, the court initially suspended Baker's aggregate sentence of 14 years and 90 days and imposed a three-year term of probation instead. Id . Six months later, however, Baker's probation was revoked and the District of Columbia Department of Corrections ("DOC") "established a Full Term expiration of sentence date of September 8, 2011." Id . ¶¶ 6-7. Baker was transferred to federal custody in November 1999 pursuant to the National Capital Revitalization and Self-Government Improvement Act of 1997, at which point the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") adopted DOC's sentence computation in all respects except for adding four days of prior custody credit not already credited by DOC. Id . ¶¶ 8-9; see id. Ex. 7 at 3. He was first paroled on May 15, 2002 and was to remain under parole supervision through September 4, 2011, his Full Term Expiration date. See Fed. Opp'n, Ex. 4 at 1. As of May 15, 2002, 3, 399 days remained on his sentence. Erickson Decl. ¶ 10; see id. Ex. 7 at 3.

B. The First Parole Violation

On May 14, 2003, the Commission issued a warrant charging Baker with four violations of the conditions of his release: use of dangerous and habit-forming drugs, failure to maintain regular employment, failure to report a change in residence, and failure to submit supervision reports. Fed. Opp'n, Ex. 5 at 1-2. Baker was returned to BOP custody on June 20, 2003. Id . Ex. 6 at 1; Erickson Decl. ¶ 11. By the time of his revocation hearing on August 14, 2003, Baker had been charged with a fifth violation arising from his June 2003 arrest in Prince George's County, Maryland on three counts of theft of property valued at less than $500. Id . Ex. 7 at 1-3. Although Baker was found not guilty of these charges, the hearing examiner relied on Baker's admission to having entered a nolo contendere plea on one of the three theft counts to conclude that he had violated the conditions of release. Id . Ex. 7 at 3. On this basis and Baker's admissions to the remaining four charges in the parole violation warrant, the hearing examiner recommended revocation of parole. See id., Ex. 7 at 2-3. The Commission agreed and ordered that Baker serve another 10 months in custody. See generally id., Ex. 8-9. None of the time spent on parole, popularly known as "street time, " was credited against Baker's outstanding sentence at the time he was released on parole. Id., Ex. 8 at 1. "The [Commission] instructed the BOP to compute a sentence of 3, 399 days... for the remaining time left on [Baker's] sentence at the time of his parole, to begin the sentence on the date of [his] arrest." Baker's new full term expiration date was October 8, 2012. Erickson Decl. ¶ 11. Baker was re-paroled on April 2, 2004, leaving 3, 111 days on his sentence. Id . ¶ 12. He was ordered to remain under parole supervision through October 8, 2012. Fed. Opp'n, Ex. 9 at 1.

C. The Second Parole Violation

The Commission issued a second warrant two and a half months after Baker left custody. See id., Ex. 10 at 1. Baker was charged with failing to report a change of address, failing to report a change in employment, failing to report to his supervision officer as directed, and failing to submit supervision reports. Id., Ex. 10 at 1-2. He was arrested on September 7, 2004 and taken into custody on the warrant. See id., Ex. 11 at 1. Baker took responsibility for each violation charged, waived his right to a parole revocation hearing, forfeited street time, and agreed to substance abuse treatment and his return to custody for eight to 12 months. See id., Ex. 11 at 1-2. The Commission ordered that Baker serve eight additional months in custody. See id., Ex. 12 at 1. "The [Commission] instructed the BOP to compute a sentence of 3, 111 days which accounted for the remaining time left on [Baker's] sentence at the time of his parole, and to begin the sentence on the date of [his] arrest" on September 7, 2004. Erickson Decl. ¶ 13. He received no credit for street time from April 3, 2004 through September 6, 2004 and his new full term expiration date was determined to be March 14, 2013. Id .; see id., Ex. 12 at 2. Accordingly, when Baker was paroled on May 6, 2005, he was to remain under parole supervision until March 14, 2013. Fed. Opp'n, Ex. 13 at 1. The seven months in prison took Baker's remaining sentence down to 2, 869 days. Erickson Decl. ¶ 14; see id., Ex. 12 at 2.

D. The Third Parole Violation

On January 13, 2006, the Commission issued another warrant, this one charging Baker with failure to submit to drug testing, use of dangerous and habit forming drugs, failure to report to his supervision officer as directed, failure to report a change in residence, and a law violation arising from his arrest in the District of Columbia on August 18, 2005 on a second degree burglary charge. Id., Ex. 14 at 1-2. Baker was arrested almost ten months later and received a probable cause hearing on November 7, 2006. See generally id., Ex. 15, Ex. 16. The Commission revoked parole and ordered that Baker serve 18 more months in custody. Id., Ex. 17 at 1. He received six months of credit of toward the parole guidelines for time served before the warrant was executed. Id., Ex. 17 at 1. The Commission instructed the BOP to compute Baker's remaining sentence of 2, 869 days "to begin... on the date of [Baker's] arrest" on November 3, 2006 and to exclude street time, from May 7, 2005 through November 2, 2006. Erickson Decl. ¶ 15; see id., Ex. 13 at 1. His "new Full Term Expiration Date was September 10, 2014." Id . ¶ 15. Baker was re-paroled a year later, and was to remain under parole supervision for seven more years. Fed. Opp'n, Ex. 18 at 1. As of November 2, 2007, 2, 504 days remained on his sentence. Erickson Decl. ¶ 16; see id., Ex. 14 at 1.

E. The Fourth Parole Violation

Almost two and a half years passed with no further violations. In April 2009, however, Baker was charged with failure to maintain regular employment, failure to submit to drug testing, failure to report to his supervision officer as directed, and a law violation arising from his arrest in Prince George's County, Maryland on charges of destruction of property and burglary. Fed. Opp'n, Ex. 21 at 1-2. Baker was convicted of second degree burglary and was in custody in Maryland from February 19, 2009 until his transfer to District of Columbia custody on January 28, 2010. See id., Ex. 22 at 2. The Commission revoked parole and ordered that Baker serve another 16 months of his sentence in custody, beginning on the date of his return from Prince George's County. See id., Ex. 23 at 1. Baker received no credit for street time, and thus 2, 504 days remained on his term. Id .; Erickson Decl. ¶ 17. His "new Full Term Expiration date ...


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