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United States v. Stewart

United States District Court, D. Columbia

December 11, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
WILLIE L. STEWART, JR., Defendant

          WILLIE L. STEWART, JR, Defendant, Pro se, Winton, NC.

         For USA, Plaintiff: Sherri Lee Berthrong, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Washington, DC.

         MEMORANDUM OPINION

         RICHARD W. ROBERTS, Chief United States District Judge.

         Pro se defendant Willie Stewart contends that a warrant issued by the United States Parole Commission (" Commission" ) on September 11, 2012, for an alleged violation of his special parole conditions is invalid because he claims the warrant was issued after he had completed his underlying sentence. He seeks a writ of mandamus directing the Commission to provide him with a prompt hearing on the alleged violation and a writ of habeas corpus freeing him from any confinement ordered after such a hearing since the confinement would stem from what he contends was an illegally issued warrant. Because the special parole violation warrant was lawfully issued before Stewart's sentence expired in his underlying criminal case, and because Stewart did not have a due process right to a revocation hearing before the special parole warrant was executed, Stewart's petition will be denied.

         BACKGROUND

         On June 22, 1984, Judge Joyce Hens Green sentenced Stewart to one year of imprisonment for carrying a pistol without a license, in violation of D.C. Code § 22-3204, two to six years of imprisonment for possession with intent to distribute heroin, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a), and a special parole term of three years to follow his imprisonment, with those sentences to run concurrently to each other and consecutively to any other sentence. See Govt.'s Oppn. to Def.'s Pet. for a Writ of Mandamus (" Govt.'s Oppn." ), ECF No. 5, Ex. A, J. & Commitment Order at 1.

         At that time, 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)[1] required that the sentencing judge impose a mandatory term of three years of special parole. See United States v. Brundage, 903 F.2d 837, 839, 284 U.S.App.D.C. 219 (D.C. Cir. 1990) (discussing the history of sentencing provisions under 21 U.S.C. § 841). " Special parole was 'a period of supervision served upon completion of a prison term' and administered by the United States Parole Commission." Gozlon-Peretz v. United States, 498 U.S. 395, 399, 111 S.Ct. 840, 112 L.Ed.2d 919 (1991) (quoting Bifulco v. United States, 447 U.S. 381, 388, 100 S.Ct. 2247, 65 L.Ed.2d 205 (1980)). The special parole term was " designed to take effect upon the expiration of the period of parole supervision following mandatory release, or at the full term date following parole, or upon release from confinement following sentence expiration." United States v. Watson, 548 F.2d 1058, 1060 n.3, 179 U.S.App.D.C. 103 (D.C. Cir. 1977) (quoting Roberts v. United States, 491 F.2d 1236, 1238 (3d Cir. 1974)).

         Stewart was paroled in this case on June 18, 1990, and his parole was scheduled to last until June 16, 1994. See Govt.'s Oppn., Ex. B, Certificate of Parole at 1. During this period of parole, Stewart was convicted in Virginia of robbery, possession of a firearm by an individual convicted of a felony, and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. See id., Ex. C, Order for the Circuit Ct. for Fauquier County, Commonwealth of Va. at 1-2. For these offenses, Stewart was sentenced on August 3, 1993 to an aggregate maximum term of 27 years of imprisonment, followed by a five-year term of supervision. See id. at 3. After Stewart completed the sentence for his Virginia offenses, the Commission revoked Stewart's parole in this case on March 13, 2007. See id., Ex. D, 3/13/07 Notice of Action at 1-2.

         On May 14, 2009, Stewart was released from prison and began serving a mandatory release supervision period in this case. See id., Ex. E, Bureau of Prison Sentence Monitoring Computation Data at 13. Stewart's mandatory release supervision period ended on March 21, 2010, id. at 17, and his three-year term of special parole imposed in this case began without any credit for time previously spent on parole. See id. That term of special parole was scheduled to expire on March 22, 2013. See id., Ex. G, Warrant and Warrant Application at 4.

         In September 2012, Stewart was convicted in D.C. Superior Court of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. See id., Ex. G-1, J. in Crim. Case; Ex. G at 1, 4; Ex. E at 3. He was sentenced on September 10, 2012 to a term of 28 months of imprisonment, followed by a term of supervised release of five years. See id., Ex. E at 3-4; Ex. G-1. Following Stewart's sentencing in D.C. Superior Court on September 10, 2012, the Commission issued a special parole violation warrant on September 11, 2012 to be lodged as a detainer against Stewart and to be executed upon the completion of his D.C. Superior Court sentence. See id., Ex. G at 1, 5. Stewart filed the instant petition on July 29, 2014, just before the Commission executed the special parole violation warrant on September 19, 2014, when Stewart completed his D.C. Superior Court prison term. See id., Ex. G at 2, Ex. E at 5. The Commission then notified Stewart that it had found probable cause to believe that he had violated the conditions of his special parole in this case due to his D.C. Superior Court conviction for possession with intent to distribute cocaine. See id., Ex. I, Letter from Bureau of Prisons, dated October 7, 2014, at 1. The Commission held a hearing on November 5, 2014, revoked his special parole in this case, and sentenced him to 32 months in prison. See 11/5/14 Notice of Action at 1. Stewart served time in prison from November 5, 2014 until May 8, 2015.[2] On May 9, 2015, he began serving the term of supervised release that was imposed by the Superior Court in 2012. That term is scheduled to end May 7, 2018.[3]

         Stewart asserts that the Parole Commission issued a parole violation warrant after he had completed his parole term when the Commission had no further authority over him. He complains that the warrant, lodged as a detainer in North Carolina where he was incarcerated on other charges at the time he filed his motion, is therefore an illegal detainer. He frames his request for relief as both a request for a writ of habeas corpus to free him from the restraints of the illegal detainer, and a request for a writ of mandamus directing the Commission to grant him the parole hearing he has been seeking in which he can challenge the parole violation warrant.[4]

         DISCUSSION

         I. SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION

         A court has an independent obligation to satisfy itself of its subject matter jurisdiction in any litigation. A habeas petition is certainly the kind of matter that a district court has the power to entertain. See 28 U.S.C. § 2241(a). But the two bases upon which Stewart asserts that subject matter jurisdiction lies in this Court over his habeas claim sound more in issues of venue and personal jurisdiction: 1) any future detention resulting from a parole violation ...


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