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Brown v. U.S. Parole Commission

United States District Court, District of Columbia

June 6, 2016

RAYMOND BROWN III, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES PAROLE COMMISSION, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          AMY BERMAN JACKSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         In this action for a writ of habeas corpus, petitioner Raymond Brown III challenges the United States Parole Commission’s authority to revoke his parole and to rescind credit for the eight years he spent on parole ("street-time credit"). Petitioner contends that the Commission has violated the separation of powers doctrine and the Constitution’s ex post facto clause and double jeopardy clause. The Commission counters that petitioner’s grounds for relief lack merit. See Gov’t’s Opp’n to Pet’r’s Pet. for a Writ of Habeas Corpus [Dkt. # 6]. Since the Commission’s authority over D.C. Code offenders is settled, and the challenged decision complied with D.C. law, the Court agrees that petitioner has stated no grounds for relief. Accordingly, the petition will be denied for the reasons explained below.

         I. BACKGROUND

         In December 1992, petitioner was convicted in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia of assault with a dangerous weapon, kidnapping while armed, and possession with intent to distribute heroin. He was sentenced to an aggregate prison term of three to fifteen years. Gov’t Ex. 2.[1] Petitioner’s custody beyond fifteen years stems from his failed parole supervision terms.

         A. First Parole

         On April 18, 1996, the then-D.C. Board of Parole released petitioner to parole supervision, where he was to remain until the expiration of his sentence on December 7, 2007. Ex. 3. Petitioner agreed to "narcotics surveillance" and an "outpatient drug program" as special conditions of his parole. Id. Four months after his release to parole, petitioner was arrested in the District for possession with intent to distribute heroin. Ex. 8. He was released on a personal recognizance bond. Id. A jury convicted petitioner of the new charge on April 21, 1998, and he was sentenced on June 10, 1998, to a prison term of two to six years, running consecutively to any other sentence. Exs. 5, 8; see United States v. Brown, 1996 FEL 007523 (Sup. Ct.).

         On April 22, 1998, the Parole Board issued "a detainer warrant based on [the foregoing] allegations of criminal violation(s) of parole." Ex. 4. The warrant was executed the following day, on April 23, 1998, by petitioner’s arrest. Ex. 8. The Parole Board conducted a parole revocation hearing on July 7, 1998, revoked petitioner’s parole on July 30, 1998, and deferred consideration of reparole until petitioner became eligible on the aggregated sentences.[2] Ex. 7.

         B. Second Parole

         In November 1999, the Commission, having assumed parole responsibility over D.C. Code offenders, held an initial hearing for petitioner and scheduled a parole rehearing in June 2000.[3]Ex. 9. On December 20, 2000, petitioner was released to parole supervision, where he was to remain until the expiration of his sentence, recalculated to be November 30, 2015. Exs. 10-11. Approximately eight years later, on April 8, 2008, the Commission issued a parole violator warrant based on the following four charges: use of dangerous and habit-forming drugs; failure to submit to drug testing; failure to report to supervision officer on several listed dates; and violation of the special condition of drug aftercare. Ex. 12.

         The warrant was executed on April 30, 2008, by petitioner’s arrest, and petitioner denied the charges at a probable cause hearing held on May 16, 2008. Ex. 14 at 1. However, on June 30, 2008, petitioner accepted the Commission’s proposed expedited decision to revoke his parole, rescind his street-time credit, and set a reparole date of August 27, 2008, after petitioner’s service of six months’ incarceration. Petitioner accepted responsibility for the charged behavior, and he waived his right to a revocation hearing and to appeal the Commission’s decision. In addition, petitioner agreed to special parole conditions consisting of drug, alcohol, and mental health aftercare programs. Exs. 15-16. On August 27, 2008, petitioner was released to parole supervision, where he is to remain until expiration of his sentence, recalculated to be December 28, 2022. Id., Ex. 17.

         C. Current Status

         Petitioner is on parole under the supervision of the D.C. Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency. Gov’t’s Opp’n at 4 n.3. He filed this action on October 23, 2014, claiming that the Commission’s recalculation of his sentence expiration date constitutes an unlawful extension of the Superior Court’s sentence. See Pet. at 3-4. Petitioner insists that his "parole sentence . . .has already expired." Pet’r’s Mot. to Strike the Gov’t’s Opp’n Mot. and to Vacate the Pet’r’s Parole Sentence Today at 16 ("Pet’r’s Reply") [Dkt. # 8].

         II. ANALYSIS

         The extraordinary remedy of habeas corpus is available to District of Columbia prisoners if the prisoner shows that he is "in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3). Petitioner’s invocation of the separation of powers doctrine and the double jeopardy clause ...


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