United States District Court, D. Arizona
David G. Campbell United States District Judge
On January 26, 2015, Petitioner Daniel Lee Mellinger filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, alleging that the U.S. Parole Commission unlawfully extended his incarceration beyond the statutory maximum sentence. Doc. 1. The Court referred the petition to Magistrate Judge Michelle H. Burns for a report and recommendation (“R&R”). Doc. 2. Judge Burns recommended that the Court deny the petition. Doc. 23. Petitioner filed specific written objections to the R&R. Doc. 26. The Court concludes that the objections lack merit and will deny the petition.
While serving a California state sentence for armed robbery in 1985, Petitioner escaped from custody and committed six armed bank robberies. Doc. 17, Ex. 19 at 5.Petitioner was captured and charged with several federal crimes in connection with these robberies. Petitioner entered a guilty plea, and the District Court for the Northern District of California sentenced him to 18 years in federal prison. Ex. 2. Petitioner began serving this sentence in January 1988. Ex. 1 at 14. In January 1989, the Commission determined that Petitioner should serve to the expiration of the sentence. Ex. 3.
In April 1997, Petitioner was given a mandatory release pursuant to the Parole Act, which required the Commission to release a prisoner “at the expiration of his term of sentence less the time deducted for good conduct.” 28 U.S.C. § 4163 (1982 ed.). At the time of his release, Petitioner had 2, 593 days of his original sentence left to serve. Ex. 6. Under the Parole Act, Petitioner was to be “deemed as if released on parole” until the expiration of his statutory sentence less 180 days. 28 U.S.C. § 4164 (1982 ed.). This was set to occur in November 2003. Ex. 6.
In March 1998, the Commission revoked Petitioner’s mandatory release for a technical parole violation. Ex. 19. Despite revoking his mandatory release, the Commission gave Petitioner credit for his time on parole, bringing his remaining sentence to 1, 932 days. Ex. 8 at 1. In February 1999, Petitioner was reparoled. Id. Four months later, Petitioner was arrested on new federal charges for armed bank robbery. See U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, Case No. CR 99-20101-01-RMW, Presentence Report, ¶ 11. In January 2000, Petitioner pled guilty to this charge and received a new 188-month sentence. Ex. 12.
In the interim between Petitioner’s arrest and his plea, the Commission issued another warrant against Petitioner for technical parole violations. Exs. 9, 10. The Commission instructed that this warrant should be placed as a detainer in the event Petitioner was already in custody. Ex. 11. Because Petitioner was in custody when the warrant issued, the warrant was placed as a detainer. In May 2007, the Commission supplemented this warrant with an additional charge of armed bank robbery in connection with the robberies Petitioner committed while on reparole. Ex. 15.
Petitioner completed his new sentence on July 18, 2014, and the Commission executed its warrant on that date. Exs. 16, 17. After a hearing, the Commission revoked Petitioner’s parole, ordering that Petitioner’s time on reparole (i.e., his “street time”) would not be credited towards his original sentence and that the sentence would continue to expiration. Ex. 20. As a result, Petitioner is required to complete the 1, 932 days that remained on his first sentence as of February 1999, when he was reparoled. Petitioner’s mandatory release date is now January 27, 2018, and he will remain under supervision until May 5, 2019. Ex. 21 at 2.
II. Procedural History.
Petitioner alleges that the Commission unlawfully extended his incarceration beyond the statutory maximum sentence. Petitioner advances two claims which are relevant here. First, Petitioner argues that the Commission abused its discretion when it revoked his parole in 2014. See Doc. 1 at 9. Second, Petitioner argues that the Commission unlawfully refused to credit the time served on his 2000 sentence to the original sentence, resulting in an incarceration period that exceeds the statutory maximum for the original sentence. Id. at 5.
Judge Burns recommended that each of these claims be denied. Doc. 23 at 4-8. With respect to the first claim, Judge Burns noted that a federal court may only review the Commission’s discretionary decision to revoke parole if the decision is not supported by “good cause.” Id. at 4 (citing Wallace v. Christensen, 802 F.2d 1539, 1551 (9th Cir. 1986) (en banc)). Because Judge Burns concluded that the Commission had good cause to revoke Petitioner’s parole in 2014, she recommended that the Court dismiss Petitioner’s challenge to this decision for want of subject matter jurisdiction. Id. at 4-6.
With respect to the second claim, Judge Burns concluded that the Commission was not required to credit the time Petitioner served on the 2000 sentence to the original sentence, but could require Petitioner to serve the two sentences consecutively. Id. at 7-8. Judge Burns further concluded that the Commission was not required to credit Petitioner’s street time towards the first sentence. See Id. at 8 (citing Johnson v. Norwood, 2008 WL 2853254 *7 (C.D. Ca. July 22, 2008)). Judge Burns therefore recommended that the Court deny Petitioner’s second claim. Id.
Petitioner argues that Judge Burns erred in concluding that the Commission had good cause to revoke his parole in 2014. Petitioner further argues that Judge Burns misconstrued precedent which he reads as requiring the Commission to credit the time served on the 2000 sentence to his original sentence. The Court will ...