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Gibson v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole

April 4, 2006

JAMES GIBSON, PETITIONER
v.
PENNSYLVANIA BOARD OF PROBATION AND PAROLE, RESPONDENT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Muir

(Complaint Filed 09/06/2005)

ORDER

James Gibson, ("Gibson"), an inmate confined at the Mahanoy State Correctional Institution, Frackville, Pennsylvania, filed this petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Doc. No. 1). Gibson asserts that he has been denied parole in violation of the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendments. He also asserts that the denial of his parole violated the First, Fifth and Eighth Amendment rights. For the reasons that follow, the petition for writ of habeas corpus will be denied.

Background

On August 3, 1998, Gibson pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter. (Doc. 7, Sentence Status Summary). On October 5, 1998, he was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of seven years, six months, to fifteen years. Id. Gibson's minimum sentence expired on March 23, 2005 and his maximum sentence expires on September 23, 2012. Id.

Gibson was first considered for parole on February 10, 2005. (Doc. No. 7, Notice of Board Decision). The Board denied parole, stating reasons for the denial as follows: (1) Gibson's version of the nature and circumstances of the offense committed; (2) his prior history of supervision failure; and (3) his institutional behavior, including reported misconducts or CCC failure. Id. Gibson's next parole review was set for December, 2005, or later. The Board stated that in the next interview, it would consider

(1) whether Gibson had received a favorable recommendation for parole from the Department of Corrections; and (2) whether he maintained a clear conduct record and completed the Department of Corrections prescriptive programs. Id.

On September 6, 2005, Gibson filed the instant petition for writ of habeas corpus in which he challenges the Board's adverse decision of its review of his parole. (Doc. No. 1). He raises the following grounds for relief:

1. Denial of parole based on violation of the due process clause of the fifth and fourteenth amendment, and eighth amendment and equal protection.

2. Denial of parole based on violation of first amendment.

(Doc. No. 1).

Specifically, petitioner claims that the Parole Board "arbitrarily and capriciously abused its discretion when using a file which doesn't exist for the purpose of determining whether to grant or deny parole, the proof of that matter is the old parole number #5136-R which the plaintiff had successfully completed parole under while plaintiff was living within society under the supervision of the Parole Board." (Doc. No. 2, Brief in Support of habeas petition). Gibson believes that "what the Parole Board should have done in this case when making a determination to grant or deny parole, is render a decision based on plaintiff's current offense which it had not considered at all." Id. Thus, petitioner believes as a result, the Board violated his right to due process in violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.

Petitioner's next argument is that he was "coerc[ed]" into complying with the Board's "demand that [he] write a version of the nature and circumstances of his offense." Id. Petitioner claims that "even though [he] complied, he was still denied parole because the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole did not accept or appreciate [his] version of the offense." Id. Gibson believes that this is a violation of his Fifth and Eighth Amendment rights, as well as a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection. Id. Thus, Gibson seeks "immediate release on parole." Id.

Subsequent to the filing of the petition, on January 4, 2006, the Board conducted a second parole review. (Doc. No. 13, Notice of Board Decision). The decision was to deny Gibson ...


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