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Steven M. Hunter v. B. A. Bledsoe

October 12, 2011

STEVEN M. HUNTER, PETITIONER
v.
B. A. BLEDSOE,
RESPONDENT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Caldwell

MEMORANDUM

I. Introduction

Pending before the court is the habeas corpus petition of Steven M. Hunter challenging two decisions by the United States Parole Commission, in 2009 and 2010, denying him parole.*fn1 For the reasons set forth below, the court will deny the petition.

II. Standard of Review

In pertinent part, under U.S. Const. Art. III, § 2, a federal court is limited to deciding "Cases" or "Controversies." Spencer v. Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 7, 118 S.Ct. 978, 983, 140 L.Ed.2d 43 (1998). In habeas actions, the case-or-controversy requirement mandates that a petitioner must have suffered, or be threatened with, an actual injury traceable to the respondent and redressable by issuance of the writ. See Id.; Burkey v. Marberry, 556 F.3d 142, 147 (3d Cir. 2009). If developments occur during the course of a case that prevent a court from granting the requested relief, the case must be dismissed as moot. Ehrheart v. Verizon Wireless, 609 F.3d 590, 596 (3d Cir. 2010)(citing County of Morris v. Nationalist Movement, 273 F.3d 527, 533 (3d Cir. 2001)).

On a habeas challenge to denial of parole, a federal district court may not grant parole or determine parole eligibility. Billiteri v. U.S. Bd. of Parole, 541 F.2d 938, 944 (2nd Cir. 1976). "The only remedy which the court can give is to order the Board to correct the abuses or wrongful conduct within a fixed period of time, after which, in the case of non-compliance, the court can grant the writ of habeas corpus and order the prisoner discharged from custody." Id at 944; see also Bridge v. U.S. Parole Comm'n, 981 F.2d 97 (3d Cir. 1992).

III. Hunter's Criminal History and Parole Proceedings

A. Hunter's Criminal History

On the evening of May 27, 1995, Hunter unlawfully entered the home of his former girlfriend. He entered her bedroom and found her sleeping in bed with another individual. Hunter commenced beating her companion about the head, face and body with a sawed-off shotgun. Doc. 67-1, Exs. to Resp. to the Am. Habeas Corpus Pet. at ECF p. 5.*fn2 Hunter then fired one shot at the victim and fled the apartment leaving his victim unconscious, with a gunshot wound to his left arm and a fractured skull and jaw. Id.

Following this assault, Hunter contacted his former girlfriend several times by telephone, warning her, "See what you made me do to your boy! If you tell the police, you're next! If you testify, I'm going to kill you!" Id.

On February 1, 1996, Hunter was sentenced to an aggregate term of imprisonment of ten years and four months to thirty-one years by the District of Columbia Superior Court following his conviction for assault, first-degree burglary, assault with a dangerous weapon, aggravated assault while armed, and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence. Id. Hunter became eligible for parole on this sentence on January 14, 2004. Id. at p. 4.

B. Hunter's Parole Proceedings

The Commission conducted its initial hearing on Hunter's case on February 17, 2005. Id. at p. 9. The Commission denied Hunter parole, and ordered a rehearing in 2008. Id. at p. 16. It held another hearing on July 30, 2008, at which time it again denied Hunter release on parole, and ordered a rehearing in three years. Id. at p. 21.

On June 12, 2009, the Commission reopened Hunter's case to conduct a new parole hearing, using the 1987 guidelines of the D.C. Board, and the 1991 policy guidelines relating to the transfer of paroling authority from the D.C. Board to the United States Parole Commission. Id. at p. 22. The hearing was scheduled to address Hunter's claims that the Commission violated the Constitution's ex post facto clause by erroneously applying improper parole guidelines to his case. See Hunter v. Parole Commission, 406 F.App'x 879 (5th Cir. 2010); Hunter v. Parole Commission, 308 F. App'x 856 (5th Cir. 2009); Hunter v. ...


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