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Johnson v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole

United States District Court, Third Circuit

November 20, 2013

CHARLES JOHNSON, Petitioner,
v.
PENNSYLVANIA BOARD OF PROBATION AND PAROLE, et al., Respondents.

MEMORANDUM

ROBERT D. MARIANI, District Judge.

I. Introduction

Petitioner Charles Johnson ("Petitioner" or "Johnson") initiated the above action pro se by filing a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Doc. 1). Johnson is currently a parolee under the supervision of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole ("PBPP"). Johnson alleges that the PBPP improperly and inaccurately recalculated his sentence.

For the reasons discussed below, the Court will deny Johnson's petition because he has procedurally defaulted on these claims.

II. Procedural History

On August 8, 1990, Johnson was sentenced by the Lycoming Court of Common Pleas to serve an aggregate term of six years and six months to thirteen years imprisonment based upon his guilty pleas to two counts of Manufacture/Sale/Deliver or Possession with Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance. (Doc. 12-2, Ex. 1). Johnson's sentence had an effective date of May 3, 1990, with a minimum date of November 3, 1996, and a maximum date of May 3, 2003. (Id. at Ex. 15, p. 1-2). On November 11, 1996, he was released on parole. (Id. at 2).

On September 15, 1999, Johnson was arrested by state authorities for drug-related activities and he was detained in the Lycoming County Jail. (Id. ). That same day, the PBPP issued a warrant to commit and detain Johnson for violation of his parole based on the new state drug charges. (Id. ).

On October 27, 1999, a federal grand jury in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania indicted Johnson on federal drug charges at criminal case number 4:99-CR-00269. (Id. ). Petitioner pled guilty on April 13, 2000. (Doc. 12-2, Ex. 3, Docket Entry No. 80). On August 16, 2000, Johnson was sentenced on his federal charges to serve a 130-month term of imprisonment. (Doc. 12-2, Ex. 15, p. 2).

On September 7, 2000, Johnson's state charges were nolle prossed and he was transferred back to federal custody to serve his federal sentence. (Doc. 12-2, Ex. 15, p. 2; Doc. 12, p. 5, ¶ 21). On February 20, 2009, he was released from federal custody to serve his original state sentence and the back time imposed by the PBPP. (Doc. 12-2, Ex. 15, p. 2).

After Petitioner pled guilty to the federal charges, but before he was sentenced on the federal charges and the state charges were nolle prossed, the PBPP conducted a revocation hearing for the new federal drug conviction on June 12, 2000. (Id. at Ex. 5). Following the hearing, the PBPP recommitted Johnson to serve twelve (12) months as a convicted parole violator, when available. (Doc. 12, p. 5, ¶ 17).

In a decision mailed on April 21, 2009, the PBPP, referring to its 2000 decision, recalculated Johnson's maximum date as July 1, 2015. (Doc. 12-2, Ex. 15, p. 2-3). Johnson submitted a request for administrative relief with the PBPP, "seeking credit on his original sentence for the time period of September 15, 1999, the date on which he was arrested on the new state drug charges, to October 25, 2000, the date on which he alleged that he was taken into custody by the federal authorities to serve his federal sentence." (Id. at 3). On July 14, 2009, the PBPP denied Johnson's petition. (Id. ).

Subsequently, Johnson appealed the PBPP's decision to the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court at Docket No. 1515 C.D. 2009. (Doc. 12, p. 9, ¶ 37). On March 30, 2011, the Commonwealth Court vacated the PBPP's decision and remanded the matter to the PBPP for proceedings consistent with the Court's opinion. (Doc. 12-2, Ex. 15, p. 10). Specifically, the Commonwealth Court explained that the PBPP's "decision denying Johnson's request for administrative relief [was] not supported by substantial evidence." (Id. ). Further, the Commonwealth Court noted that there were "issues with respect to the credit to be allocated among Johnson's state and federal sentences for the time period of September 15, 1999, to October 25, 2000, that must be addressed by the [PBPP]. Moreover, the [PBPP conceded] that a remand [was] necessary for the proper recalculation of credit to Johnson's original sentence." (Id. ).

On or about September 21, 2011, the PBPP confirmed the credit allocation between the new and original sentences and reaffirmed the July 1, 2015 maximum date calculation. (Doc. 12, p. 9, ¶ 39). Johnson filed a timely petition for administrative review. (Doc. 12-2, Ex. 17). On November 16, 2011, the PBPP denied Johnson's petition for failure to specify a claim and affirmed the decision. (Doc. 12, p.10, ¶ 41).

On November 29, 2011, Johnson filed a petition for review challenging the PBPP's decision with the Commonwealth Court at Docket No. 2222 C.D. 2011. (Doc. 12-2, Ex. 19). On December 27, 2011, the Commonwealth Court issued an order directing Johnson to serve a copy of his petition for review on the PBPP by January 11, 2012. (Id. at Ex. 20). The order specifically states, "[u]pon consideration of respondent's Application to Compel Petitioner to Serve Petition for Review, the application is granted. Petitioner is directed to serve a copy of the petition for review on respondent and file proof of service of the same within 14 days of entry of this order or this matter will be dismissed as a matter of course." (Id. ). Based on Johnson's failure to serve the petition on the PBPP, on January 18, 2012, the Commonwealth Court ultimately dismissed Johnson's petition for review for failing to serve the petition and ...


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