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Zehner v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

March 25, 2014

CARL ZEHNER, Petitioner,
v.
PENNSYLVANIA BOARD OF PROBATION AND PAROLE, et al., Respondents.

OPINION AND ORDER[1]

SUSAN PARADISE BAXTER, Magistrate Judge.

Presently before the Court is a petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed by state prisoner Carl Zehner pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. [ECF Nos. 4, 6]. In the petition, he challenges a decision made by the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole (the "Board") to deny him parole. For the reasons set forth below, the petition is denied and a certificate of appealability is denied.

I.

A. Relevant Background

On November 6, 2008, Petitioner was sentenced by the Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County as follows:

a) 4 to 8 years of incarceration, followed by 10 years of probation, for violating 18 Pa.C.S. § 3301(a)(1)(ii) (Arson endangering persons);
b) 1 to 2 years of incarceration for violating 18 Pa.C.S. § 3302(b)(Risking catastrophe); and,
c) 1 to 2 years of incarceration for violating 18 Pa.C.S. § 3304(a)(1)(Criminal mischief).

The minimum expiration date for his sentence was August 5, 2012, and the maximum expiration date is August 5, 2016. [Resp's Ex. 2, ECF No. 10-1 at 27].

The Board has interviewed and denied Petitioner parole two times. The last time it denied him parole was by a decision it issued on May 24, 2013. That is the decision at issue in this case. On that date, the Board informed Petitioner:

Following an interview with you and a review of your file, and having considered all matters required pursuant to the Board of Probation and Parole, in the exercise of its discretion, has determined at this time that: you are denied parole/reparole. The reasons for the Board's decision include the following:
Your risk and needs assessment indicating your level of risk to the community.
Your prior unsatisfactory supervision history.
Your failure to demonstrate motivation ...

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