United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
JOHN E. JONES III, District Judge.
Petitioner David Robinson has filed this petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Doc. 1). He challenges a sentence calculation of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole (the "Board"), and his continued detention pursuant thereto. Id . In his petition, Robinson argues that the Board has failed to properly credit him for time served in federal custody. Id . For the reasons set forth below, the petition will be dismissed.
I. Statement of Relevant Facts
On July 16, 1996, Robinson was sentenced in a Pennsylvania state court to a prison sentence of 6 ½ to 13 years for his conviction on four counts of Manufacture/Sale/Delivery or Possession with Intent to Manufacture or Deliver a Controlled Substance. (Doc. 13, Ex. 1). Based on this conviction, Robinson's earliest release date was set at January 16, 2003, with his latest release date being July 16, 2009. Id . On January 21, 2003, Robinson was paroled from this sentence. Id. at Ex. 2.
On October 28, 2004, Robinson was rearrested as a technical parole violator. Id. at Ex. 4. On November 23, 2004, the Board conducted a violation hearing and ultimately recommitted Robinson as a technical parole violator for two counts of "failure to refrain from assaultive behavior" and one count of possession of alcohol. Id. at Ex. 6, 7. Robinson maximum release date remained July 16, 2009. Id. at Ex. 7. On November 10, 2005, Robinson was indicted in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania on charges of Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute 500 Grams or More of Cocaine and Possession with Intent to Distribute Less than 500 Grams of Cocaine. Id. at Ex. 8. These crimes were committed between January 2003 and May 2005, while Robinson was on parole. Id.
Robinson was arrested and detained by federal authorities on December 7, 2005, and remained in federal custody until December 21, 2005. (Doc. 1, Ex. 1, p. 8). Robinson never posted bail from the federal charges. (Doc. 13, Ex. 8). On March 1, 2006, Robinson was again transferred to federal custody, where he remained until October 11, 2006. (Doc. 1, Ex. 1, p. 8). On March 9, 2006, Robinson pled guilty to the federal charges. (Doc. 13, Ex. 8). On October 10, 2006, Robinson was sentenced to 235 months incarceration in federal custody. Id. at Ex. 10. On the same day, based on his federal conviction, the Board recommitted Robinson to serve his remaining state sentence as a convicted parole violator. Id. at Ex. 11.
On February 15, 2007, Robinson was returned to federal custody. (Doc. 1, Ex. 1, p. 8). On December 13, 2007, Robinson's federal sentence was reduced from 235 months to 120 months imprisonment. (Doc. 13, Ex. 8). Robinson was returned to state custody on December 20, 2007, where he remained until March 18, 2009. (Doc. 1, Ex. 1, p. 8). On March 18, 2009, Robinson was transferred to federal custody, where he began serving his federal sentence. (Doc. 13, Ex. 12). Robinson completed his federal sentence on September 18, 2013, and was returned to state custody that day. Id. at Ex. 5, 12.
On December 24, 2013, the Board recalculated Robinson's sentence based upon his recommitment as a convicted parole violator, and revised his maximum release date to February 4, 2019. Id. at Ex. 14. This decision was mailed to Robinson on January 13, 2014. Id . Robinson did not appeal this decision with the Board. Id. at Att. A at ¶ 48. On May 29, 2014, the Board recalculated Robinson's sentence in order to credit him with two additional days of time served. Id. at Ex. 16. Thus, his maximum release date was revised to February 2, 2019. Id . Robinson did not appeal this decision to the Board. (Doc. 18, Att. A1 at ¶6).
Subject to limited exceptions, a petitioner filing a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to Section 2254 must first exhaust all claims in state court. 28 U.S.C. §2254(b)(1). "In order for a claim to be exhausted, it must be fairly presented' to the state courts by invoking one complete round of the State's established appellate review process.'" Carpenter v. Vaughn, 296 F.3d 138, 146 (3d Cir. 2002) (quoting O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838, 844-45 (1999)). A state court appeal must comply with relevant procedural requirements in order to properly exhaust a claim. Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 729-30 (1991).
The doctrine of procedural default is a similar concept. Where an individual has not fairly presented his or her claims in state court, but the claim is now "barred from consideration in the state courts by an independent and adequate' state procedural rule[, ]" procedural default has occurred. Carpenter, 296 F.3d at 146 (citing Doctor v. Walters, 96 F.3d 675, 683 (3d Cir. 1996)). A federal court "will presume that there is no independent and adequate state ground for a state court decision when the decision fairly appears to rest primarily on federal law, or to be interwoven with the federal law, and when the adequacy and independence of any possible state law ground is not clear from the face of the opinion.'" Coleman, 501 U.S. at 734-35 (quoting Michigan v. Long, 463 U.S. 1032, 1040-41 (1983)). Subject to limited exceptions, where a claim is procedurally defaulted a federal court may not consider the merits of that claim. See, Carpenter, 296 F.3d at 146.
1. Robinson's Claim is Barred by an Independent and Adequate State Rule
Robinson challenges the Board's recalculation of his prison sentence, arguing that they have failed to credit him for time served in federal custody. (Doc. 1). In doing so, Robinson could challenge two different decisions: the December 24, 2013 decision extending his confinement until February 4, 2019, or the Board's May 29, 2014 decision that provided a maximum release date of February 2, 2019. (Doc. 13, Ex. 14, 16).
Pennsylvania Regulations provide that any party aggrieved by a decision of the Board must appeal that decision to "the Board's Central Office within 30 days of the mailing date of the Board's order." 37 Pa.Code § 73.1. If the party is not satisfied with the Board's decision, he or she may then appeal to the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, and thereafter must file a petition to the Supreme Court of ...