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Madden v. Mooney

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

December 21, 2016

MARK A. MADDEN, Petitioner
VINCENT F. MOONEY, et al., Respondents


          Christopher C. Conner, United States District Chief Judge

         Petitioner, Mark Madden (“Madden”), an inmate formerly confined at the State Correctional Institution, Coal Township, Pennsylvania[1], initiated this action with the filing of a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Doc. 1). Therein, he contends that the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole (“PBPP”) violated his constitutional rights when the PBPP revoked his parole and calculated his parole violation maximum date as September 10, 2022. (Id.) For the reasons that follow, the petition will be denied.

         I. Background

         On July 16, 2006, Madden was released on parole from three sentences in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. (Doc. 10-1, pp. 2-5). At that time, his maximum sentence expiration date was November 21, 2014. (Id. at p. 2).

         On December 17, 2008, Madden was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and charged with new federal crimes of bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. (Id. at p. 7). On October 22, 2009, Madden entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to four, concurrent, six year terms of imprisonment. (Id. at pp. 9-14; United States v. Madden, No. 08-CR-1278 (S.D.N.Y)).

         Subsequent to his release by federal authorities, Madden was returned to Pennsylvania and charged with violating his parole. (Doc. 10-1, p. 16). On May 9, 2014, Madden waived his right to a parole revocation hearing and right to counsel, and admitted that he was convicted of the new federal offenses in violation of his parole. (Id. at p. 18). On July 30, 2014, the PBPP revoked Madden's parole based on the new federal convictions and recommitted him as a convicted parole violator to serve twenty-four months backtime. (Id. at p. 20). The PBPP established his parole violation maximum date as September 10, 2022. (Id.)

         In August 2014, Madden filed an administrative appeal challenging the PBPP's July 30, 2014 decision. (Id. at pp. 22-24). On October 30, 2014, the PBPP denied the administrative appeal, and affirmed the July 30, 2014 decision. (Id. at pp. 28-29).

         On December 15, 2014, Madden initiated proceedings in the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court. (Id. at pp. 31-34). On December 29, 2014, the Commonwealth Court quashed Madden's petition for review as untimely filed. (Id. at p. 38). On January 7, 2015, Madden filed a motion for reconsideration. (Id. at pp. 40-42). The Commonwealth Court denied the motion for reconsideration on January 12, 2015. (Id. at p. 44). Madden did not file an appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

         The instant petition was filed on February 27, 2015. (Doc. 1).

         II. Discussion

         Madden's petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenges the PBPP's revocation of his parole and calculation of his parole violation maximum date. Absent unusual circumstances, federal courts will not consider the merits of a claim for habeas corpus unless the petitioner has complied with the exhaustion requirement set out at 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1)(A). This provision requires that the petitioner give the state courts a fair opportunity to review allegations of constitutional error before seeking relief in federal court. See Baldwin v. Reese, 541 U.S. 27, 29 (2004). Pursuant to the habeas statute, a petitioner has not exhausted the remedies available in the courts of the state “if he has the right under the law of the State to raise, by any available procedure, the question presented.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(c). Petitioner bears the burden of demonstrating that he has satisfied the exhaustion requirement. See Lines v. Larkins, 208 F.3d 153, 159 (3d Cir. 2000).

         To properly exhaust a claim involving a determination by the PBPP, the petitioner must first file a petition for administrative review with the PBPP within thirty days of the mailing date of the PBPP's decision. See 37 Pa.Code § 73.1(a). After an administrative appeal to the PBPP, a petitioner must present his claims to the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court. See 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 763(a); Bronson v. Pennsylvania Bd. of Prob. and Parole, 491 Pa. 549, 421 A.2d 1021 (1980). If dissatisfied with the result, petitioner must then file a Petition for Allowance of Appeal with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. See 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 724; McMahon v. Pennsylvania Bd. of Prob. and Parole, 504 Pa. 240, 470 A.2d 1337 (1983). See also Pagan v. Pennsylvania Bd. of Prob. and Parole, No. 08-0150, 2009 WL 210488 *3 (E.D. Pa. January 22, 2009). If petitioner fails to seek review from the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, then the state claim is unexhausted. See Williams v. Wynder, 232 F. App'x 177, 181 (3d Cir. 2007).

         Madden fails to demonstrate that he satisfied the exhaustion requirement. Initially, he filed a petition for administrative review of the revocation with the PBPP, which affirmed the decision. (Doc. 10-1, pp. 22-24). A petition for review was filed in the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court on December 15, 2014, and, on December 29, 2014, the court quashed the appeal as untimely. (Id. at pp. 31-38). Madden failed to file an appeal in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. As such, he has not exhausted his state court remedies and the time to do so has expired. See Pa. R.A.P. 1113(a) (“a petition for allowance of appeal shall be filed with the Prothonotary of the Supreme Court within 30 days after the entry of the order of the Superior Court or the Commonwealth Court sought to be reviewed”).

         Madden's failure to timely present his claims at the state level constitutes an independent and adequate state ground sufficient to support a procedural default of his claims. See Barnhart v. Kyler, 318 F.Supp.2d 250 (M.D. Pa. 2004). The merits of his procedurally defaulted claims cannot be reviewed unless he demonstrates either cause for the procedural default and actual prejudice, or that a fundamental miscarriage of justice will result if the court does not review the claims. See McCandless v. Vaughn, 172 F.3d 255, 260 (3d Cir. 1999); Caswell v. Ryan, 953 F.2d 853, 861-62 (3d Cir. 1992). To demonstrate “cause” for a procedural default, he must point to some objective external factor which impeded his efforts to comply with the state's procedural rule. See Murray v. Carrier, 477 U.S. 478, 488 (1986). “Prejudice” will be satisfied only if he can demonstrate that the outcome of the state proceeding was “unreliable or fundamentally unfair” as a result of a violation of federal law. See Lockhart v. Fretwell, 506 U.S. 364, 366 (1993). Madden has not established ...

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