United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
William J. Nealon United States District Judge.
Arthur Bell, an inmate formerly confined in the Pennsylvania
Department of Corrections, filed this petition for writ of habeas
corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Doc. 1). Bell
challenges his classification as a Tier III sex offender
under Pennsylvania's Sex Offender Registration and
Notification Act ("SORNA"). 42 Pa.C.S.§
9799.10, et seq. The petition is ripe for
disposition. For the reasons that follow, the petition will
1960, Petitioner, Darryl Arthur Bell, committed the crime of
murder after he shot and killed Philadelphia grocery store
owner Herman Rosenberg. (Doc. 7-1 at 16, Bell's December
24, 2013 deposition testimony; Doc. 7-1 at 48, 52,
Philadelphia Police Department Offense Report dated December
22, 1960). Bell was subsequently sentenced to death for this
crime. (Doc. 7-1 at 17). Bell was also implicated in the
murder of Philadelphia grocer Max Kanal, and subsequently
sentenced to death in the electric chair for this crime. Mi
Bell's death sentence was overturned and converted to a
life sentence after the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in
Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 238 (1972).
December of 1975, the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons
recommended that Bell's Life sentence be commuted to a
term of imprisonment of 16 years to Life. (Doc. 7-1 at 57,
Board of Pardons Recommendation).
15, 1976, Governor Milton Shapp commuted Bell's sentence
from Life to sixteen (16) years to Life, and eligibility for
parole and pre-release consideration. (Doc. 7-1 at 59,
Governor's commutation Order).
February 24, 1978, the Board released Bell on parole to an
approved home plan. (Doc. 7-2 at 2, Order to Release on
around 1986, Bell was charged with Rape of his 17-year-old
stepdaughter. (Doc. 7-2 at 5, Pennsylvania Department of
Corrections Public Safety Face Sheet dated January 27, 1999).
Bell was subsequently convicted of the crime of Rape and, on
August 7, 1990, was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of
eight (8) to twenty (20) years of incarceration. (Doc. 7-2 at
7, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Sentence Status
Summary Sheet). Bell's minimum sentence date on this new
sentence was calculated as May 30, 2001 and his maximum
sentence date was calculated as May 30, 2013. Id.
decision mailed February 14, 1991, the Board recommitted Bell
as a convicted parole violator for committing the new crime
of rape while on parole and ordered him to serve forty-eight
(48) months backtime. (Doc. 7-2 at 11, Board's
recommitment decision). The decision mailed February 14,
1991, also provided that Bell would be reparoled on or after
December 19, 1994 to his eight (8) to twenty (20) year
detainer sentence. Id. Consequently, on December 19,
1994, Bell was constructively reparoled from his Life
sentence for Murder in the First Degree to his eight (8) to
twenty (20) year Rape sentence, which had a minimum date of
May 30, 2001 and a maximum date of May 30, 2013. (Doc. 7-2 at
13, Order to Release on Parole/Reparole).
March 6, 2013, the Board requested that the State of North
Carolina supervise Bell once he maxed out on his Rape
conviction, as Bell's sister agreed to allow him to live
with her in Wilmington, North Carolina. (Doc. 7-2 at 15,
Board's Interstate Compact Transfer Request).
April 3, 2013, Bell filed a petition for writ of mandamus
with the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court challenging his
classification as a Tier III sex offender under SORNA. 42
Pa.C.S. § 9799.10, et. seq. (Doc. 7-3 at 2,
April 4, 2013, the State of North Carolina approved the
Board's request to transfer supervision to their state.
(Doc. 7-2 at 20, Reply to Transfer Request).
April 17, 2013, Bell was registered as a Tier III sexually
violent offender in conformity with Pennsylvania's SORNA,
in lieu of his 1990 Rape conviction. 42 Pa.C.S. §§
9799.13(2); 9799.14(d). (Doc. 7-2 at 24, Sex Offender
Acknowledgment of Registration Requirements Form; Doc. 7-2 at
26, Pennsylvania State Police's Sex Offender Registration
Form dated April 17, 2013). Also on April 17, 2013, Bell
signed the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole's
standard special conditions for sex offenders. (Doc. 7-2 at
29, Board's Special Conditions for Sex Offenders). The
Board conditions signed by Bell do not specifically require
him to register as a sex offender under Pennsylvania's
SORNA Law, as this duty is required by his conviction and the
operation of law. See Id. Additionally, on April 17,
2013, Bell also signed the regular and special conditions of
parole for the State of North Carolina. (Doc. 7-2 at 35,
North Carolina's Regular Conditions of Probation). The
State of North Carolina's sex offender control conditions
require that Bell register as a sexual offender in the State
of North Carolina. See Id. On May 29, 2013, Bell
signed the regular conditions of his parole prior to him
maxing out on his 8 to 20 year Rape sentence. (Doc. 7-2 at
39, Conditions Governing Parole/Reparole).
30, 2013, the Board informed the State of North Carolina that
Bell was traveling to their state via airplane. (Doc. 7-2 at
41, Interstate Compact's Notice of Departure). On June
18, 2013, the State of North Carolina informed the Board that
Bell had arrived ...