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Henderson v. Brookes

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

December 19, 2017

GERALD HENDERSON, Petitioner
v.
MR. BROOKES, et al., Respondents

          MEMORANDUM

          KANE, JUDGE.

         On December 8, 2015, Petitioner Gerald Henderson, an inmate currently confined at the Federal Detention Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenging the decision of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole (“Board”), to deny him reparole. (Doc. No. 9.) Respondents filed an answer to the petition on May 18, 2016, maintaining that denial of Henderson's petition is appropriate. (Doc. No. 21.) Henderson subsequently filed a motion for leave to amend his prayer for relief (Doc. No. 27), motion to revise his petition (Doc. No. 32), and motion to remain at the Federal Detention Center until his habeas petition is resolved by this Court (Doc. No. 33). After the Court issued an Order directing Respondent to respond to Petitioner's recent filings, Respondents filed a response on October 4, 2017. (Doc. No. 35.) This matter is now ripe for disposition. For the reasons set forth below, the petition will be denied.

         I. STATEMENT OF THE CASE

         A. Procedural History

         Henderson is serving a 15 to 32 year total sentence at the Department of Corrections (“DOC”) for committing the crimes of Murder in the 3rd Degree, Reckless Endangerment, Persons not to Use, Possess Firearms, and Robbery. (Doc. No. 21 at 2.) Henderson's minimum sentence date was calculated as July 7, 2002 and his original maximum sentence date was calculated as July 7, 2019. (Id.) On August 12, 2002, Henderson was released to a Community Corrections Center. (Id.) On April 11, 2005, the Board recommitted Henderson to a State Correctional Institution as a technical parole violator for consuming alcohol, and Henderson was to serve six months backtime for the violation. (Id.) Henderson was released on reparole on February 12, 2006. (Id.)

         Henderson was recommitted on September 3, 2013 as a convicted parole violator and was to serve eighteen months backtime for committing the offense of conspiracy to distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine while on parole. (Id.) The Board recalculated Henderson's sentence to a maximum date of April 14, 2028, which was later modified to August 19, 2027, due to a technical error. (Id. at 2-3.)

         On August 5, 2014, Henderson was denied reparole based on the following factors: (1) institutional behavior, including reported misconducts; (2) risk and needs assessment indicating level of risk to the community; (3) prior unsatisfactory parole supervision history; (4) reports, evaluations and assessment/level of risk indicates is a risk to the community; (5) failure to demonstrate motivation for success; and (6) lack of remorse for the offense(s) committed. (Id. at 3.)

         Henderson was again denied reparole on November 17, 2015 based on the following factors: (1) risk and needs assessment indicates is a level of risk to the community; (2) prior unsatisfactory parole supervision history; (3) reports, evaluations and assessments/level of risk indicates is a risk to the community; and (4) lack of remorse for the offense(s) committed. (Id. at 3-4.) The Board provided that Henderson would be reviewed in or after July 2017 and at that time, the Board would consider: (1) whether Henderson has maintained a favorable recommendation for parole from the DOC; (2) whether he has maintained a clear conduct record; and (3) whether he has completed the DOC's prescription program(s). (Id. at 4.)

         During the pendency of this action, the Board issued a decision on June 19, 2017, granting Henderson reparole to his Federal detainer sentence, and Henderson was released on reparole to his Federal detainer sentence on August 10, 2017. (Doc. No. 35 at 2.)

         B. Habeas Claims Presented

         Henderson's petition advances the following claims:

1. Whether the Board's parole-release decisions on August 5, 2014 and November 17, 2015, denying him reparole, violate his procedural and substantive due process rights;
2. Whether the Board's decision denying him reparole is in violation of his right to equal protection; and
3. Whether the Board's decision denying him reparole was based on retaliation for Petitioner asserting his First Amendment rights in a 1997 lawsuit filed against ...

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