United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
NICKIE R. LOGAN, Petitioner,
SUPERINTENDENT OF SCI HUNTINGDON, et al., Respondents.
PATRICIA L. DODGE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
before the Court is the Petition for a Writ of Habeas
Corpus (ECF No. 6) filed by state prisoner Nickie R. Logan
(“Petitioner”) under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 and
Respondents' Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 12). For the
reasons set forth below, the Court will grant
Respondents' Motion to Dismiss and dismiss the Petition
for a Writ of Habeas Corpus because Petitioner's claims
are not ripe for review. Also pending before the Court is
Petitioner's Motion to Amend Relief (ECF No. 15) and
Motion for Discovery (ECF No. 19). The Court will deny these
motions because they are moot.
February 2012, Petitioner was convicted in the Court of
Common Pleas of Allegheny County “of thirteen criminal
offenses and eight summary offenses in connection with a
series of car thefts.” Logan v. District Attorney
of Allegheny County, 752 Fed.Appx. 119, 120 (3d Cir.
2018). The Commonwealth had charged Petitioner on three
separate criminal information at criminal docket numbers
CP-2-CR-4829-2011, CP-2-CR-4530-2011, and CP-2-CR-6403-2011,
and the charges were consolidated for purposes of the trial.
Logan, 752 Fed.Appx. at 120 n.1.
March 19, 2012, the trial court imposed his judgment of
sentence, for a total aggregate term of eight to 17 years of
imprisonment. The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections
(the “DOC”) calculated Petitioner's minimum
sentence date to be August 6, 2019, and his maximum sentence
date to be February 2, 2027. (ECF No. 12 at 3). Once an
inmate completes the minimum sentence, it is up to the
Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Board (the “Parole
Board”) to determine if and when the inmate will be
released before serving the maximum sentence imposed.
See, e.g., Fordham v. Commonwealth.
Dep't of Corrs., 943 A.2d 1004 (Pa. Commw. Ct.
April 2019, as Petitioner approached his minimum sentence
date, he was interviewed by a hearing officer with the Parole
Board. During the interview, Petitioner stated that he was
still appealing his judgment of sentence. Based upon this
information, the hearing officer continued the interview
pending the disposition of Petitioner's appeal. As a
result, the Parole Board did not schedule a parole hearing.
Petitioner then filed his Petition with this Court within
which he claims that the Parole Board is violating his due
process rights because it will not grant him parole: (1)
while he is appealing his judgment of sentence (ECF No. 6 at
5); (2) unless he accepts responsibility for convictions on
crimes he insists he did not commit (id. at 6, 8);
and (3) because he “filed an affidavit of probable
cause and criminal complaint” against a parole agent
(id. at 10). Petitioner sought as relief an order
from this Court directing the Parole Board to conduct his
parole hearing and consider only appropriate factors in its
evaluation of Petitioner's parole eligibility.
(Id. at 14).
filed a Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 12) within which they
explain that the Parole Board recently determined that
Petitioner does not have an active appeal in the Pennsylvania
appellate courts. (Id. at 2-3). The Parole Board
conducted Petitioner's parole interview on July 19, 2019
(ECF No. 15 at 3), and scheduled his parole hearing to be
held on the next available docket. (ECF No. 12-2 at 15).
Thus, to the extent that Petitioner was challenging the
decision to continue his parole interview, that challenge is
moot. As for Petitioner's specific claims, which
challenge the factors that the Parole Board can consider when
it evaluates him for parole, Respondents contend that the
Court must dismiss them because they are not ripe for review.
(ECF No. 12 at 5).
Reply (ECF No. 14), Petitioner argues that the Court should
not dismiss his claims because he anticipates that the Parole
Board will find him ineligible for parole on the basis that
he refuses to accept responsibility for convictions on crimes
he insists he did not commit. (Id.) He also file a
Motion for Discovery (ECF No. 19) and a Motion to Amend
Relief (ECF No. 15), within which he asserts that the Court
should order Respondents to immediately release him to a
community corrections center.
Petitioner had his parole interview on July 19, 2019, the
pertinent question now before the Court is whether his claims
challenging the factors the Parole Board can consider when it
evaluates him for parole are ripe for review. The
“[r]ipeness doctrine is invoked to determine whether a
dispute has yet matured to a point that warrants decision.
The determination rests both on Article III concepts and on
discretionary reasons of policy. The central concern is
whether the case involves uncertain or contingent future
events that may not occur as anticipated, or indeed may not
occur at all.” 13B Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R.
Miller, et al., Federal Practice and Procedure § 3532
(3d ed.), Westlaw (database updated Aug. 2019) (citations
omitted). The doctrine “determines ‘whether a
party has brought an action prematurely, and counsels
abstention until such time as a dispute is sufficiently
concrete to satisfy the constitutional and prudential
requirements of the doctrine.'” Pittsburgh Mack
Sales & Serv. v. Int'l Union of Operating
Engineers, 580 F.3d 185, 190 (3d Cir. 2009) (quoting
Peachlum v. City of York, 333 F.3d 429, 433 (3d Cir.
is no evidence that, as of this date, the Parole Board has
conducted Petitioner's parole hearing or, most
importantly, that it has issued a final decision regarding
whether Petitioner will receive parole. Therefore,
Petitioner's claims are not ripe for review. For that
reason, the Court will grant Respondents' motion (ECF No.
12) and dismiss the Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus. The
dismissal will be without prejudice to Petitioner filing
another federal habeas action in the event he is denied
parole, and after he exhausts available state-court remedies.
Petitioner's Motion to Amend Relief (ECF No. 15) and
Motion for Discovery (ECF No. 19) will be denied. The
Court's determination that Petitioner's claims must
be dismissed because they are not ripe for review renders
those motions moot.
Certificate of Appealability
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, Pub.
L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214, codified standards governing
the issuance of a certificate of appealability for appellate
review of a district court's disposition of a habeas
petition. It provides that “[u]nless a circuit justice
or judge issues a certificate of appealability, an appeal may
not be taken to the court of appeals from…the final
order in a habeas corpus proceeding in which the detention
complained of arises out of process issued by a State
court[.]” 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(1)(A). It also
provides that “[a] certificate of appealability may
issue...only if the applicant has made a substantial showing
of the denial of a constitutional right.” Id.
§ 2253(c)(2). This Court need not make a certificate of
appealability determination because it is dismissing
Petitioner's claims without prejudice. See Brian
R. Means, Federal Habeas Manual § 12.30, Westlaw
(database updated May 2019); Gacho v. Butler, 792
F.3d 732, 735-37 (7th Cir. 2015). To the ...