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Lee v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

October 15, 2019

JOHN LEE, Petitioner,
v.
PENNSYLVANIA BOARD OF PROBATION AND PAROLE, et al., Respondents.

          MEMORANDUM

          PATRICIA L. DODGE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Pending before the Court[1] is the Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus (ECF No. 1) filed by state prisoner John Lee (“Petitioner”). Petitioner challenges the decision by the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole (“Board”) to deny him parole. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will deny the Petition and deny a certificate of appealability.

         I. Background[2]

         In 2008, the Commonwealth charged Petitioner with offenses related to the sexual assault of children. His trial was held in March 2009 in the Court of Common Pleas of McKean County, and at its conclusion the jury convicted him of numerous crimes. The court imposed his sentence in July 2009, but it subsequently vacated that sentence after Petitioner prevailed in a collateral proceeding he filed under Pennsylvania's Post-Conviction Relief Act (“PCRA”). Petitioner later reached a plea agreement with the prosecution, and on February 13, 2012, he pleaded guilty to: (1) Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse With a Child, in violation of 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 3123(b); (2) Indecent Assault, Victim Less Than 13, in violation of 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 3126(a); and (3) Aggravated Indecent Assault, Victim Less than 13, in violation of 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 3125(a)(7).[3] (ECF No. 16-1 at 15-17, 19-22). The court imposed a total aggregate sentence of 10 to 20 years of imprisonment, to be followed by four years of probation. (ECF No. 16-1 at 15-17). It also determined that Petitioner was a Sexually Violent Predator and, therefore, subject to the provisions of Megan's Law. (Id. at 19-23).

         As Petitioner approached his minimum sentence date, the Board evaluated him for parole. On March 22, 2018, it issued a decision notifying him that it denied him parole. (Id. at 28). It explained:

         The reasons for the Board's decision include the following:

Your need to participate in and complete additional institutional programs.
Your risk and needs assessment indicating your level of risk to the community.
Your failure to demonstrate motivation for success.
Your minimization/denial of the nature and circumstances of the offense(s) committed.
Your refusal to accept responsibility for the offense(s) committed.
Your lack of remorse for the offense(s) committed.

(Id.)[4]

         In his Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus (ECF No. 1) and Memorandum of Law in Support (ECF No. 2), Petitioner claims that the Board's decision to deny him parole violated his substantive due process rights. In their Answer (ECF No. 16), Respondents contend that the Court should ...


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