United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
MALACHY E. MANNION, 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.
Memorandum and Order dated June 14, 2017, the Court denied
Bell's petition for writ of habeas corpus, finding that
Bell's 1990 Rape conviction and sentence, is listed under
SORNA as one of the Tier III sexual offenses that require him
to register as a sex offender for a lifetime and appear in
person quarterly at an approved registration site to verify
the information provided to the PSP and to be photographed.
(Docs. 13, 14).
29, 2017, Bell filed a notice of appeal. (Doc. 16). By Order
dated June 5, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for
the Third Circuit vacated the District Court's Order,
stating the following:
Darryl Bell appeals an order of the District Court denying
his petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C.
§2254. Before the District Court, Bell sought relief
based on a constitutional challenge to the retroactive
application of Pennsylvania's Sex Offender Registration
and Notification Act (SORNA). The District Court denied the
petition, applying deference under 28 U.S.C. §2254(d) to
a decision from the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court. After
Bell filed his notice of appeal, the Pennsylvania Supreme
Court held that Pennsylvania's SORNA violated the federal
Ex Post Facto Clause. Commonwealth v. Muniz, 164
A.3d 1189, 1218 (Pa. 2017). We granted a certificate of
appealability and asked the parties to show cause why the
District Court's decision should not be summarily vacated
and the case remanded to the District Court in light of
Muniz. See 3d Cir. L.A.R. 27.4; 3d Cir.
I.O.P. 10.6. After receiving the show-cause responses from
the parties, we conclude that these arguments are best
considered for the first time before the District Court.
Thus, we vacate the District Court's order and remand to
the District Court in light of Muniz and any
additional arguments the parties wish to raise. We express no
opinion on the procedural or substantive issues raised by
Bell's effort to obtain habeas relief.
Order dated November 5, 2018, the District Court ordered
supplemental briefing from the parties, on the impact, if
any, Muniz has on Petitioner's claim for relief.
The petition is now ripe for disposition. For the reasons
that follow, the petition will be dismissed for
Petitioner's failure to exhaust state court remedies with
respect to the newly enacted SORNA II.
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.
Id. 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.
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. ...