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Doyle v. United States Parole Commission

March 16, 2009

WILLIAM H. DOYLE, PETITIONER,
v.
UNITED STATES PAROLE COMMISSION, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: George H. King United States District Judge*fn6

ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS

This matter is before the Court on Petitioner William H. Doyle's ("Petitioner") Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus ("Petition"). On November 7, 2007, Petitioner filed the Petition. Petitioner is not challenging the legality of his sentence; he is challenging the way it is being executed. On February 29, 2008, Respondent United States Parole Commission ("Respondent") filed an Answer. On March 18, 2008, Petitioner filed a Traverse. We have now considered the papers filed in support of and opposition to this Petition, and deem this matter appropriate for resolution without oral argument. L.R. 78-230(h).

I. Factual Background

On March 19, 1975, Petitioner was sentenced in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas to an 8-year regular prison term and a 20-year special parole term ("SPT") for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. He was released on parole on January 11, 1980, with a full term date of October 17, 1982. The 20-year SPT, therefore, was to commence on October 17, 1982 and originally had a full term date of October 17, 2002.

On February 11, 1983, Petitioner was sentenced in the Eastern District of California on a new drug charge--again possession with an intent to distribute methamphetamine. He was given a 3-year regular prison sentence and a 5-year SPT.

While Petitioner was still serving his new 1983 sentence, Respondent gave Petitioner a combined initial parole hearing on his new 1983 sentence and a dispositional revocation hearing on his 1975 sentence. After the hearing, on April 24, 1985, Respondent revoked Petitioner's 20-year SPT for the first time, forfeited all of the time spent on special parole, and ordered that the unexpired portion of the 1975 sentence would commence upon release on the 1983 prison sentence.

On April 5, 1985, Petitioner was mandatorily released from his 1983 prison sentence. Petitioner's 1975 20-year SPT, which had been revoked with no credit for time spent on special parole, began to run again on April 5, 1985.

On December 11, 1987, Respondent reparoled Petitioner, and reactivated the balance of his 20-year SPT with a full term date of April 4, 2005. Respondent revoked Petitioner's SPT a second time in 1991, a third time in 1993, and a fourth time in 1996. On each such occasion, Respondent forfeited all of Petitioner's street time.

Respondent revoked Petitioner's SPT a fifth time in 1999. However, based upon the Ninth Circuit's decision in Robles v. United States, 146 F.3d 1098 (9th Cir. 1998), Respondent converted Petitioner's 1975 20-year SPT to a term of regular parole, ordered all street time credited, and reparoled him after the service of 16 months. Respondent subsequently awarded Petitioner much of the street time spent on the previous periods of supervision based upon the conversion of his 20-year SPT to a term of regular parole. This order was corrected by Respondent's National Appeals Board to include all previous periods of parole beginning in 1987. Based upon these orders, the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") recalculated Petitioner's sentence.

Petitioner was released on regular parole on the balance of the converted 20-year term on May 19, 2000. The newly computed sentence expiration date was April 11, 2010. Apparently, the new sentence expiration date was in 2010 instead of 2005 because Respondent determined that Petitioner's 1983 5-year SPT would now run consecutively to the 1975 20-year SPT that was converted to a 20-year regular parole term.*fn1

On January 17, 2001, Respondent issued a warrant for Petitioner's arrest. Petitioner was returned to custody on January 31, 2001. On March 23, 2001, Respondent converted Petitioner's regular parole term back to an SPT pursuant to the Supreme Court's decision in Johnson v. United States, 529 U.S. 694 (2000). Respondent believed that Johnson overruled Robles. Respondent vacated its previous decisions to award credit for street time, and the BOP recalculated Petitioner's sentence as if the 1975 20-year parole term was again an SPT.

Respondent revoked Petitioner's special parole for the sixth time in 2001, for the seventh time in 2003, and for the eighth time in 2005, each time again forfeiting all street time.

Respondent granted Petitioner reparole on June 26, 2006. In a petition for writ of habeas corpus filed in the Central District of California on December 13, 2005, Petitioner challenged Respondent's authority to re-convert his 1975 20-year parole term back to an SPT based upon Respondent's interpretation of Johnson. On August 17, 2006, the court granted a conditional writ of habeas corpus. See Doyle v. Warden, 447 F. Supp. 2d 1123 (C.D. Cal. 2006). The court concluded that Robles was based upon the Ninth Circuit's conclusion that 18 U.S.C. § 841(c) did not authorize the creation of a new term of special parole, or reinstatement of an old one, when an SPT was revoked. Id. at 1128. The court held that Johnson did not undermine Robles and that Respondent's interpretation of 18 U.S.C. § 841(c) was not entitled to deference. Id. at 1129--30.

On September 11, 2006, in accordance with the court's order, Respondent issued a decision voiding all of its previous orders regarding the forfeiture of street time and scheduled a hearing to consider discretionary findings concerning the forfeiture of street time based on other grounds. Respondent advised Petitioner that this decision only affected the sentence imposed in 1975 in the Western District of Texas. The BOP recomputed Petitioner's sentence based upon Respondent's decision and determined that the sentence in the ...


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