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MARTINSON v. U.S. PAROLE COMMISSION

August 5, 2004.

ERIC CARLISLE MARTINSON, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES PAROLE COMMISSION, Respondent.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: DEBRA FREEMAN, Magistrate Judge

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

TO THE HONORABLE DENISE L. COTE, U.S.D.J.:
INTRODUCTION
  By Order dated May 27, 2004, I ordered petitioner Eric Carlisle Martinson ("Petitioner") to show cause why his petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, challenging a denial of parole, should not be dismissed as moot, as Petitioner had been released from prison during the pendency of the petition. (Dkt. 22.) Petitioner timely responded to that Order (see Petitioner's Affidavit and Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion for Ruling on Merits, dated June 28, 2004 ("6/28/04 Pet. Mem.")), arguing, in substance, that he is continuing to suffer adverse consequences from the denial of parole, in that he is currently serving a five-year term of supervised release on another conviction "which would have begun three years sooner had the [United States Parole] Commission not abused its discretion" in denying parole when it did (see id. at 4). In his submission, Petitioner has also sought to amend his petition to drop any request that he be granted parole and released from prison, although Petitioner maintains that he is still entitled to a ruling "on the merits" of his petition. (Id. at 6.) According to Petitioner, an adjudication on the merits would continue to be relevant to "any future consideration by the Court pursuant to [Petitioner's] supervised release as well as future consideration concerning special parole." (Id. at 4-5.)

  For the reasons discussed below, I recommend that the petition be dismissed. Petitioner has not adequately demonstrated that an adjudication by this Court on the merits of his petition would be anything other than advisory at this point, and even if the petition is not now moot, it would nonetheless be subject to dismissal on the merits.

  BACKGROUND

  A. Factual Background

  Petitioner committed a number of federal offenses, including drug-trafficking offenses, over a period of years, for which he was prosecuted in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He was sentenced first — in 1993 — for the later of these crimes (i.e., those committed between 1987 and 1992),*fn1 and then sentenced subsequently — in 1994 — for his initial federal crime, committed in 1985.*fn2 Petitioner's 1993 sentence, imposed under the Sentencing Reform Act, was for a prison term of 120 months and a term of supervised release of five years. (See Resp. Return, Thiessen Decl., Ex. E, at 8.) Petitioner's 1994 sentence, for his earlier crime, was for a prison term of five years, for which Petitioner was parolable. (See id., Ex. D (Judgment in a Criminal Case), at 2.) The second sentence was ordered to run consecutively to the first. (See id.; see also Respondent's Opposition to Petition, filed Sept. 13, 2002 ("Resp. Opp."), at 1-2.) Petitioner was incarcerated, pursuant to these sentences, in the Otisville Federal Correctional Institution in New York.

  Petitioner asserts that the 1985 crime was related to his later crimes, and he further asserts that the prosecution stated as much at the time of his second sentencing, in its effort to make the 1985 crime seem more serious, and thus to secure the maximum sentence for it. (See Resp. Return, Thiessen Decl., Ex. I (Transcript of 1994 Sentencing), at 8 ("This case represents to us the start of Mr. Martinson's successful methamphetamine trafficking.").) In his habeas petition, Petitioner argues that, in denying him parole on his second sentence, it was an abuse of discretion for the United States Parole Commission (the "Commission" or "Respondent") to have ignored the government's prior statement that the crimes were related, and to have denied him any parole guideline credit for the time he served in prison on his first sentence. Petitioner argues that a finding by the Commission that the crimes were "related" would have compelled his earlier release.

  The parole determination that Petitioner challenges was recommended by a hearing examiner of the Commission, in April 2001.*fn3 (See id., Ex. G, at 1-2; Petition, filed June 25, 2002 ("Pet."), at 2.) The Commission agreed with the recommendation that parole be denied, and ordered that Petitioner "continue [in prison] to expiration [of his term]." (See id., Ex. H, at 1.) Although Petitioner filed a timely administrative appeal of the Commission's decision to the Commission's National Appeals Board, he alleged in his petition that the Appeals Board failed to decide his appeal. (See Pet. at 2; Resp. Opp. at 4.) Subsequently, however, the Appeals Board did decide the appeal, upholding the Commission's determination that Petitioner be denied parole (see Resp. Return, Thiessen Decl., Ex. J (Notice of Action on Appeal)). The Commission's decision, therefore, is now final, and Petitioner currently appears to be challenging only that decision, and not any failure by the Appeals Board to act. (See 6/28/04 Pet. Mem. at 6-8.)

  On March 19, 2004, after completing his second prison term,*fn4 Petitioner was released from prison, and he currently resides in Philadelphia (see Dkt. 21 (notice of change of address)), where he is apparently serving his term of supervised release on his 1993 sentence, as well as a two-year term of special parole with respect to his 1994 sentence. (See Resp. Return, Thiessen Decl., Ex. C, at 1; see also 6/28/04 Pet. Mem. at 5 ("[P]etitioner also has two years special parole").)

  B. Procedural History

  Petitioner is proceeding in this action in forma pauperis. (Dkt. 1.) His habeas petition, submitted under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, is dated October 24, 2001, although it was not entered on the Court's docket until June 25, 2002.*fn5 (Dkt. 2.) The matter was referred to me for a report and recommendation on July 10, 2002. (Dkt. 4.) Respondent filed its opposition to the petition on September 13, 2002 (Dkt. 7), and Petitioner filed a reply on September 25, 2002 (Dkt. 8). Respondent then submitted a short additional brief on October 2, 2002, to which Petitioner again filed a reply, on October 11, 2002. (Dkt. 9.)

  Since then, Petitioner has made several additional applications to the Court: (1) Petitioner filed a motion to supplement the record (Dkt. 11), which the Court granted in part and denied in part on July 18, 2003 (Dkt. 13); (2) Petitioner filed a motion to compel production of material (Dkt. 12), which was granted by the Court, also on July 18, 2003 (Dkt. 13); (3) Petitioner moved for entry of judgment as a sanction for Respondent's alleged noncompliance with the Court's order compelling discovery (Dkt. 17), which the Court denied on September 25, 2003 (Dkt. 16); (4) Petitioner applied for appointment of counsel (Dkt. 14), which the Court denied on February 2, 2004 (Dkt. 19); (5) Petitioner again filed a motion to expand the record (Dkt. 18), which the Court also denied on February 2, 2004 (Dkt. 19); and (6) Petitioner filed a motion requesting an order scheduling discovery (Dkt. 20), which the Court denied on February 20, 2004 (see Dkt.).*fn6 While his habeas petition was still under consideration by the Court, Petitioner was released from custody. (See Dkt. 21.) As the original goal of Petitioner's petition was to secure his release from prison, and as he was, in fact, released during the petition's pendency, I ordered Petitioner to show cause why his petition should not be dismissed as moot. (Dkt. 22.) Petitioner responded to that Order, as noted above. (See supra at 1-2; Dkt. 23.) Respondent, for its part, has chosen not to make any submissions on the issue of mootness raised by the Court.

  ...


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