Morton v. Michigan, State of et al
OPINION and ORDER re 1 dismissing Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and denying certificate of appealability. Signed by District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds. (CBet)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case Number: 2:16-CV-14074
HON. NANCY G. EDMUNDS
STATE OF MICHIGAN, ET AL.,
OPINION AND ORDER DISMISSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF
HABEAS CORPUS AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
This is a habeas corpus action brought by a state prisoner pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2241. Upon the filing of a habeas corpus petition, the court must promptly examine the
petition to determine “if it plainly appears from the face of the petition and any exhibits
annexed to it that the petitioner is not entitled to relief.” Rule 4, Rules Governing Section
2254 cases. If the court determines that the petitioner is not entitled to relief, the court
shall summarily dismiss the petition. McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 856 (1994)
(“Federal courts are authorized to dismiss summarily any habeas petition that appears
legally insufficient on its face”). The habeas petition does not present grounds which
may establish the violation of a federal constitutional right. The petition will be
Petitioner William Morton is an inmate in the custody of the Arizona Department
of Corrections. He is serving a sentence of three-and-a-half years’ for the offense of
misconduct involving weapons. At the time he committed the offense in Arizona,
Petitioner was serving a term of parole from a conviction in Michigan for unarmed
robbery. On April 8, 2014, a parole violation warrant was issued by the Michigan
Department of Corrections, which was lodged as a detainer against Petitioner’s release by
the Arizona Department of Corrections. See ECF No. 1, Pg. ID 13. Petitioner has filed a
pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, claiming that the
detainer lodged against him by the State of Michigan violates his due process rights
because he did not receive a timely parole revocation hearing.
In Morrissey v. Brewer, 408 U.S. 471, 481-84 (1972), the Supreme Court held that
individuals threatened with the revocation of their parole possess a liberty interest that
entitles them to minimal due process protections. The Court outlined a two-step process
for preserving the minimum due process requirements for parole revocation: a
preliminary hearing and a final hearing. Id. The preliminary hearing, which must be held
“promptly” after a parolee is arrested and detained, is an informal inquiry “to determine
whether there is probable cause or reasonable ground to believe that the arrested parolee
has committed acts that would constitute a violation of parole conditions.” Id. at 485.
Following a preliminary hearing, the second stage is a final revocation hearing. This
hearing “must be the basis for more than determining probable cause; it must lead to a
final evaluation of any contested relevant facts and consideration of whether the facts as
determined warrant revocation.” Id. at 488.
Petitioner contends that his due process rights were violated by the lodging of the
parole warrant as a detainer because he did not receive a timely parole revocation hearing
as required under Morrissey. A probation revocation hearing must be held “within a
reasonable time after [a petitioner] is taken into custody.” Id. “Custody,” in the
probation-violation detainer context, occurs only when State authorities execute the
underlying arrest warrant, which has not yet occurred in this case. See Moody v. Daggett,
429 U.S. 78, 87 (1976). Michigan authorities may defer the warrant’s execution until
after Petitioner’s Arizona sentence expires. See, e.g., Moody, 429 U.S. at 87-88; see also
Davis v. Stine, 2006 WL 1050069, at *3 (E.D. Ky. April 20, 2006) (“There is nothing
impermissible in waiting until a parole or probation violator is released from [another
jurisdiction’s] custody before holding revocation proceedings.”). Because Petitioner has
not, as yet, been arrested pursuant to the parole violator’s warrant, his due process rights
under Morrissey have not vested. See Moody, 429 U.S. at 86-87.
Moreover, because Plaintiff’s conviction in Arizona by guilty plea provides
irrefutable evidence of a parole violation, Morrissey’s protections may never come into
play. Cf. Sneed v. Donahue, 993 F.2d 1239, 1241 (6th Cir. 1993) (because parole
decision maker had no discretion but to revoke parole on the basis of a subsequent
conviction, Morrissey did not apply). Petitioner, therefore, fails to raise a claim arising
from the Michigan detainer.
Accordingly, the Court DISMISSES the petition for a writ of habeas corpus.
Before Petitioner may appeal the Court’s decision, a certificate of appealability
must issue. See 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(1)(a); Fed. R. App. P. 22(b). A certificate of
appealability may issue “only if the applicant has made a substantial showing of the
denial of a constitutional right.” 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2). When a federal court denies a
habeas claim on procedural grounds without addressing the merits, a certificate of
appealability should issue if it is shown that jurists of reason would find it debatable
whether the petitioner states a valid claim of the denial of a constitutional right, and that
jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the district court was correct in its
procedural ruling. See Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484-85 (2000). Reasonable
jurists would not debate the correctness of the Court’s ruling. Accordingly, the Court
DENIES a certificate of appealability.
s/ Nancy G. Edmunds
NANCY G. EDMUNDS
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated:December 19, 2016
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
I hereby certify that a copy of this order was served upon parties and/or counsel
of record on this 19th day of December, 2016 by regular U.S. Mail and/or CM/ECF.
s/ Carol J Bethel
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