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Cain v. Clarke

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division

August 31, 2017

LEROY DEXTER CAIN, Petitioner,
v.
HAROLD CLARKE, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Roderick C. Young, United States Magistrate Judge.

         Leroy Dexter Cain, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 ("§ 2254 Petition, " ECF No. 1) challenging, inter alia, the revocation of his parole.[1] Cain argues entitlement to relief upon the following grounds:"[2]

Claim One: In revoking Cain's parole, the Virginia Parole Board ("VPB") failed to provide the minimum process required by the Supreme Court in Morrissey v. Brewer, 408 U.S. 471 (1972). (§ 2254 Pet. 13.)
Claim Two: Cain's rights were violated when the VPB revoked Cain's 17 years, 11 months, and 4 days of good conduct time without affording Cain any due process. (Id.)
Claim Three: The Commonwealth breached a verbal agreement made to Cain not to revoke his release on mandatory parole and 17 years, 11 months, and 4 days of earned good conduct time in exchange for his pleas of guilty to the new charges. (Id.)
Claim Four: The VPB violated Cain's right to equal protection and fair warning that his earned good conduct time credits would be revoked if he violated the conditions of his parole. (Id.)

         Respondent moves to dismiss the § 2254 Petition. For the reasons explained below, the Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 9) will be GRANTED.

         I. Procedural and Factual History

         On November 30, 2011, Cain filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus with the Circuit Court of the City of Richmond ("Circuit Court"). (§ 2254 Pet. 19.) The Circuit Court provided the following accurate summary of the procedural history of this matter:

Petitioner was released from custody on parole in November 2008 after serving nearly 21 years of a 39-year sentence for attempted robbery with use of a firearm and three counts of armed robbery. Petitioner was then arrested in March 2010 and charged with robbery and malicious wounding, among other crimes. Me pleaded guilty on April 12, 2011, to a number of offenses and received a 45-year sentence, with 37 years suspended, resulting in an active sentence of eight years.
After pleading guilty, he was brought back into detention and received notice of a parole violation hearing to be held on May 13, 2011. Petitioner claims this hearing never occurred. The Virginia Parole Board (the "Board") has searched its records and has not found any evidence of a parole hearing for Petitioner on this date. The Board does not admit that the hearing never occurred; only that they do not have sufficient evidence of the hearing in their records. So out of an abundance of caution, the Board scheduled another revocation hearing for April 10, 2012. This hearing did take place, Petitioners parole was revoked because of his recent convictions, and the unserved sentence from his original convictions was reinstated.

(§2254 Pet. 19-20.) [3]

         II. Applicable Constraints Upon Habeas Review

         In order to obtain federal habeas relief, at a minimum, a petitioner must demonstrate that he is "in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). The Anti terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA") further circumscribed this Court's authority to grant relief by way of a writ of habeas corpus. Specifically, "[s]tate court factual determinations are presumed to be correct and may be rebutted only by clear and convincing evidence." Gray v. Branker, 529 F.3d 220, 228 (4th Cir. 2008) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1)). Additionally, under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), a federal court may not grant a writ of habeas corpus based on any claim that was adjudicated on the merits in state court unless the adjudicated claim:

(1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the ...

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