United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division
Morris J. Warren, Petitioner,
United States Parole Commission, et al., Respondents.
M. BRINKEMA UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
J. Warren ("Warren" or "petitioner"), a
federal inmate proceeding pro se, has filed a petition for a
writ of habeas corpus, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241,
arguing that his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth
Amendments were violated when the United States Parole
Commission ("USPC") declined to release him on
parole in 2017. The matter is before the Court on a Motion
for Summary Judgment filed jointly by respondents USPC; J.
Ray Ormond, the Warden of FCC Petersburg, petitioner's
current place of confinement; and Mark Bolster, FCC
Petersburg's Associate Warden. Petitioner has responded
to the motion. For the reasons that follow, the motion will
is presently serving a 15-year-to-life sentence in federal
custody for multiple convictions entered in D.C. Superior
Court. On October 18, 2017, the USPC considered Warren for
parole and, as it had done in several earlier reviews,
declined to release him after finding it reasonably probable
that he would not obey the law if released and that his
release likely would endanger public safety. The decision was
based on Warren's commission of his current offenses
while on parole for prior crimes of robbery and assault, his
separate Maryland conviction for murder, and his refusal to
participate in sex offender treatment. Resp. Ex. 3, Notice of
Action 11/9/2017. In his petition, Warren seeks immediate
release on the grounds that the USPC violated his
constitutional rights and exceeded its authority in denying
him parole. Specifically, Warren argues that the USPC erred
by considering that he committed his current offenses while
on parole for previous offenses, on the ground that the
parole regulations do not list "instant offenses"
as a basis for denying parole. He also contends that the USPC
failed to consider his culpability in the crimes for which he
was convicted, his institutional achievements, and
administrative responses from the Federal Bureau of Prisons
("BOP") regarding his psychological evaluations and
sex offender treatment.
initially filed this petition in the United States District
Court for the District of Columbia. The petition was
transferred to this court in May 2018, and respondents filed
the Motion for Summary Judgment and supporting memorandum now
under consideration on July 23, 2018. [Dkt. Nos. 9 -10]
Petitioner submitted his opposition on August 14, 2018 [Dkt.
No. 12],  and respondents filed a reply memorandum
on August 20, 2018. [Dkt. No. 13] On September 5, 2018,
Warren submitted a Traverse Response to the Respondents'
Memorandum of So Call Law [Dkt. No. 15]; on September 13,
2018, respondents moved to strike the Traverse Response [Dkt.
No. 17], and their motion will be granted for reasons to be
Standards of Review
Fed. R. Civ. P. 56
judgment shall be granted "if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The movant bears the initial burden of
showing that there are no genuine, material factual disputes
and that it is entitiled to judgment based on those facts.
See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323
(1986). Once the movant has met its initial burden, the
burden shifts to the non-moving party to point out the
specific facts which create disputed issues. Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby. Inc.. 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986);
Matsushita Electrical Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp, .. 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). Summary judgment is
appropriate only where no material facts are genuinely
disputed and the evidence as a whole could not lead a
rational factfinder to rule for the non-moving party.
Matsushita. 475 U.S. at 587.
Judicial Review of USPC Decisions
review of parole decisions is extremely limited."
Harris v. Stansberry, No. 1:10cvl337, 2012 WL 27437,
at *4 (E.D. Va. Jan. 4, 2012) (Cacheris, J.). Because
"the Parole Act specifically commits the decision to
grant or deny parole to the unreviewable discretion of the
Parole Commission," Garcia v. Neasle, 660 F.2d
983, 988 (4th Cir. 1981), a USPC "parole determination
is only reviewable if the Commission 'exceeded its legal
authority, acted unconstitutionally, or failed to follow its
own regulations' when reaching its determination."
Harris, 2012 WL 27437, at *4 (quoting
Garcia. 660 F.2d at 988).
Undisputed Material Facts
evidence supplied by respondents establishes the following
pertinent facts. Warren is presently serving an aggregate
sentence of 15 years to life for his convictions of
kidnapping while armed, two counts of kidnapping, two counts
of rape, and one count of assault to commit sodomy. Resp. Ex.
2 at 1 - 2. The D.C. Court of Appeals affirmed all of the
convictions. See Warren v. United States, 515 A.2d
208.209 (D.C. 1986) (per curiam). When Warren committed those
offenses, he was on parole from an earlier Youth Corrections
Act sentence for robbery and assault convictions. Resp. Ex. 2
at 2. In addition, Warren was convicted in the Circuit Court
for Calvert County, Maryland of first-degree murder, assault
with intent to murder, attempted robbery with a deadly
weapon, and use of a handgun during the commission of a crime
of violence. See Warren v. State, 350 A.2d 173, 175
(Md. Ct. Spec. App. 1976) (affirming all convictions). A
sentence of life imprisonment was imposed in Maryland, and a
detainer has been filed to which he would be turned over if
paroled from the D.C. sentence he is currently serving. Resp.
Ex. 2 at 3; see Warren v. U.S. Parole Comm'n,
145 Fed.Appx. 715, 716 (3d Cir. 2005) (per curiam).
2, 1995 the D.C. Board of Parole held an initial parole
hearing for Warren and issued a notice of action to deny him
parole. Resp. Ex. 3 at 1. The USPC issued notices of denial
on eleven additional occasions between 2000 and 2014, the
most recent issuing on November 9, 2017. Id. In the
latest notice of action, which is the only one under
consideration here,  the USPC explained that although
Warren's institutional record since his last hearing was
"0," which generally would indicate that parole
should be granted, it concluded that "a departure from
the guidelines ... is found warranted because the Commission
finds there is a reasonable probability that [Warren] would
not obey the law if released and [his] release would endanger
the public safety." Id. The USPC provided three
reasons for departing from the guidelines: (1) Warren was on
parole for robbery and assault when he committed the rape,
sodomy and kidnapping offenses involving three different