United States District Court, D. Maryland
J. MESSITTE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Miguel Robertson, presently confined in the Special
Management Unit at the United States Penitentiary in
Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, filed a Petition pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2241 in the United States District Court for
the Middle District of Pennsylvania, asserting that he has
been denied a Maryland state parole hearing which he was
entitled to receive. By way of Report and Recommendation
(“R&R”), a Magistrate Judge in that District
found that Robinson's issues relating to his entitlement
to parole presented a colorable habeas corpus issue, but
supplemental claims concerning conditions of confinement and
the need to transfer to another facility for medical
treatment and counseling lie outside the purview of habeas
review. The R&R, later adopted by the District Court,
dismissed the Petition to the extent that it raised
conditions of confinement requiring his transfer, and
permitted the claims regarding Robinson's state parole
issue to proceed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. ECF Nos.
6-8. Thereafter, the Petition was transferred to this Court
from the United States District Court for the Middle District
of Pennsylvania and received on September 7, 2016.
Petition shall be construed under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. For
reasons noted herein, the Petition shall be denied and
dismissed and a Certificate of Appealability shall not issue.
Petition represents Robertson's second attempt to obtain
§ 2241 habeas relief from this Court. As determined in
Robertson v. Comm'ner of DOC of Maryland, et
al., Civil Action No. PJM-12-35 (D. Md.)
(“Robertson I”), Robinson is in federal
custody pursuant to the Interstate Corrections Compact
(“ICC”),  serving aggregate sentences of life
imprisonment plus twenty-four years' incarceration
following his Maryland convictions for first-degree murder,
use of a handgun, assault with intent to maim and
second-degree assault. Id., ECF No. 12, Exhibits 1-3.
I contained a claim that Robertson's due process
rights were violated because he was not permitted to attend
his Maryland parole hearing while housed in a federal
facility outside Maryland. Id., ECF No. 1 at 4. In a
supplement to that Petition, Robertson implied that he had
never been scheduled for a parole hearing, but that if such a
hearing was held, it should be reconvened so that he could
attend in person or via videoconference. Id., ECF
No. 11 at 1-2. Following further briefing, the undersigned on
June 22, 2012, dismissed Robertson I and declined to
issue a Certificate of Appealability. Id., ECF Nos.
14 and 15.
instant Petition, Robertson reiterates his claim that he
should be given a parole hearing that he could attend in
person or via videoconference. ECF No. 1 at p. 9, Request for
Relief. He further argues that a “thorough
psychological evaluation” and his federal Bureau of
Prisons record should be presented to the Maryland Parole
Commission for consideration prior to the parole hearing.
filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 are subject to the
exhaustion requirement of 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b). See
Francis v. Henderson, 425 U.S. 536, 538 (1976)
(“This Court has long recognized that in some
circumstances considerations of comity and concerns for the
orderly administration of criminal justice require a federal
court to forgo the exercise of its habeas corpus
power.”); see also Timms v. Johns, 627 F.3d
525, 531 (4th Cir. 2010) (applying exhaustion requirements to
2241 petition challenging civil commitment); see also
Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475 (1973) (state courts
must be afforded the first opportunity to review federal
constitutional challenges to state convictions).
before this Court can review the merits of his habeas
petition, Robertson must exhaust each claim presented by
pursuing remedies available in state court. See Rose v.
Lundy, 455 U.S. 509, 521 (1982). Both the operative
facts and the controlling legal principles must be exhausted.
See Baker v. Corcoran, 220 F.3d 276, 289 (4th Cir.
2000) (citations omitted). In Maryland, exhaustion includes
appellate review in the Maryland Court of Special Appeals and
the Maryland Court of Appeals, see Granberry v.
Greer, 481 U.S. 129, 134-35 (1987).
on the uncontroverted record evidence presented in
Robertson I, Robertson was sentenced to life plus
twenty years' incarceration commencing January 31, 1997.
On March 2, 1999, he received an additional fifteen year
sentence, commencing March 2, 1999, concurrent to the
sentences already imposed. On September 20, 2002, he received
an additional four year sentence, to be served consecutive to
any sentence then being served. Given those sentences, it is
not apparent whether he is eligible for parole consideration
at this time. If in fact he is parole eligible,
Robertson is not without recourse to obtain the relief he
seeks. He should direct his parole eligibility claim to the
appropriate Maryland court. See Maryland House of
Correction v. Fields, 686 A.2d 1103, 1105 (1996) (habeas
relief is appropriate where prisoner alleged that prison
officials' actions were unauthorized and he was
unlawfully detained and was entitled to immediate release).
His responses to the Petition suggest that he has not
attempted to obtain such relief by way of an appropriate
action in the Maryland courts.
extent Robertson claims that Maryland parole officials have
violated his due process rights by failing to schedule a
parole hearing, his claim cannot be adjudicated here.
Violation of a state law or regulation which does not
infringe upon a specific constitutional right is cognizable
in federal habeas corpus proceedings only if it amounts to a
''fundamental defect which inherently results in a
complete miscarriage of justice''. Hailey v.
Dorsey, 580 F.2d 112, 115 (4th Cir. 1978) (quoting
Hill v. United States, 368 U.S. 424, 428 (1962)).
The Constitution itself does not create a protected liberty
interest in the expectation of early release on parole.
See Greenholtz v. Inmates of Nebraska Penal &
Correctional Complex, 442 U.S. 1, 7 (1979); see also
Jago v. Van Curen, 454 U.S. 14, 18 (1981) (mutually
explicit understanding that inmate would be paroled does not
create liberty interest). ''There is no
constitutional or inherent right of a convicted person to be
conditionally released before the expiration of a valid
sentence.'' Greenholtz, 442 U.S. at 7.
''It is therefore axiomatic that because . . .
prisoners have no protected liberty interest in parole they
cannot mount a challenge against a state parole review
procedure on procedural (or substantive) Due Process
grounds.'' Johnson v. Rodriguez, 110 F.3d
299, 308 (5th Cir. 1997).
district court dismisses a habeas petition solely on
procedural grounds, a certificate of appealability will not
issue unless the petitioner can demonstrate both “(1)
‘that jurists of reason would find it debatable whether
the petition states a valid claim of the denial of a
constitutional right' and (2) ‘that jurists of
reason would find it debatable whether the district court was
correct in its procedural ruling.' ” Rouse v.
Lee,252 F.3d 676, 684 (4th Cir. 2001) (quoting
Slack v. Daniel,529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000)).
Robertson's Petition does not meet ...