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Lumpkin v. United States Parole Commission

United States District Court, D. Maryland

October 13, 2016

WILLIAM LUMPKIN, # 03142-00 Petitioner
v.
UNITED STATES PAROLE COMMISSION, WARDEN TIMOTHY STEWART, FCI Cumberland Respondents

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          RICHARD D. BENNETT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Williams Lumpkin is an inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Maryland. Pending is his Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §2241. Lumpkin alleges the United States Parole Commission ("Commission") violated his procedural due process and equal protection rights under the Constitution by failing to provide him with annual parole hearings in 2013 and 2014. As redress, Lumpkin seeks to compel the Commission to grant him "a conditional release." (ECF 1-1 at 3, 7-8).

         Respondents filed a Response to which Lumpkin filed a Reply. (ECF 5, 6). Subsequently, this Court granted Respondents leave to file a supplemental exhibit to the Response. (ECF 8). Lumpkin filed an Opposition. (ECF 10). The case is ready for disposition and a hearing is unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For reasons to follow, this Court will DENY AND DISMISS the Petition with prejudice.

         BACKGROUND

         On May 5, 1988, Lumpkin was sentenced to life imprisonment in the District of Columbia Superior Court for conspiracy, assault with intent to commit robbery, assault with intent to kill while armed, carrying a pistol with without a license, and assault with a dangerous weapon in connection with the December 16, 1987, shooting of three undercover police officers during a drug transaction. (ECF 5 at 2, ECF 5-2 at 1).

         The Commission conducted Lumpkin's initial parole hearing on October 31, 2012. (ECF 5-2). The Commission calculated Lumpkin's Total Point Score or "grid score" of 1, a score that typically indicates parole is appropriate under its guidelines. (ECF 5 at 2; ECF 5-2 at 14). Lumpkin's salient factor score was 9 points, which translated into a base score of zero points (low risk category). The calculation reflected one point for "type of risk" because Lumpkin's offense involved violence and use of a weapon. One point was added for "negative institutional behavior" based on Lumpkin's two institutional infractions: Assault (Class I) and Possession of a Dangerous Weapon (Class I). One point was deducted for program achievement. In sum, Lumpkin's point score, or "grid score" totaled one point. (ECF 5-2)

         The Commission issued a Notice of Action on December 3, 2012, that departed from the Guidelines, denied parole notwithstanding Lumpkin's Total Point Score, and continued Lumpkin for parole reconsideration in 24 months. The Commission's explained its reasons for the departure in its Notice:

You have a total point score of 1 under the 1987 Board guidelines for D.C. Code offenders. The guidelines indicate that parole should be granted at this time. However, a departure from the guidelines at this consideration is found warranted because the Commission finds there is a reasonable probability that you would not obey the law if released and your release would endanger the public safety. You are a more serious parole risk than shown by your point score because your instant offense involved you shooting three undercover officers during a drug transaction. The investigation revealed that you were planning to rob your buyers of $8, 500, the purchase price of the drugs. After you shot two undercover officers, you began to flee and shot at a vehicle with two other individuals in the vehicle who were also undercover officers.
Your disregard for human life and your shooting of your victims makes you a risk to the public if released at this time. In addition, you committed rescission behavior which included Assault on a Correctional Officer and Possession of a Dangerous Weapon. Your release at this time would endanger public safety. It is recommended that you complete programs which identify victim impact issues for you to remain crime free in the community.
The guidelines for the time to rehearing indicate that your next hearing should be scheduled within 12 months. A departure from these guidelines is found warranted for the same reasons provided above for denying parole.

         (ECF5-2 at 18).

         The Commission based its decision was based on its authority to deny parole notwithstanding a point score. This authority provides:

The Board may, in unusual circumstances, waive the SFS (Salient Factor Score) and the pre- and post-incarceration factors set forth in this chapter to grant or deny parole to a parole candidate. In that case, the Board shall specify in writing those factors which it used to depart from the strict application of the provisions of this chapter.

28 D.C.M.R. ยง 204.22. (emphasis added). Lumpkin's counsel's requests to reopen the case and to meet with a Commission ...


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