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Clinton v. Bloomburg

United States District Court, D. Maryland

July 5, 2018

CHARLES O. CLINTON, Plaintiff
v.
DAVID R. BLOOMBURG[1] and JASPER CLAY, Defendants

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          PAUL W. GRIMM, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Charles O. Clinton filed this civil rights action against Defendants David Blumberg and Jasper Clay, Commissioners of the Maryland Parole Commission, alleging various claims concerning Clinton's 2015 supervised release revocation proceedings. ECF No. 1. Specifically, he claims that the recordings of his hearing were destroyed; Clay violated his rights by ordering a continuance and mini-trial, which delayed the hearing; Blumberg failed to intervene following Clinton's letters and emails complaining about Clay; and he was not provided with a new mandatory release date. Id. Defendants have filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 13. The parties fully briefed the motion. ECF Nos. 13-1, 16, 17. A hearing is not necessary. See Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). Because Clinton fails to state a claim against Defendants with regard to the destruction of the recordings of his hearing and the undisputed evidence shows that statute of limitations has run on his other claims, Defendants' dispositive Motion, construed as a Motion for Summary Judgment, is GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND

         In 2004, Clinton was sentenced in Maryland state court to a term of 20 years' imprisonment, with 8 years suspended. ECF No. 13-34. Clinton's maximum expiration date, or the date his term of imprisonment was due to expire, was December 31, 2015. ECF No. 13-4. However, after applying his 1, 297 diminution credits, Clinton was released on mandatory supervision on June 12, 2012. Id; see Md. Code Ann., Corr. Servs. § 7-501(a).

         On August 23, 2012, Clinton was arrested in Montgomery County, Maryland and charged with theft and attempted theft. ECF No. 13-5. On August 31, 2012, Clinton was arrested in Prince George's County, Maryland and charged with indecent exposure and possession of marijuana. Compl. 3; Request for Warrant, ECF No. 13-7. On September 5, 2012, the Maryland Parole Commission issued a retake warrant for Clinton based on these charges. ECF No. 13-8 (charging that Clinton violated his conditions of supervision by failing to obey all laws and by possessing a controlled dangerous substance).

         On October 26, 2012, Clinton appeared in the Circuit Court for Prince George's County, where he entered a plea of nolo contendere to the marijuana possession charge and was sentenced to one day of imprisonment. Ruling, ECF No. 13-10; see also Compl. 3. The indecent exposure charge was merged with the marijuana charge. Ruling. Clinton's theft charges were nolle prossed in Montgomery County on March 4, 2013. See Supp. Rept. 1, ECF No. 13-13; see also Compl. 3.[2]

         On March 5, 2013, Clinton was taken back into the custody of the Department of Corrections (DOC). Inmate Traffic History 2, ECF No. 13-36; Sentence Calculation Worksheet, ECF No. 13-38. On March 18, Clinton admitted that he had violated the terms of his supervised release as charged in the retake warrant, waived a preliminary hearing on the charges, waived his right to counsel, and indicated that he wished "to be heard with respect to [his] case." Waiver, ECF No. 13-11; Notification of Right to Counsel, ECF No. 13-12. The form on which Clinton admitted to the violations informed him that:

If the commissioner decides to revoke your release, the commissioner will decide how much, if any, credit to award you for the time between release and revocation. If you were released on mandatory supervision the commissioner may revoke any, all, or none of the diminution credits that contributed to your release on mandatory supervision.

         Waiver 1.

         On March 28, 2013, the Parole Commission issued a supplemental report to its original retake warrant, summarizing the outcomes of Clinton's criminal proceedings in Prince George's and Montgomery Counties (including the nolle pross disposition on the theft charges) and striking the Montgomery County theft charges from the statement of charges underlying the violation report. Supp. Rept. 1, 3. The supplemental report reiterated the charge that Clinton had violated his mandatory release conditions by failing to obey all laws and by possessing marijuana, but also added that Clinton had violated the condition that a supervised releasee "shall so conduct yourself as not to present a danger to yourself or others." Id. at 3. The basis for all three of these charges was the August 31, 2012 arrest for indecent exposure and marijuana possession, and the subsequent criminal proceedings. Id.

         On March 29, 2013, Clinton appeared before Parole Commissioner Clay for his violation hearing. Continuance Order, ECF No. 13-14. Clay postponed the hearing, indicating that he wanted to subpoena the arresting officer in order to conduct a mini-trial. Id.; Compl. 3. Later the same day, Clinton wrote a letter to Parole Commissioner Chairman Blumberg complaining about Clay's desire to conduct a mini-trial.[3] Ltr., ECF No. 13-15. In the letter, Clinton stated "I will postpone it [presumably referring to his violation hearing] again if I have to go in front of Clay." Id. at 2.

         Clinton's violation hearing was rescheduled for May 31, 2013. Pl's Opp'n 3. Clinton's public defender reportedly told him that this hearing would be conducted by someone other than Clay; however, this was incorrect, and Clinton apparently was dismayed at the fact that Clay was presiding over the hearing. Id. at 4; Compl. 3. Clinton requested that the hearing be rescheduled again so that he could retain a private attorney, and the request was granted. Inmate Postponement Request Record, ECF No. 13-18; Pl's Opp'n 4.

         Clinton's violation hearing ultimately was held on August 19, 2013 by Commissioner Sullivan. Decision, ECF No. 13-37; see also Compl. 3. Sullivan concluded that Clinton violated the terms of his supervised release by using, possessing, or selling a controlled dangerous substance and by constituting a threat to himself. Decision. Sullivan did not make a finding as to the violation charge that Clinton committed new criminal conduct. Id. Sullivan revoked Clinton's supervised release and rescinded all of his diminution credits. Id. Sullivan allowed Clinton to retain his "street credit," or credit for the time between Clinton's June 12, 2012 release and his August 31, 2012 arrest in Prince George's County, Maryland. Id. Sullivan also noted that Clinton was entitled to credit for his detention in a non-DOC facility[4] between August 30, 2012 and March 5, 2013, the date he was taken into the DOC's custody. Id. Thus, with all of his diminution credits revoked but receiving credit against his original sentence for the full time period between his release from and return to DOC custody, December 31, 2015 served as both the mandatory release date and the maximum expiration date for Clinton's sentence.

         In September 2014, Clinton filed a federal habeas corpus petition with this Court, raising various challenges to his revocation hearing. Pet., ECF No. 1 in Clinton v. Blumberg, PWG-14- 3033. In the Response filed in that case, Blumberg noted that, because no transcript of the August 19, 2013 hearing had been requested within 60 days (under Maryland regulations) or 1 year (under informal Parole Commission policy) of the hearing, the tapes of the hearing had been destroyed. Resp. 7, ECF No. 6 in Clinton, PWG-14-3033; see also COMAR 12.08.01.22.F.6(b) ("If a request for a transcript has not been received within 60 days of the hearing, the Commission may destroy the recording.").

         While the habeas corpus petition was pending, Clinton also pursued state avenues challenging the revocation hearing, which apparently required transcripts of the revocation hearing. See ECF Nos. 13-4, 13-5 in Clinton, PWG-14-3033. It appears that the Parole Commission was given notice on March 25, 2015 that Clinton had filed a Petition for Judicial Review. ECF No. 16-4. ...


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