817 F.3d 115 (4th Cir. 2016), 14-7691, Matherly v. Andrews

Docket Nº:14-7691
Citation:817 F.3d 115
Opinion Judge:TRAXLER, Chief Judge:
Party Name:THOMAS SHANE MATHERLY, Petitioner - Appellant, v. JUSTIN ANDREWS, Respondent - Appellee
Attorney:Joshua Robbins, Brian Remondino, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA SCHOOL OF LAW, Charlottesville, Virginia, for Appellant. Michael Lockridge, BUREAU OF PRISONS, Butner, North Carolina, for Appellee. Stephen L. Braga, Appellate Litigation Clinic, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA SCHOOL OF LAW, Charlottesville, Virgin...
Judge Panel:Before TRAXLER, Chief Judge, and AGEE and WYNN, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:March 16, 2016
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
SUMMARY

Petitioner appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the government on his petition for habeas relief under 28 U.S.C. 2241. Petitioner challenges his prior civil commitment as a “sexually dangerous person” under the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, 18 U.S.C. 4248. The court concluded that Congress sufficiently expressed its intent that the Adam Walsh Act apply... (see full summary)

 
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817 F.3d 115 (4th Cir. 2016)

THOMAS SHANE MATHERLY, Petitioner - Appellant,

v.

JUSTIN ANDREWS, Respondent - Appellee

No. 14-7691

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

March 16, 2016

Argued January 28, 2016

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, at Raleigh. (5:13-hc-02077-D). James C. Dever III, Chief District Judge.

AFFIRMED IN PART; REVERSED AND REMANDED IN PART.

ARGUED:

Joshua Robbins, Brian Remondino, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA SCHOOL OF LAW, Charlottesville, Virginia, for Appellant.

Michael Lockridge, BUREAU OF PRISONS, Butner, North Carolina, for Appellee.

ON BRIEF:

Stephen L. Braga, Appellate Litigation Clinic, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA SCHOOL OF LAW, Charlottesville, Virginia, for Appellant.

Thomas G. Walker, United States Attorney, R.A. Renfer, Jr., Assistant United States Attorney, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellee.

Before TRAXLER, Chief Judge, and AGEE and WYNN, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

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TRAXLER, Chief Judge:

Thomas Shane Matherly appeals from the district court's order granting summary judgment to the respondent (the " government" ) on his petition for a writ of

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habeas corpus, filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. In the petition, Matherly challenges his prior civil commitment as a " sexually dangerous person" under 18 U.S.C. § 4248 of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (the " Act" ). See United States v. Matherly, 514 Fed.Appx. 287 (4th Cir. 2013) (per curiam). For the following reasons, we affirm the district court's decision in part, and reverse and remand in part.

I.

A.

The Adam Walsh Act authorizes the civil commitment of, inter alia, " sexually dangerous person[s]" who are " in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons." 18 U.S.C. § 4248(a). The civil commitment process is initiated when the Attorney General, his designee, or the Director of the Bureau of Prisons (" BOP" ), certifies to the district court where the individual is confined that the individual " is a sexually dangerous person." Id. The certification automatically stays the inmate's release pending a hearing. See id.

A " sexually dangerous person" is defined as " a person who has engaged or attempted to engage in sexually violent conduct or child molestation and who is sexually dangerous to others." 18 U.S.C. § 4247(a)(5). A person is " sexually dangerous to others" if " the person suffers from a serious mental illness, abnormality, or disorder as a result of which he would have serious difficulty in refraining from sexually violent conduct or child molestation if released." 18 U.S.C. § 4247(a)(6). This " serious difficulty" prong " refers to the degree of the person's 'volitional impairment,' which impacts the person's ability to refrain from acting upon his deviant sexual desires." United States v. Hall, 664 F.3d 456, 463 (4th Cir. 2012) (quoting Kansas v. Hendricks, 521 U.S. 346, 358, 117 S.Ct. 2072, 138 L.Ed.2d 501 (1997)).

" If, after [a] hearing, the [district] court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the person is a sexually dangerous person, the court shall commit the person to the custody of the Attorney General," either for release to a state civil commitment system or to a federal facility until it is determined that the person " is no longer sexually dangerous to others, or will not be sexually dangerous to others if released under a prescribed regimen of medical, psychiatric, or psychological care or treatment." 18 U.S.C. § 4248(d); see also United States v. Timms, 664 F.3d 436, 439 (4th Cir. 2012).

B.

In October 2003, Matherly pled guilty to one count of possession of child pornography and was sentenced to 41 months imprisonment, followed by a 3-year term of supervised release. See 18 U.S.C. § 2252A(a)(5)(B). Shortly thereafter, the district court also revoked Matherly's supervised release from an earlier conviction for interstate travel to engage in a sexual act with a minor, see 18 U.S.C. § 2423, and sentenced him to a consecutive 6-month term of imprisonment. Matherly was committed to the custody of the BOP to serve his aggregate 47-month prison term. See 18 U.S.C. § 3621(a).

From October 31, 2003, to November 22, 2006, Matherly was serving his term of imprisonment in a BOP facility. With prior time served, and assuming that he earned the " good time" credit available under 18 U.S.C. § 3624(b), Matherly was eligible to be released to supervision on November 23, 2006. See J.A. 33; see also United States v. Comstock, 627 F.3d 513, 517 (4th Cir. 2010) (noting that Matherly's projected release date was November 23,

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2006).1 However, it now appears that because November 23, 2006, was Thanksgiving Day, the BOP originally intended to exercise its discretion to release Matherly from his criminal confinement and to supervised release one day early -- on November 22, 2006. See J.A. 31 (noting that Matherly " was scheduled for release" on November 22, 2006); see also 18 U.S.C. § 3624(a) (" If the date for a prisoner's release falls on a Saturday, a Sunday, or a legal holiday at the place of confinement, the prisoner may be released by the Bureau on the last preceding weekday." ). On that same day, however, the government certified Matherly as a " sexually dangerous person" under 18 U.S.C. § 4248, automatically staying his release from the custody of the BOP.

During the ensuing civil commitment proceedings, Matherly " conce[ded] that he previously engaged in child molestation and suffers from a serious mental disorder," leaving the government with the task of " prov[ing] by clear and convincing evidence only that Matherly 'would have serious difficulty in refraining from sexually violent conduct or child molestation if released.'"

Matherly, 514 Fed.Appx. at 288 (quoting 18 U.S.C. § 4247(a)(6)). On May 3, 2012, following an evidentiary hearing, the district court found that Matherly was a " sexually dangerous person" under the Act and ordered that he be committed to the custody of the Attorney General. We affirmed. See id. at 289.2

On April 1, 2013, Matherly filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, alleging, among other things, that the Adam Walsh Act had been impermissibly applied retroactively to him and that, in any event, he was not " in the...

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