El-Amin v. Pa. Parole Bd., 838 C.D. 2021

CourtCommonwealth Court of Pennsylvania
Writing for the CourtOPINION BY JUDGE COVEY
Parties Melvin Abdullah EL-AMIN, Petitioner v. PENNSYLVANIA PAROLE BOARD, Respondent
Docket Number838 C.D. 2021
Decision Date12 April 2022

273 A.3d 1255

Melvin Abdullah EL-AMIN, Petitioner
v.
PENNSYLVANIA PAROLE BOARD, Respondent

No. 838 C.D. 2021

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania.

Submitted on Briefs January 28, 2022
Decided April 12, 2022


David Crowley, Chief Public Defender, Bellefonte, for Petitioner.

Timothy P. Keating, Assistant Counsel, Harrisburg, for Respondent.

BEFORE: HONORABLE ANNE E. COVEY, Judge, HONORABLE MICHAEL H. WOJCIK, Judge, HONORABLE BONNIE BRIGANCE LEADBETTER, Senior Judge

OPINION BY JUDGE COVEY

Melvin Abdullah El-Amin (El-Amin) petitions this Court for review of the Pennsylvania Parole Board's (Board) June 28, 2021 decision that affirmed the Board's decisions mailed August 8, 2019, March 10, 2020, and April 23, 2021. El-Amin presents one issue for this Court's review: whether the Board erroneously determined that El-Amin was at liberty on parole and not entitled to credit for the time he spent detained by the Board at the York Community Correction Center (CCC), the Keystone Community Correctional Facility (CCF), and the Harrisburg CCC. After review, this Court affirms.

On September 1, 2015, El-Amin pled guilty to two counts of access device fraud, for which the York County Common Pleas Court sentenced him to two to four years of incarceration (Original Sentence). See Certified Record (C.R.) at 1. El-Amin's maximum sentence release date at that time was May 18, 2019. See C.R. at 2. On August 7, 2017, El-Amin was released on parole. See C.R. at 7. As a condition of his supervision, El-Amin was to enter the York CCC. See C.R. at 11. El-Amin stayed at the York CCC until he was hospitalized on October 23, 2017. See C.R. at 224. Following his release from the hospital on December 20, 2017, he went to the Keystone CCF. See C.R. at 193. On January 12, 2018, as a special condition of his parole, El-Amin was required to reside at the Harrisburg CCC until given permission by parole staff to move. See C.R. at 14.

On July 14, 2018, the West Shore Regional Police (in Cumberland County) arrested El-Amin for access device fraud and theft. See C.R. at 19, 24. On July 17, 2018, the East Pennsboro Police (in Cumberland County) arrested El-Amin for theft by deception, access device fraud, and receiving stolen property.1 See C.R. at 22. Also on July 17, 2018, the Lower Paxton Police (in Dauphin County) arrested El-Amin for access device fraud and theft. See C.R. at 43. Finally, on July 17, 2018, the Swatara

273 A.3d 1257

Township Police (in Dauphin County) arrested El-Amin for access device fraud, identity theft, and theft. See C.R. at 45. As a result, the Board issued a warrant to commit and detain El-Amin on July 17, 2018.2 See C.R. at 17, 22. On July 23, 2018, the Susquehanna Township Police (in Dauphin County) arrested El-Amin for criminal trespass, access device fraud, theft, and receiving stolen property. See C.R. at 41.

On May 8, 2019, El-Amin pled guilty to the charges for which he was arrested in Dauphin County (New Charges). See C.R. at 42, 48, 70, 102. On May 18, 2019, the Board cancelled its warrant to commit and detain El-Amin because he reached his Original Sentence maximum release date. See C.R. at 36. On July 1, 2019, the Board issued a new warrant to commit and detain El-Amin. See C.R. at 37. On July 10, 2019, El-Amin waived his parole revocation hearing. See C.R. at 76. By decision recorded on August 8, 2019, the Board recommitted El-Amin as a convicted parole violator (CPV) to serve his unexpired term pending sentencing on his New Charges. See C.R. at 179-180. On August 16, 2019, El-Amin mailed an Administrative Remedies Form appealing from the Board's August 8, 2019 decision, inter alia , for not awarding him credit for the time he spent at the York CCC from August 7 to November 7, 2017, the Keystone CCF from December 20, 2017 to January 12, 2018, and the Harrisburg CCC from January 12 to July 17, 2018.3 See C.R. at 195-196.

On December 20, 2019, the Dauphin County Common Pleas Court sentenced El-Amin on his New Charges to an aggregate term of two to four years of incarceration (New Sentence). See C.R. at 172-173. By March 10, 2020 order, the Board recommitted El-Amin as a CPV and recalculated his Original Sentence maximum release date to September 16, 2021.4

273 A.3d 1258

See C.R. at 174. On April 17, 2020, El-Amin notified the Board that he wished to appeal from the Board's March 10, 2020 decision. See C.R. at 204. On March 17, 2021, the Board issued a Notice of Charges and Hearing, scheduling an evidentiary hearing to determine the custodial nature of the programs at the York CCC for the period of August 7 to November 7, 2017, the Keystone CCF for the period of December 20, 2017 to January 12, 2018, and the Harrisburg CCC for the period of January 12 to July 17, 2018. See C.R. at 191.

On March 30, 2021, the Board conducted an evidentiary hearing, pursuant to Cox v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation & Parole , 507 Pa. 614, 493 A.2d 680 (1985), to determine whether the restrictions at York CCC, Keystone CCF, and Harrisburg CCC were considered the equivalent to confinement for purposes of El-Amin receiving credit on his Original Sentence. See C.R. at 213-262. The Hearing Officer found that El-Amin was not a resident of any secure facilities during any of the specified time periods. See C.R. at 266. Specifically, the Hearing Officer found that the York CCC, the Keystone CCF, and the Harrisburg CCC did not restrict El-Amin's ability to leave, because residents were allowed to leave with permission for various reasons, which included employment, employment searches, leisure activities, shopping, and attending medical and Social Security appointments. See C.R. at 266-267. The staff at all three facilities was prohibited from stopping any resident from leaving the buildings, even if the resident chose to leave without signing out. See C.R. at 267. Although the doors at all...

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