Blea v. Colorado Bd. of Parole, 88SA69

Decision Date02 October 1989
Docket NumberNo. 88SA69,88SA69
Citation779 P.2d 1353
PartiesJoseph BLEA, Petitioner-Appellant, v. COLORADO BOARD OF PAROLE, and Colorado Department of Corrections, Respondents-Appellees.
CourtColorado Supreme Court

Joseph Blea, Canon City, pro se petitioner-appellant.

Duane Woodard, Atty. Gen., Charles B. Howe, Chief Deputy Atty. Gen., Richard H. Forman, Sol. Gen., and Marleen Langfield, Asst. Atty. Gen., Denver, for respondents-appellees.

Justice MULLARKEY delivered the Opinion of the Court.

Petitioner Joseph Blea appeals pro se from the Fremont County District Court's denial of his application for a writ of habeas corpus. We have jurisdiction over this appeal pursuant to section 13-4-102(1)(e), 6A C.R.S. (1987). The district court denied habeas corpus relief because Blea had failed to name the proper respondent in his petition. Although we reject the trial court's procedural ruling, we affirm its order denying habeas corpus on the merits of the case.

I.

Blea is serving concurrent twenty to twenty-five and zero to ten year terms of imprisonment in the Colorado Department of Corrections for a conviction in the Denver District Court in January of 1977. Blea was released on parole on January 22, 1985, and his parole was revoked on October 10, 1985 upon a determination by a single member of the Colorado Board of Parole (parole board or board) that he had violated the "weapons" condition of his parole. Blea requested appellate review by the parole board of his revocation pursuant to section 17-2-201(9)(c), 8A C.R.S.1986, but his request was denied by the parole board. Later, it came to the attention of the parole board that it did not have authority to deny the request and an appeal hearing was conducted on June 16, 1986. Following the appeal hearing, the board determined that Blea was entitled to a new revocation hearing because Blea's request for a continuation at the initial revocation hearing was erroneously denied.

Prior to the new revocation hearing, however, Blea filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in Fremont County District Court challenging the validity of his incarceration pending the revocation hearing. A new revocation hearing was held on September 5, 1986 and an order revoking his parole was issued on September 8. Meanwhile, a hearing on Blea's petition for writ of habeas corpus was held on September 8 and the writ was discharged by the court. The court held that the issues were moot because a revocation hearing had been held in which Blea's parole was revoked.

On April 1, 1987 Blea filed another petition for writ of habeas corpus which is the subject of this appeal. In his second petition, Blea challenged the validity of his incarceration and requested that he be discharged from confinement. Blea's new petition was based on allegations that the September 5 revocation hearing did not result in the revocation of his parole but rather, at the request of the board, the hearing was continued until September 12. Thus, Blea contends that the parole board's mittimus/finding and order dated September 8 which revoked his parole was a misrepresentation by the board in order to defeat his habeas corpus action.

The district court denied the petition for habeas corpus relief because Blea had failed to name the superintendent of the facility in which he was confined as the respondent. Although Blea attempted to amend his petition with the correct name of the superintendent, his motion was denied. The court noted that even if such an amendment were allowed, it would deny the petition on the merits. Blea appeals from the district court's denial of his habeas corpus relief claiming that such a denial due to a technical error was unconstitutional.

II.

A habeas corpus proceeding is limited in scope and "is intended to resolve the issue of whether the person in custody is lawfully detained." Eathorne v. Nelson, 180 Colo. 288, 292, 505 P.2d 1, 3 (1973). The statutes governing a petition for writ of habeas corpus are found in sections 13-45-101 to -117, 6A C.R.S. (1987). According to section 13-45-101(1), the petition for a writ of habeas corpus must set forth the person "in whose custody [the petitioner] is detained." Therefore, the proper respondent in a habeas corpus action is the official allegedly restraining the liberty of the petitioner. People v. Calyer, 736 P.2d 1204, 1207 (Colo.1987); see also Gallegos v. Schooley, 155 Colo. 215, 393 P.2d 573 (1964); Stilley v. Tinsley, 153 Colo. 66, 385 P.2d 677 (1963). Section 16-11-308(1), 8A C.R.S. (1986), provides that an inmate sentenced to a correctional facility is deemed to be in the custody of the executive director of the Department of Corrections or his designee.

In his petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed April 1, 1987, Blea named as respondents the Colorado Board of Parole and the Colorado Department of Corrections. Under the statute, either the executive director of the Department of Corrections or H. Benny Johnson, the superintendent of the correctional facility in which Blea was confined, would have been the proper respondent.

In this case, the trial court apparently acted on its own motion when it denied Blea's habeas corpus petition for failure to name the proper respondent. Upon being notified of the court's order, Blea...

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3 cases
  • Emerson Realty Group, Inc. v. Schanze
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • November 29, 1990
    ...should be ignored or corrected on motion. See Disposall, Inc. v. Wilson, 547 So.2d 1299 (Fla. 5th DCA 1989); Blea v. Colorado Board of Parole, 779 P.2d 1353 (Colo.1989); People v. Rome, 158 Cal.App.3d 307, 204 Cal.Rptr. 601 (Cal.App.3d Dist.1984); Eberbach v. McNabney, 413 N.E.2d 958, 961 (......
  • Zaborski v. Colorado Dept. of Corrections, 90SA316
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court
    • June 3, 1991
    ...habeas corpus proceeding is intended to resolve the issue of whether the person in custody is lawfully detained. Blea v. Colorado Bd. of Parole, 779 P.2d 1353, 1355 (Colo.1989). A petition for writ of habeas corpus must set forth the person in whose custody the petitioner is detained. § 13-......
  • Estes v. Van Der Veur, 910613-CA
    • United States
    • Utah Court of Appeals
    • January 27, 1992
    ...the appropriate respondent in a post conviction or habeas corpus proceedings by incarcerated petitioners. E.g., Blea v. Colorado Board of Parole, 779 P.2d 1353, 1355 (Colo.1989) (Colorado statute designated the executive director of the department of corrections or his designee as responden......

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