Langston v. Ciccone, Civ. A. No. 18170-3.

Decision Date16 March 1970
Docket NumberCiv. A. No. 18170-3.
Citation313 F. Supp. 56
PartiesDaniel E. LANGSTON, Petitioner, v. Dr. P. J. CICCONE, Director, United States Medical Center for Federal Prisoners, Springfield, Missouri, Respondent.
CourtU.S. District Court — Western District of Missouri

Daniel E. Langston, pro se.


BECKER, Chief Judge.

Petitioner, a federal convict confined in the United States Medical Center for Federal Prisoners, petitions this Court for a writ of habeas corpus unconditionally releasing him from the Medical Center because of alleged lack of due process of law in the revocation of his parole. Petitioner requests leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Leave to proceed in forma pauperis will be granted.

Petitioner states that after being indicted on charges which he does not specify, and pleading guilty thereto, he was sentenced by the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania to consecutive sentences of 10 years' imprisonment and 5 years' imprisonment on the two convictions; that he did not appeal from the judgment of conviction or imposition of sentence; that he has previously moved to correct, vacate or set aside his sentence in the committing court under § 2255 of Title 28, U.S.C., but his motion was denied; that he has previously petitioned for habeas corpus in this Court, but his petition was denied (Langston v. Ciccone (W.D.Mo.) Civil Action No. 18127-3); and that he was represented by counsel at his arraignment and plea and at his sentencing.

As grounds for his contention that he is unlawfully in custody and entitled to immediate release, petitioner states that he was not given a preliminary hearing by the Parole Board at or near the place of his arrest prior to the revocation of his parole and that he was not given adequate notice of the parole revocation hearing which was held upon his return to the Medical Center.

As facts which support the above grounds, petitioner states that he "did go before the U.S. Probation Officer in Waco , Texas, where he was arrested on the parole violation warrant but nothing concerning a preliminary hearing or alleged violation of parole was discussed—nothing was discussed except getting me recommitted to a V.A. or State Hospital for psychiatric treatment, and I was not given a preliminary hearing"; and that he was given only a 5-minute notice at the Medical Center of his parole revocation hearing there.

Both of these grounds have been previously raised by petitioner in his prior petition for habeas corpus, Langston v. Ciccone (W.D.Mo.) Civil Action No. 18127-3, and found to be without merit. The only new aspect of his contentions in this case is his attack upon the substance of the preliminary hearing in Waco. Petitioner describes the hearing as no preliminary hearing at all inasmuch as he was not formally advised that his parole might be revoked after a subsequent parole revocation hearing. Petitioner states that hospitalization was the only prospective disposition of his case which was discussed. Petitioner further states that he did not receive any notice of the charges on which he would have to defend himself at such a hearing and that he was not advised of his right to be assisted by counsel or to present witnesses therein. It is well settled, however, that the preliminary interview is an informal proceeding which need not "be converted into an adversary proceeding in any sense." Hyser v. Reed, 115 U.S.App.D.C. 254, 318 F.2d 225, cert. den. Thompson v. United States Board of Parole, 375 U.S. 957, 84 S.Ct. 446, 11 L.Ed.2d 315, and Jamison v. Chappell, 375 U.S. 957, 84 S.Ct. 447, 11 L.Ed.2d 316. Thus, while the preliminary interviewer should hear any witnesses who voluntarily appear in the petitioner's behalf, it does not appear to be any deprival of due process to fail to notify petitioner of his right to counsel and to witnesses in his own behalf. Hyser v. Reed, supra. Further, it is not a right of petitioner to have a preliminary hearing with all the privileges and safeguards of an ordinary criminal trial. Hyser v. Reed, supra.

Further, by habeas corpus in this Court against the Director of the Medical Center to secure his immediate and unconditional release as a result of the alleged errors of the United States Board of Parole, petitioner may assert only the absence of any parole revocation by the Board or that the revocation, because of certain defects, is invalid on its face, so that respondent is not justified in continuing to hold petitioner under the allegedly invalid revocation. Once it has been established that the proper procedures preceded the revocation, in the sense that the preliminary hearing and parole revocation hearing were held or waived, the respondent is justified in holding the petitioner under the revocation order. Procedural defects in the conduct of the hearings themselves, however, can be corrected only by the Board of Parole and must therefore be asserted by way of a petition for habeas corpus in which the Board is named as respondent. In Hiatt v. Compagna (C.A.5) 178 F.2d 42, affirmed 340 U.S. 880, 71 S.Ct. 192, 95 L. Ed. 639, reh. den. 340 U.S. 907, 71 S.Ct. 277, 95 L.Ed. 656, it was held that in a habeas corpus proceeding naming the warden as respondent, the action of the Parole Board could not be reviewed nor could the Board be directed to return the petitioners to the place of arrest and give them a hearing which would be conducted in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act. In that case, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit unequivocally held: "Certainly no review of what the Board is doing or has done can be undertaken by habeas corpus where the Board is not a party, and no such directions can be given it as these applications pray for." 178 F.2d at 45. This rule has generally been followed. Relief has subsequently been considered, or granted, against the warden (or other custodian of a petitioner) where it was stated or demonstrated that the action of the Board in revoking parole was so arbitrary that the revocation constituted a nullity which did not justify the respondent in detaining petitioner (Compagna v. Hiatt (N.D.Ga.) 100 F.Supp. 74); where the warrant for retaking petitioner under a parole violation application did not issue within the time allotted by federal statute (Humphrey v. Wilson (W.D.Mo.) 281 F.Supp. 937); where the petitioner was given no parole revocation hearing at all (United States ex rel. Obler v. Kenton (D.Conn.) 262 F.Supp. 205); where the Board does not serve an outstanding warrant or otherwise exercise its discretion within a reasonable time under the circumstances (Robinson v. Sartwell (E.D.Mich.) 264 F.Supp. 531 and Cotner v. United States (C.A.10) 409 F.2d 853); or where a patent federal statutory or constitutional violation would have made the parole revocation a nullity (Jones v. Rivers (C.A.4) 338 F. 2d 862). Otherwise, it has been held that mere procedural errors of the Board are not cognizable in a habeas corpus action sought to be maintained against the warden or other custodian of the petitioner. Petitioner here relies upon Hyser v. Reed, supra, to the effect that he was entitled to a preliminary hearing. It has been determined on his own allegations in this case and in his prior habeas corpus petition in Civil Action No. 18127-3, however, that he did have a preliminary hearing. Even so, however, it was held in Richardson v. Markley (C.A.7) 339 F.2d 967, cert. den. 382 U.S. 851, 86 S.Ct. 100, 15 L.Ed.2d 90, and Hodge v. Markley (C.A.7) 339 F.2d 973, that "In Hyser, the Court did not say that the failure to provide petitioner with a preliminary hearing or any of the other steps mentioned, was a violation of the parolee's constitutional rights." 339 F.2d at 974. In Glass v. Markley (C.A.7) 339 F.2d 970, the same court reversed the district court's denial of petition for habeas corpus against the warden and remanded for a hearing in a case where no preliminary hearing had been granted and the circumstances indicated that the parole may have been arbitrarily revoked by the Board. But that is not the case at bar, where petitioner had admitted a disturbance of enough seriousness to cause his wife to seek the aid of the police and where he has been accorded what is identifiable as a preliminary hearing.

Petitioner asserts not only a right to a preliminary hearing but also his right to be advised therein of his rights to the assistance of counsel and to "submit" voluntary witnesses or other evidence. This amounts to an assertion of rights which are not patently founded on federal statutory or constitutional rights and which may possibly rise to federal statutory or constitutional violations only under circumstances which directly involve the exercise of discretionary duties by the Board of Parole. These grounds, therefore, should not be asserted against the warden or other custodian, but against the Board of Parole. See, e. g. Hyser v. Reed, supra, where it...

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  • McCoy v. U.S. Bd. of Parole
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Eighth Circuit
    • 15 Julio 1976
    ...districts other than the District of Columbia. See, e.g., Ott v. Ciccone, 326 F.Supp. 609, 612--13 (W.D.Mo.1970); Langston v. Ciccone, 313 F.Supp. 56, 59--60 (W.D.Mo.1970). See also Howell v. Hiatt, 199 F.2d 584, 585 (5th Cir. 1952). The District of Columbia Circuit has rejected this viewpo......
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    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of New York
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