Moody v. Daggett

Decision Date15 November 1976
Docket NumberNo. 74-6632,74-6632
Citation50 L.Ed.2d 236,429 U.S. 78,97 S.Ct. 274
PartiesMinor MOODY, Petitioner, v. Loren DAGGETT, Warden
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

Petitioner federal parolee, imprisoned for federal crimes committed while on parole and clearly constituting parole violations, held not to be constitutionally entitled to an immediate parole revocation hearing, where a parole violator warrant was issued and lodged with the institution of his confinement as a "detainer" but was not executed. Pp. 85-89.

(a) Petitioner's present confinement and consequent liberty loss do not derive from the parole violator warrant but from his convictions for the crimes committed while on parole. Execution of a parole violator warrant and custody thereunder are the operative events triggering any loss of liberty attendant upon parole revocation. Morrissey v. Brewer, 408 U.S. 471, 488, 92 S.Ct. 2593, 2603, 33 L.Ed.2d 484. P. 85-87.

(b) Deferral of the parole revocation decision until execution of the parole violator warrant does not deprive petitioner of the opportunity to serve any sentence imposed for parole violation concurrently with the sentences imposed for the crimes committed while on parole, since if the Parole Commission chooses to revoke parole, it has the power to grant, retroactively, the equivalent of concurrent sentences and to provide for unconditional or conditional release upon completion of the subsequent sentences. Pp. 87-88.

(c) Issuance of the parole violator warrant, without more, did not diminish petitioner's opportunity for parole on his intervening sentences, since the same Commission that will consider such parole will decide whether to revoke parole granted under the earlier conviction, and since the statutory hearing to which petitioner will be entitled upon his application for parole will give him the same opportunity to persuade the Commission that he should be released from custody as would an immediate hearing on the parole violator warrant. P. 88.

(d) As a practical matter, in cases such as this, in which the parolee has been convicted of an offense plainly constituting a parole violation, a decision to revoke parole would often be foreordained, so that given the predictive nature of the parole revocation hearing, it is appropriate that such hearing be held at the time at which prediction as to the parolee's ability to live in society without committing anti- social acts is both most relevant and most accurate at the expiration of the parolee's intervening sentence. P. 89.


Phylis Skloot Bamberger, New York City, for petitioner.

Frank H. Easterbrook, Washington, D. C., for respondent, pro hac vice, by special leave of Court.

Mr. Chief Justice BURGER delivered the opinion of the Court.

We granted certiorari in this case to decide whether a federal parolee imprisoned for a crime committed while on parole is constitutionally entitled to a prompt parole revocation hearing when a parole violator warrant is issued and lodged with the institution of his confinement but not served on him.1


In 1962 petitioner was convicted in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona of the crime of rape on an Indian reservation, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1153. There was no appeal, and petitioner received a 10-year prison sentence. He was paroled in 1966 with almost six years remaining to be served. While on parole, petitioner shot and killed two persons on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation. He was convicted on a guilty plea of manslaughter as to one victim and second-degree murder as to the other, for violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1153; he received concurrent 10-year sentences for these two offenses. These crimes constituted obvious violations of the terms of petitioner's 1966 parole. See 18 U.S.C. § 4203(a) (1970 ed. and Supp. V).

Soon after petitioner's incarceration for the two homicides, the United States Board of Parole issued but did not execute a parole violator warrant; this was lodged with prison officials as a "detainer." 2 Petitioner requested the Board to execute the warrant immediately so that any imprisonment imposed for violation of his earlier parole under the rape conviction could run concurrently with his 1971 homicide sentences. The Board replied that it intended to execute the warrant only upon petitioner's release from his second sentence. At its 1974 annual review of petitioner's case, the Board reaffirmed its decision to allow the warrant to remain unexecuted.

Relying on Morrissey v. Brewer, 408 U.S. 471, 92 S.Ct. 2593, 33 L.Ed.2d 484 (1972), petitioner began this federal habeas corpus action in January 1975, seeking dismissal of the parole violator warrant on the ground that he had been denied a prompt hearing at which the pending parole revocation issues could be aired.

The District Court dismissed the petition without awaiting a responsive pleading, stating:

"(A) parole revocation hearing is not required until the parole violator warrant has been executed. The parole board is under no obligation to execute the warrant inasmuch as petitioner has been in custody on his 1971 manslaughter (and murder) sentence(s) since the time the warrant was issued and filed as a detainer against him." 3

The Court of Appeals affirmed, relying on its earlier holding in Small v. Britton, 500 F.2d 299 (CA10 1974), in which that court had held that an incarcerated parolee is deprived of no liberty interest by the lodging of a detainer against him, and is thus entitled to no due process safeguards unless and until the parole violator warrant is actually executed.


The Parole Commission and Reorganization Act, Pub.L. 94-233, 90 Stat. 219 et seq., was enacted shortly after we granted certiorari. The Act renamed the Board the Parole Commission and made other changes in federal parole procedures, principally to codify the Board's existing practices.4 Throughout the progress of this case below, however, parole revocation procedures were controlled by the former statutes, 18 U.S.C. §§ 4205 and 4207. 5 Under them, and the Board's own regulations, 28 CFR § 2.53 (1975),6 it was the Board's practice to issue a parole violator warrant as a matter of course whenever a federal parolee was convicted of a new offense. Under the former statute and regulations, if the subsequent sentence called for incarceration the warrant was lodged at the institution of confinement as a detainer, for possible later service. A parolee so confined was then notified of the issuance of the unserved warrant and given the opportunity to make a written response. Upon receipt of the response the Board was authorized, in its discretion, to conduct a dispositional interview designed to get the facts relevant to its revocation decision. The parolee could retain counsel for the interview and call witnesses. In lieu of an interview, the Board in its discretion could review the parolee's case based on the record and the written response.

After review or interview the Board had three options for disposing of its parole violator warrant:

(a) It could execute the warrant immediately and take the parolee into custody. If parole was revoked at that stage, the remainder of the parolee's original federal sentence, reinstated by the parole revocation, would run concurrently with the subsequent sentence from the time of execution of the warrant. 18 U.S.C. § 4205. Execution of the warrant deprived the parolee of any good-time credits he might have previously earned of his original sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 4161, and of credit for the time spent while on parole. 18 U.S.C. § 4205; 28 CFR § 2.51 (1975).

(b) The Board's second option was to dismiss the warrant and detainer altogether, which operated as a decision not to revoke parole, and under which the parolee retained both his good-time credit and credit for the time spent on parole. Presumably dismissal of the warrant would reflect a Board decision that the violation of conditions of parole was not of such gravity as to justify revocation.

(c) Third, the Board was free to defer a final decision on parole revocation until expiration of the subsequent sentence, as it elected to do in this case; under this third option, the Board was authorized to execute the warrant, take the parolee into custody immediately upon his release, and then conduct a revocation hearing. Deferral of decision while permitting the warrant to stand unexecuted would operate to allow the original sentence to remain in the status it occupied at the time of the asserted parole violation, 18 U.S.C. § 4205; it would not deprive the parolee either of his good time or of the time spent on parole.

Respondent represents that the Board's general practice, before passage of the 1976 Act, was to defer decision in order to have before it the parolee's institutional record during his confinement on the subsequent offense. That record would obviously be highly relevant to the parole revocation decision. Annual reviews of the status of every parolee to whom it had not granted a dispositional interview were conducted under the former statute.

The 1976 Act and accompanying regulations, 28 CFR § 2.1 et seq. (1976), incorporate the former procedures with few modifications. Under current law, the Parole Commission reviews the parole violator warrant within 180 days of its issuance, 18 U.S.C. § 4214(b)(1) (1976 ed.); the parolee, after notification of the impending review, is now entitled to assistance of appointed counsel, if requested, in preparing his written response. 18 U.S.C. § 4214(a)(2)(B) (1976 ed.). The 1976 Act also abolishes the annual status review formerly required. Previously it was general practice to defer execution of the warrant to completion of the subsequent sentence. It is now firm Commission policy that unless "substantial mitigating circumstances" are shown, the parole violator term of a parolee convicted of crime is to run consecutively to the sentence imposed for the subsequent...

To continue reading

Request your trial
2284 cases
  • Scott v. Carnell
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of West Virginia
    • January 29, 2016
    ...constitutional or inherent right to participate in rehabilitative programs while incarcerated. See Moody v. Daggett, 429 U.S. 78, 88, n. 9, 97 S.Ct. 274, 279, n. 9, 50 L.Ed.2d 236 (1976)("[N]o due process protections were required upon the discretionarytransfer of state prisoners to a subst......
  • Polidoro v. Saluti
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of New Jersey
    • December 4, 2015
    ...United States Constitution does not confer any right upon an inmate to any particular custody or security classification. Moody v. Daggett, 429 U.S. 78, 88 (1976); Montanye v. Haymes, 427 U.S. 236, 242 (1976). Thus, inmates do not have a liberty interest in retaining or receiving any partic......
  • Nadeau v. Helgemoe
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of New Hampshire
    • December 6, 1976
    ...confinement sufficient to invoke the protections of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In Moody v. Daggett, ___ U.S. ___, ___, 97 S.Ct. 274, 50 L.Ed.2d 236 (1976), the Supreme Court expanded Meachum, finding no protectible liberty interest in "prisoner classification and el......
  • Campbell v. Leslie
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of West Virginia
    • June 10, 2019
    ...constitutional or inherent right to participate in rehabilitative programs while incarcerated. See Moody v. Daggett, 429 U.S. 78, 88, n. 9, 97 S.Ct. 274, 279, n. 9, 50 L.Ed.2d 236 (1976)("[N]o due process protections were required upon the discretionary transfer of state prisoners to a subs......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
4 books & journal articles
  • Pretrial release or detention
    • United States
    • James Publishing Practical Law Books Federal Criminal Practice
    • April 30, 2022 file similar detainers. Where a parole detainer is issued, a defendant cannot force the parole agency to act. See Moody v. Daggett, 429 U.S. 78, 87-88 (1976); Chavez-Rivas , 536 F. Supp. 2d at 964. PRETRIAL RELEASE OR DETENTION §4:33 Federal Criminal Practice 4-18 CA UTION Insure Defenda......
  • Sentencing
    • United States
    • Georgetown Law Journal No. 110-Annual Review, August 2022
    • August 1, 2022
    ...has been taken into custody. 2614 The revocation authority must give the parolee notice of the alleged parole 2611. See Moody v. Daggett, 429 U.S. 78, 86 n.7 (1976); 18 U.S.C. § 4214(b)(1) (“Conviction for any criminal offense committed subsequent to release on parole shall constitute proba......
  • Pronouncements of the United States Supreme Court in the Criminal Law Field: 1976-1977 Term
    • United States
    • Colorado Bar Association Colorado Lawyer No. 6-9, September 1977
    • Invalid date
    ...infliction of punishment. XIII. RIGHTS OF PRISONERS 1. When Parole Revocation Hearing Must Be Held. Moody v. Dagget, ___ U.S. ___, 97 S.Ct. 274, L.Ed.2d 236 (1976). Petitioner Moody was paroled from prison in 1966. In 1971, while still on parole, he was convicted of crimes which clearly con......
  • Appellate Decisions
    • United States
    • Kansas Bar Association KBA Bar Journal No. 78-1, January 2009
    • Invalid date
    ...(2007). State's petition for review granted. ISSUE: Delay in executing probation violation warrant HELD: Consistent with Moody v. Daggett, 429 U.S. 78 (1976), if an alleged probation violator is incarcerated as the result of a new felony conviction arising in another county, the state does ......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT