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Maslauskas v. U.S. Board of Parole

decided: June 24, 1980.

PAUL E MASLAUSKAS, APPELLANT IN NO. 79-1845
v.
U.S. BOARD OF PAROLE, ET AL., APPELLEES ; PAUL E. MASLAUSKAS, APPELLANT IN NO. 79-2139 V. CHARLES E. FENTON, WARDEN, APPELLEE



APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA (D.C. Civ. Nos. 78-637 and 78-1174)

Before Gibbons, Circuit Judge, Rosenn, Circuit Judge, and Shapiro, District Judge.*fn*

Author: Shapiro

Opinion OF THE COURT

Petitioner, Paul E. Maslauskas, has filed two pro se petitions for a writ of habeas corpus. The first seeks withdrawal of a parole violator warrant issued on March 22, 1972 and lodged as a detainer in the spring of 1976; the second seeks release from the parole violator term that commenced when this warrant was executed on November 25, 1978. The district court dismissed both petitions and Maslauskas appealed. Both petitions, dealing with precisely the same issue, have been consolidated on appeal. We reverse the dismissals and remand with direction to grant the writs for the reasons stated below.

I. FACTS

On July 24, 1967, petitioner was sentenced to a regular adult term of six years for transporting forged and counterfeited securities in interstate commerce in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2314. He was paroled on March 22, 1971 with approximately two years remaining on his sentence. On February 17, 1972, he was arrested on state drug charges. As a result of this arrest the United States Board of Parole*fn1 issued a parole violator warrant for Maslauskas on March 8, 1972.*fn2 This warrant was executed on March 13, 1972*fn3 and Mr. Maslauskas was incarcerated for nine days. On March 22, 1972, the Board ordered that petitioner's "parole should not be revoked and he be immediately released from custody and reinstated to supervision."*fn4 Thereafter, he served his parole term, which expired in April, 1973, without incident.*fn5

Notwithstanding the Board's Order of March 22, 1972 that parole should not be revoked, a second violator warrant issued that same day.*fn6 It was accompanied by a warrant application which, but for the date of issuance, was identical with the warrant application of March 8, 1972. On March 24, 1975, Maslauskas was sentenced to four years of imprisonment on new federal charges. On May 21, 1975, Maslauskas entered a guilty plea to the 1972 state drug charges and was sentenced to a term of probation to run consecutively to his federal sentence.*fn7 In November, 1975 and February, 1976, sentences of imprisonment totaling an additional one year and six months were imposed following guilty pleas on additional federal offenses, all of which involved interstate transport of forged securities. The warrant of March 22, 1972 was lodged as a detainer against Maslauskas on May 18 or 19, 1976*fn8 and the Parole Commission was so informed.*fn9

In December of 1976, the Commission prepared forms, giving Maslauskas notice of a forthcoming dispositional review, which were never mailed to him. This error was not detected until July, 1978, at which time new forms were sent. However, on January 12, 1977, without Maslauskas' knowledge or participation, a dispositional review had been held at which it was decided not to disturb the detainer. The letter so informing Maslauskas was sent to the wrong prison and not received by the prisoner. On February 10, 1977, the Commission sent copies of this letter to prison officials and requested that Maslauskas be advised "as soon as possible" of the results of the dispositional review. Nevertheless, it was not until January, 1978 that the prisoner first learned of the outstanding detainer resulting from the March 22, 1972 violator warrant.*fn10

Although the Commission was engaged in active correspondence with Maslauskas during January, 1978, it conducted another review of the violator warrant in February, 1978 without notifying him. Maslauskas was informed of that review decision on April 25, 1978 and filed his first pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus.*fn11 On November 28, 1978, the district court ordered the Commission to hold a dispositional review of the parole violator warrant; the review was held ex parte in January, 1979, and the warrant detainer retained in force. This review was held more two and one-half years after the Commission was first advised that the second violator warrant was lodged as a detainer.*fn12 The court found no prejudice from the long delay in holding the dispositional review and dismissed the habeas petition.

II. THE DELAYED DISPOSITIONAL REVIEW

On appeal, counsel for petitioner thoroughly reviews the extended history of irregularities which characterize the Board's (later the Commission's) handling of Maslauskas' parole term on his 1967 federal sentence. Lodging a violator warrant as a detainer entitles the prisoner to a dispositional review within 180 days, 18 U.S.C. § 4214(b)(1) (1976). Here the Commission far exceeded this limit, but the appropriate relief is ordinarily to order that a dispositional review take place. The district court properly granted such relief.*fn13

The district court applied a two-pronged test to determine whether to grant the habeas petition because of delay: first, whether the delay was unreasonable; and second, whether the delay was prejudicial to a legally protected interest. Lambert v. Warden, United States Penitentiary, 591 F.2d 4 (5th Cir. 1979). See Smith v. United States 577 F.2d 1025 (5th Cir. 1978); Bryant v. Grinner, 563 F.2d 871 (7th Cir. 1977); United States ex rel. Sims v. Sielaff, 563 F.2d 821 (7th Cir. 1977); United States ex rel. Fitzpatrick v. United States Parole Commission, 444 F. Supp. 1302 (M.D.Pa.1978). In deciding whether the delay was prejudicial, the Court adopted the criteria established in Barker v. Wingo, 407 U.S. 514, 92 S. Ct. 2182, 33 L. Ed. 2d 101 (1972), with regard to delays in alleged violation of the Sixth Amendment guarantee to a speedy trial. United States ex rel. Sims v. Sielaff, supra, at 827-28.

Although holding that the delay in this case "weighs heavily" against the Commission, Maslauskas v. United States Parole Board, Civil No. 78-637 at 11 (M.D.Pa. May 17, 1979), the district court dismissed the petition for failure to show prejudice. While petitioner contests this finding, he entered guilty pleas to the state charges underlying the parole violator warrant.*fn14 Moreover, though Maslauskas alleged that he had exculpatory witnesses who have died, he does not state what they might have said or how their statements might have mitigated this admitted parole violation. We are limited on appeal to ...


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