United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DISMISSING THE HABEAS PETITION,
DECLINING TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, AND
DENYING LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS ON APPEAL
V. PARKER U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter has come before the Court on a pro se
petition for the writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. §
2241. Michigan prisoner Darrin LaPine
(“Petitioner”) challenges the Michigan Parole
Board's recent decision to deny him release on parole.
Petitioner claims that the Parole Board's decision
violated his right to substantive due process and was
arbitrary and capricious.
has no legitimate claim of entitlement to parole under state
or federal law, and he has failed to show that the Parole
Board's decision was arbitrary and capricious. Therefore,
his due process claim lacks merit, and his petition must be
alleges that he was interviewed during parole hearings held
on January 9, 2018, and on January 16, 2018. He asserts that
he did not receive proper notice of the hearings and that,
after the hearings, he was denied release on parole for
twelve months. According to him, the order denying him
release on parole falsely stated that he minimized his
behavior; he was not amenable to treatment; he was terminated
from a program for poor performance or for disciplinary
reasons; and that he blamed staff or other people for the
program's failure. The report concluded by stating that
Petitioner blamed others for his conduct and that he needed
to request Bridges (a domestic violence program) when he was
ready to successfully complete the program.
contends that his interviewer failed to realize he was not
eligible for Bridges. Petitioner also contends that the
interviewer gave no consideration to his release on parole in
2015 and the fact that his parole was revoked for egregious
reasons. Additionally, Petitioner alleges that the denial of
parole was retaliation for another habeas petition that
challenges the parole revocation proceeding. He concludes
that the Parole Board's decision to deny him release on
parole was unreasonable, arbitrary, and capricious. He also
claims that the Parole Board relied on false information and
violated his right to substantive due process.
Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the
United States District Courts, district courts must promptly
examine a state prisoner's habeas petition and dismiss
the petition if it plainly appears from the petition and any
attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to
relief. Day v. McDonough, 547 U.S. 198, 207
(2006). When, as here, no state court has
adjudicated the petitioner's claims on the merits, this
Court's review is de novo. Crump v.
Lafler, 657 F.3d 393, 397 (6th Cir. 2011). To obtain
habeas relief, Petitioner must demonstrate that he “is
in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or
treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. §
is alleging a violation of his constitutional right to due
process of law. Under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United
States Constitution, no State shall “deprive any person
of life, liberty, or property, without due process of
law.” U.S. Const. amend. XIV. To prevail on his due
process claim, Petitioner must demonstrate that a protected
property or liberty interest was violated. Wershe v.
Combs, 763 F.3d 500, 506 (6th Cir. 2014). “When an
inmate asserts a right to parole premised upon substantive
due process, as here, the claim involves a purported liberty
interest.” Bell v. Anderson, 301 Fed.Appx.
459, 461 (6th Cir. 2008) (citing Inmates of Orient Corr.
Inst. v. Ohio State Adult Parole Auth., 929 F.2d 233,
235 (6th Cir. 1991)).
Supreme Court stated in Greenholtz v. Inmates of Nebraska
Penal and Corr. Complex, 442 U.S. 1 (1979), that
“[t]here is no constitutional or inherent right of a
convicted person to be conditionally released before the
expiration of a valid sentence.” Id. at 7.
“The Supreme Court has made it clear that a mere
unilateral hope or expectation of release on parole is not
enough to constitute a protected liberty interest; the
prisoner ‘must, instead, have a legitimate claim of
entitlement to it.'” Inmates of Orient
Corr. Inst., 929 F.2d at 235 (quoting
Greenholtz, 442 U.S. at 7) (quoting Board of
Regents v. Roth, 408 U.S. 564, 577 (1972)) (emphasis
added in Inmates of Orient Corr. Inst.).
of entitlement to parole “can be created only by the
operation of state law.” Crump, 657 F.3d at
397 (citing Inmates of Orient Corr. Inst., 929 F.2d
at 235). The question then is whether under state law
“Petitioner had ‘a legitimate claim of
entitlement to' parole, rather than ‘an abstract
need or desire for it.'” Crump, 657 F.3d
at 399 (quoting Greenholtz, 442 U.S. at 7) (quoting
Roth, 408 U.S. at 577). “[T]he salient factor
is whether the statute contains mandatory language that
creates a presumption of release when the designated findings
are made.” Crump, 657 F.3d at 399 (citing
Board of Pardons v. Allen, 482 U.S. 369, 377 (1987)
(quoting Greenholtz, 442 U.S. at 12)).
parole statute states that “a prisoner's release on
parole is discretionary with the parole board.” Mich.
Comp. Laws § 791.234(11).
A fair reading of Michigan's parole system reveals that
it extends the possibility-even to the extent of being
probable-that parole status will be awarded. “That the
state holds out the possibility of parole provides no more
than a mere hope that the benefit will be obtained.”