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Richardson v. Stephens

United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division

June 29, 2017

DAMON JEROME RICHARDSON, Petitioner,
v.
WILLIAM STEPHENS, Respondents.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Kenneth M. Hoyt United States District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         The petitioner, Damon Jerome Richardson, seeks a writ of habeas corpus challenging The Board of Pardons and Paroles' [“Board”] denial of his release. The respondent has filed a motion for summary judgement, arguing that the petitioner is not entitled to federal habeas corpus relief. The petitioner has not filed a response at this time. After considering the petition, the motion, and the arguments and authorities submitted, the Court determines that the respondent's motion for summary judgement should be treated as a motion to dismiss and, therefore, dismiss the petitioner's writ without prejudice.

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         While awaiting trial on a criminal charge, the petitioner was placed under surveillance in connection with a drug operation that he managed. The investigation resulted in the seizure of approximately three kilograms of cocaine as well as over $225, 000.00. The petitioner pled not guilty to the offense charged and proceeded to trial on August 27, 1990. A jury found the petitioner guilty of engaging in organized criminal activity. On August 31, 1990, the petitioner was sentenced to life imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (“TDCJ”) and was fined $10, 000.00. In his federal writ for habeas corpus, the petitioner challenges only the denial of parole on the underlying conviction.

         In September of 2015, the Board granted the petitioner a status which status would allow the petitioner a future parole release date. On February 17, 2016, the Board withdrew that status based on substance abuse, a finding that the petitioner was predisposed to commit future criminal acts and other new information. Two months later, the petitioner filed a federal writ of habeas corpus challenging the Board's decision. The record reflects that the petitioner has yet to challenge the Board's decision through a state writ of habeas corpus.

         III.PARTIES' CONTENTIONS

         A. Petitioner's Contentions

         The petitioner's federal writ challenges the Board's decision concerning his parole release status. In this regard, the petitioner argues that he is entitled to habeas relief for the following reasons:

1) The parole system is arbitrary and capricious because letters and petitions provided by victims, prosecutors, law enforcement personnel and the general public opposing the petitioner's parole contain inaccurate information about his background or circumstances of his offense, and bear no relationship to the likelihood of harm to the public and the likelihood of a favorable parole outcome.
2) The acceptance and consideration of protest letters when making a parole determination is a violation of Equal Protection.
3) The Board violated his rights when it considered unadjudicated offenses or offenses extraneous to his conviction.

Accordingly, the petitioner requests that his parole status be reinstated so that he may be released on parole.

         B. The ...


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