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United States v. Tyner

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Eastern Division

December 4, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
JOHN CARLOS TYNER

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          W. Keith Watkins United States District Judge

         Before the court is Defendant John Carlos Tyner's motion to dismiss the petition for revocation of supervised release. (Doc. # 19.) Upon consideration of the parties' filings, the facts introduced at the hearing on October 24, 2019, and applicable law, this motion is due to be denied.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         This case spans twenty-seven years and three different judges of this district. Mr. Tyner plead guilty on November 10, 1992, to bank robbery and to using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. (Doc. # 1, at 3; Doc. # 1-1.) On February 9, 1993, Judge Robert Varner sentenced Defendant to ninety-seven months in prison followed by four years of supervised release. (Doc. # 1-3, at 1-3.) His term of supervised release began on March 22, 2002. (Doc. # 4, at 1.)

         On August 4, 2004, Defendant was arrested for aggravated child molestation in Georgia. On September 9, 2004, the United States Probation Office (USPO) petitioned for revocation of Defendant's supervised release and for an arrest warrant on the grounds that his arrest violated the condition that he “not commit another federal, state, or local crime.” (Doc. # 1-4.) Judge W. Harold Albritton, III ordered the issuance of a warrant, which was initially lodged as a detainer with the Muscogee County Jail in Columbus, Georgia. (Doc. # 1, at 4.) On October 20, 2005, Mr. Tyner plead guilty to aggravated child molestation and was sentenced to fifteen years in Georgia state prison. (Doc. # 14-2, Gov. Ex. 2.)

         On April 12, 2007, the United States Marshals Service (“USMS”) lodged a detainer with the State of Georgia. That detainer specified that an arrest warrant had been issued charging Mr. Tyner with “violation of the conditions of probation and/or supervised release, ” and it requested that Mr. Tyner be given a copy of the detainer. (Doc. # 1-6.) The Georgia Department of Corrections (“GDC”) returned a document indicating that Mr. Tyner was notified of the detainer on April 16, 2007. (Doc. # 22-2, Gov. Ex. 2.) Mr. Tyner testified that he was not notified of the detainer then.

         Following Mr. Tyner's release from GDC custody, he was arrested in Georgia on August 7, 2019, and transferred to the Middle District of Alabama. (Doc. # 7.) The USPO filed an amended petition for revocation of supervised release on August 8, 2019, which noted Mr. Tyner's conviction. (Doc. # 4.) Mr. Tyner filed this motion to dismiss on October 17 and supplemented it on October 28, 2019. (Docs. # 19, 23.) The Government filed written responses on October 21 and November 18, 2019. (Docs. # 21, 25.) A revocation hearing was held on October 24, 2019 and was continued until December 9, 2019.

         II. DISCUSSION

         Mr. Tyner argues that his procedural due process rights have been violated because the Government failed to provide him with notice and a hearing on the allegations during the fifteen years between the filing of the initial petition and his release from GDC custody. He argues that the delay has prejudiced his defense. The Government contends that Mr. Tyner was not legally entitled to notice until he was in federal custody and that he did, in fact, receive notice of the detainer in 2007.

         A. Mr. Tyner was not entitled to notice of his pending revocation proceedings until he was in federal custody.

         This motion presents issues of both law and fact. Whether Mr. Tyner was, in fact, given notice that he may be subject to revocation proceedings is in dispute. The Government contends that Mr. Tyner was provided with notice because the GDC produced a document indicating that Mr. Tyner was informed of the detainer on April 16, 2007. (Doc. # 22-2; Gov. Ex. 2.) The Government argues that this document should be conclusive on this issue because “[o]fficial acts of public officers are presumed regular in the absence of clear and convincing evidence to the contrary.” (Doc. # 25, at 7 (collecting cases).) Mr. Tyner testified that he did not receive notice in 2007 and that he was expecting to be released on his GDC release date. He argues that this belief was buttressed by a 2016 letter from USPO investigator Sharon Shannon informing his institution that he has time remaining on his supervised release and should report to the USPO upon release from GDC. (Doc. # 22-3; Def. Ex. 1.) Mr. Tyner also points to a letter sent from GDC's Director of Inmate Administration to the USMS on April 19, 2007, which states that the warden who has custody of Mr. Tyner “will be instructed to inform the inmate of the source and content of your detainer.” (Doc. # 22-3; Def. Ex. 3.) Because the court concludes that Defendant is not entitled to dismissal, it will assume arguendo that Mr. Tyner was not given notice of the pending revocation proceedings until his 2019 release.

         Persons on supervised release are entitled to due process before they can be deprived of their liberty through release revocation. Moody v. Daggett, 429 U.S. 78, 85 (1976) (holding that the “conditional freedom of a parolee generated by statute is a liberty interest protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment”); United States v. Copeland, 20 F.3d 412, 414 (11th Cir. 1994) (“The same protections granted those facing revocation of parole are required for those facing the revocation of supervised release.”). These protections include the right to notice of the allegations and a hearing. Morrissey v. Brewer, 408 U.S. 471, 489 (1972). These rights and the protections of Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 32.1 attach when the releasee is deprived of his liberty by federal officials for release violations. Moody, 429 U.S. at 87; United States v. Cunningham, 150 Fed.Appx. 994, 996 (11th Cir. 2005) (per curiam). Consequently, the Government was not required to give Mr. Tyner notice and a hearing during his state incarceration.

         B. Mr. Tyner has not made a sufficient showing that he was prejudiced by the delay between the filing of the first revocation petition and his initial appearance.

         The Government delays notice and supervised release revocation hearings at its peril. Even though Mr. Tyner was not entitled to notice and a hearing as a matter of right within some specified time period, unreasonable delay can constitute a due process violation ...


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