himself, Kyle Puckett petitions this Court seeking habeas
corpus relief from his parole revocation by the Board of
Pardons and Parole (Board). He contends that his due process
rights have been violated and requests his immediate release
from his alleged illegal incarceration.
of background, in February 2014, the Flathead County District
Court sentenced Puckett to the Department of Corrections
(DOC) for an eight-year suspended term following the
conviction of felony criminal possession of precursors to
dangerous drugs. In October 2014, Puckett admitted to
violating his suspended sentence's conditions in a
hearing on the State's petition to revoke. The District
Court revoked his suspended sentence and imposed an
eight-year DOC commitment, with four years suspended. The
court also referred him to the Missoula Assessment and
Sanction Center (MASC). Following MASC, Puckett was sent to
Montana State Prison (MSP).
5, 2016, Puckett received a furlough to Kalispell. Two days
later, he was granted parole. Beginning in October 2016,
Puckett accrued several violations of his parole conditions,
including failing to report, failing to provide a residential
address, failing to conform with laws and legal conduct,
alleged illegal drug use, and absconding from supervision.
The DOC Probation and Parole office held an intervention
hearing on November 14, 2016. Puckett admitted several
violations. In its report of violation, the DOC Probation and
Parole listed several violations including new misdemeanor
charges. Puckett was later arrested and sent to MSP to appear
before the Board for a formal revocation hearing.
maintains that his constitutional due process rights have
been violated in this parole revocation process. He states
that he did not have a lawyer appointed, and his liberties
were deprived with "a right to counsel or [his] right to
face a jury of [his] peers to be properly judged in a court
of law." lie explains that his 2016 charges in Flathead
County have since been dismissed, yet he has not had any
further review by the Board.
revocation involves certain due process requirements. The
United States Supreme Court has held that following arrest, a
parolee has a right to an administrative on-site hearing at
L'the state institution" to determine if
reasonable grounds for revocation exist. Morrissey v.
Brewer, 408 U.S. 471, 485, 92 S.Ct. 2593, 2602 (1972).
The United States Supreme Court listed these minimum
(a) written notice of the claimed violations of parole; (b)
disclosure to the parolee of evidence against him; (c)
opportunity to be heard in person and to present witnesses
and documentary evidence; (d) the right to confront and
cross-examine adverse witnesses (unless the hearing officer
specifically finds good cause for not allowing
confrontation); (e) a "neutral and detached"
hearing body such as a traditional parole board, members of
which need not be judicial officers or lawyers; and (f) a
written statement by the factfinders as to the evidence
relied on and reasons for revoking parole.
Morrissey, 408 U.S. at 489, 92 S.Ct. at 2604. The
high court specifically stated that parole revocation
"is a narrow inquiry; the process should be flexible
enough . . . ." Morrissey, 408 U.S. at 489, 92
S.Ct. at 2604. The Supreme Court emphasized that a parole
revocation does not equate to a criminal prosecution.
Morrissey, 408 U.S. at 489, 92S.Ct. at 2604.
Morrissey Court also pointed to various States,
including Montana, which have addressed revocation of parole
by legislation. Morrissey, 408 U.S. at 489, 92 S.Ct.
at 2604. Montana's statutory scheme has changed since
this 1972 case. Nevertheless, the statutes for supervision of
probationers and parolees are located in § 46-23-1001
through -1032, MCA. The parole revocation process may be
found in both statutes and administrative rules. Sections
46-23-1021, -1023, -1025, MCA; Admin. R. M. 20.25.801 (2016).
As stated above, this "narrow inquiry" does not
occur in a court of law, but before a '"neutral and
detached' hearing body such as a traditional parole
board[.]" Morrissey, 408 U.S. at 489, 92 S.Ct.
at 2604; see also § 46-23-lO25(1)-(2), MCA.
documents accompanying Puckett's petition establish that
his due process rights were not violated. Puckett was given
all of the process that he was due prior to his parole being
formally revoked. Puckett received written notice of his
violations at his November 14, 2016 informal, intervention
hearing, pursuant to § 46-23-1023(2), MCA. In its report
of violation, the DOC found probable cause to recommend a
warrant for Puckett's arrest and to be brought before the
Board. The Board, and not Puckett's parole officer, held
an on-site parole revocation hearing at MSP on February 22,
2017. Puckett appeared in person, was allowed to speak, and
to present evidence. Puckett received a written decision
explaining the denial, known as a case disposition. In its
Case Disposition, the Board denied parole and passed to
discharge his term because of the nature of Puckett's
violations and his poor history under supervision. The Board
commented that "if all pending charges are dismissed
request a return[.]" In the Board's subsequent May
31, 2017 correspondence, the Board reminded Puckett that he
received a copy of the violations, that he acknowledged his
familiarity with the violations, that he voluntarily waived
his right to hire an attorney at his own expense, and that he
may reappear if the charges are dismissed.
present remedy is with the Board. He includes a copy of a
January 10, 2017 Order dismissing his charges in the Columbia
Falls City Court. As the Board allowed and as Puckett
acknowledges in his petition, he is scheduled to appear
before the Board in October 2017. Admin. R. M. 20.25.801(16)
recognized the Board's broad authority and its discretion
to decide an inmate's parole. McDermott v.
McDonald, 2001 MT 89, ¶ 25, 305 Mont. 166, 24 P.3d
200. Puckett's attached documents verify his parole
violations, substantiate the parole revocation process, and
justify his return to incarceration. We conclude that
Puckett's due process rights were not violated and that
the Board acted within its statutory authority in revoking
Puckett's parole. Puckett has not demonstrated an illegal
incarceration. Section 46-22-101(1), MCA. Therefore, IT IS
ORDERED that the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus is
Clerk is directed to provide a copy of this Order to counsel