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Hamlin v. Salmonsen

Supreme Court of Montana

August 21, 2018



         Charles Clifford Hamlin petitions this Court for habeas corpus relief, asserting that he is illegally incarcerated due to a 2018 disciplinary hearing and a bond he posted on a new felony charge. He argues his due process rights were violated pursuant to §§ 46-23-1023 through 46-23-1025, MCA, and "the Department of Corrections failed to abide by due process and failed in their own policy and procedure in using the revocation process in returning Hamlin to Prison and impeding [h]is liberty interests." Hamlin maintains he did not violate his conditional release prior to his transport to prison. He requests his release via an "order of Mandamus" to Powell County.

         After receiving Hamlin's guilty pleas to two counts of felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs, the First Judicial District Court, Lewis and Clark County, sentenced Hamlin on July 15, 2015, to the Department of Corrections (DOC) for two concurrent twenty-year terms with fifteen years suspended, and imposed several probationary conditions. Hamlin states that he was released from Helena Pre-Release to conditional release on January 23, 2017, "subject to the rules of Probation and Parole, in addition the Montana Incentives and Intervention Grid."

         Hamlin indicates he was charged with felony stalking on January 18, 2018, and appeared before the Justice Court and posted a bond of $25, 000. Probation and Parole fitted him with a GPS locator and he "was ordered to stay 1, 500 feet away from the victim." Hamlin refers to an unspecified "incident" on January 24, 2018, after which Probation and Parole Officers transferred him to Montana State Prison's Martz Diagnostic Intake Unit (MDIU). He states that he appeared via video conference before the First Judicial District Court on February 7, 2018, entered a not guilty plea to the new charge, and had a bond set of $25, 000 subject to conditions.

         Hamlin is not incarcerated illegally. Hamlin acknowledges he was subject to the rules of Probation and Parole, and based on the limited information he submitted, the DOC has not violated any rules concerning his parole revocation process. In Montana, the parole revocation process has been codified in both statutes and administrative rules. Sections 46-23-1021, 46-23-1023, and 46-23-1025, MCA; Admin. R. M. 20.25.801 (2016). As stated in the DOC's Adult Probation and Parole Statement of Charges/Notice of Disciplinary Hearing Rights, dated January 25, 2018, Hamlin violated his probation and parole conditions and therefore his conditional release:

         You are charged with violating the rules in the following manner:

1. Condition #8 P&P Rule #124 (Severe) Felony - Violation of State Law: Hamlin has 5 pending violation[s] of a restraining order and 1 stalking charges all felonies. . . .
Charles admitted that he was behind her in a vehicle and passed that vehicle. He admitted that he had gone to Pele Trailer Park to drop off Dusty Cooper, who is on supervision. . . .

         Hamlin admitted to being where he should not have been.

         Pertinent here is the administrative rules which govern this process. The DOC must conduct an on-site hearing near the site of the alleged violation. Admin, R. M. 20.25.801(1) and (5) (2016). The DOC held a hearing at the Lewis and Clark County Detention Center on January 25, 2018. In the DOC's document, Hamlin was given notice of his scheduled disciplinary hearing, which he did not waive, and was given notice of his rights during this hearing. Hamlin acknowledged these facts by initialing the document. Hamlin may then be transferred to a state prison "after a hearing officer has determined there is probable cause to hold the parolee for a final decision of the board." Admin. R. M. 20.25.801(8) (2016). Hamlin was then transported to prison later that day. The DOC has not violated the revocation process or his due process rights.

         We secured copies of the Lewis and Clark County District Court's dockets for Hamlin's proceedings. Concerning his new felony offense and bond, Hamlin has appointed counsel and has had an appearance for his bond and any conditions. This Court cautions Hamlin to refrain from filing pleadings with this Court while he is represented by counsel. Courts may properly refuse to accept pro se pleadings from defendants who are represented by counsel. State v. Samples, 2005 MT 210, ¶ 15, 328 Mont. 242, 119 P.3d 1191.

         Hamlin is not entitled to release. The purpose of a petition of a writ of habeas corpus is to inquire into the cause of imprisonment or restraint. Section 46-22-101(1), MCA. The reason for Hamlin's incarceration is due to his recent violation of his conditions. He awaits prosecution of his new offense in the District Court. He has not demonstrated an illegal incarceration. Section 46-22-101(1), MCA; Miller v. Eleventh Judicial Dist. Ct., 2007 MT 58, ¶ 14, 336 Mont. 207, 154 P.3d 1186. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that Hamlin's Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus is DENIED.

         The Clerk is directed to send a copy of this Order to counsel of record; to Jeffrey Todd Sealey, Lewis and Clark County Attorney's Office; to Randi M. Hood, Defense ...

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