COA upholds denial of habeas petition for parole revocation

The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld the denial of an Indiana man’s habeas petition, finding the man was legally considered to be on parole at the time of his subsequent offenses, making his parole revocation appropriate.

In 2005, Jeffrey Arnold was sentenced under two separate causes – 10 years for sexual misconduct with a minor under Cause 37, and six months for resisting law enforcement under Cause 01. The next year, he was sentenced to an additional 20 years for battery under Cause 56, with the sentences under 56 and 37 to be served concurrently, and Cause 01 to be served consecutively.

In October 2014, Arnold had been released to parole under Causes 56 and 37 and had discharged his sentence under the third cause. However, he was arrested for parole violations a few months later and was ordered to serve the remainder of his time under 56 and 37.

The Henry Circuit Court granted summary judgment to the warden of the New Castle Correctional Facility on Arnold’s habeas corpus petition, prompting his appeal in Jeffrey Arnold v. Keith Butts, Warden of the New Castle Correctional Facility, 33A01-1705-MI-1044.  The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld that denial Friday, with Judge Robert Altice writing that under Indiana Code section 35-50-6-1(d), sex offenders like Arnold are placed on parole for at least 10 years after completing a fixed term of imprisonment.

Thus, because Arnold completed his sentence under Cause 37, his sex crime, in December 2013, he remained on parole under that cause for at least 10 years, including the time of his subsequent arrest in February 2015, Altice said. Further, when Arnold entered parole under Cause 56, he had more than 24 months remaining on his fix term, so pursuant to I.C. 35-50-6-1(a)-(b), he began a 24-month parole term when he was released in April 2014, he said.

“That Arnold remained incarcerated on concurrent and/or consecutive sentences while on parole is of no practical consequence,” Altice wrote.

Arnold also argue I.C. 35-30-6-1 violates the separate of powers doctrine, which the appellate court dismissed as a waived argument. Waiver notwithstanding, Arnold’s separation of powers argument would still fail, Altice said, because “it is well-settled that an administrative agency such as the parole board has only such authority as is conferred upon it by the legislature pursuant to statute.”

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