Parole revocation affirmed for molester after ‘unapproved’ relationship

A man whose parole from a child molesting sentence was revoked after he had an “unapproved romantic relationship” lost his appeal Tuesday, with the Indiana Court of Appeals holding he confused the conditions of parole and probation revocation.

Jeffrey Gene Garrison was serving a 40-year sentenced for his conviction of child molesting when he was paroled in 2014, 14 years after he began serving his original sentence.

“The Parole Board revoked Garrison’s parole in 2019 because Garrison engaged in a romantic relationship without the permission of his parole officer. The relationship prompted concern because Garrison’s girlfriend lived with a teenaged boy and Garrison, a convicted child molester, admitted having telephone contact with the child,” Judge Leanna Weissmann wrote.

Garrison petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus, which the Henry Circuit Court denied. He argued the revocation of parole deprived him of credit time earned during his 14 years in prison and that he was denied due process. The appellate panel affirmed the revocation of Garrison’s parole in his pro se appeal, Jeffery Gene Garrison v. Mark Sevier, et al., 20A-MI-01087.

“Parole appeals are uncommon, although probation revocation challenges are not,” Weissman wrote. “Garrison confuses these two concepts, leading to his erroneous conclusion that the time credits he earned in prison prompted his early completion of his 40-year sentence and prevented the State from placing him on parole. As we find Garrison’s claims are meritless or waived, we affirm the trial court’s denial of his request for immediate release.”

Weissmann explained that while probationers receive the benefit of credit time earned while serving their sentence if their probation is revoked, but parolees do not. “That is the scenario in which Jeffery Gene Garrison found himself. He was convicted of child molesting and served 14 years of his 40-year sentence before being released on parole. His early release was the result of time credits he had earned in prison. Applying those credits, Garrison, by his calculations, had served his entire 40-year sentence. After the Parole Board revoked his parole and returned him to prison for his admitted parole violation, Garrison filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus. He claimed he should not have been placed on parole or returned to prison for violating the terms of that parole because he’d already served his entire sentence.

“… Garrison’s placement on parole was proper and did not deprive him of his earned credit time. … Garrison already had received the benefit of those credits when he was released early and allowed the grace to serve some of his sentence outside of prison walls,” the panel held.

Likewise, the COA rejected Garrison’s arguments that he was denied due process, concluding no evidentiary hearing would have been required whether the relief he sought was treated as a habeas or a post-conviction petition.

“Garrison further claims the Parole Board could not revoke his parole based on a violation of an unconstitutional parole rule. In his reply brief, Garrison also appears to challenge the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the Parole Board’s revocation of his parole,” Weissmann wrote.

“Garrison cripples our ability to review these issues through his failure to present us with an adequate record. He presents neither the parole condition he was accused of violating nor adequate evidence to determine if he objected to the condition (restricting personal relationships) during the revocation process or appealed the revocation to the Parole Board. … Based on this sparse record, we cannot even tell if he pled guilty to the accusation. The documents show alternatively that he pled guilty and that he did not,” the panel noted.

“As Garrison has failed to establish any error preserved for appeal or capable of review with the present record, we affirm the trial court’s judgment,” Weissmann wrote in conclusion.

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