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Rule

Paroling, Recommitting, and Supervising Federal Prisoners: Prisoners Serving Sentences Under the District of Columbia Code

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

United States Parole Commission, Justice.

ACTION:

Interim rule with request for comments.

SUMMARY:

The U.S. Parole Commission is amending its rules of procedure that govern the revocation process for District of Columbia parolees who are arrested and held in the District of Columbia on warrants charging them with violations of parole. The amended rules implement a decision of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, in Long v. Gaines, Civ. Action No. 01-0010 (EGS), dated November 21, 2001, which obliges the Commission to promulgate amendments to its regulations so as to conform them to the requirements of constitutional due process as interpreted by the Court. The amended rules impose new deadlines for making determinations of probable cause (five days from arrest), for holding the final revocation hearing (sixty-five days from arrest), and for issuing final decisions as to revocation (eighty-six days after arrest). The amended rules also include other procedures designed to comply with the court's order.

DATES:

This interim rule will take effect on February 19, 2002. Comments must be received by March 19, 2002.

ADDRESSES:

Send comments to Office of General Counsel, U.S. Parole Commission, 5550 Friendship Blvd., Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Pamela A. Posch, Office of General Counsel, U.S. Parole Commission, 5550 Friendship Blvd., Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815, telephone (301) 492-5959.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

In Long v. Gaines, 167 F. Supp. 2d 75 (D.D.C. 2001), the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia held that the Parole Commission's rules governing the revocation process for District of Columbia parolees are unconstitutional with respect to the applicable time deadlines for making determinations of probable cause and completing the revocation process. Under the Commission's current rules, a parolee who is arrested on a warrant charging a violation of parole is entitled to a prompt preliminary interview, normally conducted by a parole officer other than the officer who supervised the parolee. The Commission must make a determination of probable cause “as expeditiously as possible” if the interviewing officer recommends a finding of “no probable cause,” and within 21 days of the interview if the interviewing officer recommends that probable cause be found. A local revocation hearing must be held within 60 days of the probable cause determination if the parolee denies violating parole and has not been convicted of a new crime. Thereafter, the Commission must issue a final decision within 21 days of the revocation hearing, excluding weekends and holidays. See 28 CFR 2.101 through 2.105 (2001). Because the Commission customarily holds preliminary interviews within three to five days of arrest, these rules provide for an outside limit of 86 days from arrest for the Start Printed Page 2569revocation hearing to be held, and 107 days from arrest for the final decision to be issued. (Parolees who are convicted of new crimes are only entitled to revocation hearings within 90 days of arrest; the rules governing such offenders are not changed by these amendments.)

However, in Long v. Gaines the court has held that the due process clause of the U.S. Constitution requires that the Commission make determinations of probable cause no later than five days from arrest, that revocation hearings be held not later than 65 days from arrest, and that final decisions be issued no later than 86 days from arrest. Except in the case of parolees convicted of new crimes, the Commission has now been enjoined to operate within these deadlines. The court also held that the Commission must ensure that: (1) The parolee is given notice of the time and purpose of the probable cause hearing and the charged violations; (2) prior to the revocation hearing, the parolee is provided with disclosure of the evidence to be relied upon by the Commission in determining whether parole was violated and, if so, whether to revoke parole; and (3) the ultimate decisionmaker is informed of all the parolee's arguments and evidence prior to rendering a final decision.

The amended rules implement these requirements. Although not all of the court's requirements necessitate departures from the Commission's current practice, the amended rules significantly differ from the Commission's current practice by adopting the court's new deadlines, and by requiring that Commission hearing examiners conduct probable cause hearings in the District of Columbia within five days of the parolee's arrest. The Commission has delegated to these examiners the authority to make a probable cause decision at the conclusion of each hearing. The examiner will also have the authority to order the release of the parolee if no probable cause is found, and to set a date for the revocation hearing if probable cause is found.

Implementation

The Commission's regulations at 28 CFR 2.98 through 2.105, as amended by this publication, will be followed by the Commission in the case of all District of Columbia Code parolees who are arrested and held in the District of Columbia on warrants charging a violation or violations of parole, until the taking effect of final rules promulgated by the Commission. However, these interim amendments will also retain the status of proposed rules for the purposes of the public comment requirement of 5 U.S.C. 553 (b). The Commission will withhold promulgation of final rules until completion of the comment and objection process accorded to the plaintiffs in Long v. Gaines. These regulations do not supersede or replace any representation made by the defendants in the Compliance Plan approved by the district court on November 21, 2001.

Regulatory Assessment Requirements

The U.S. Parole Commission has determined that these interim regulations do not constitute a significant rule within the meaning of Executive Order 12866. The amended rules will not have a significant economic impact upon a substantial number of small entities within the meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 605(b), and are deemed by the Commission to be rules of agency practice that do not substantially affect the rights or obligations of non-agency parties pursuant to Section 804(3)(C) of the Congressional Review Act.

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List of Subjects in 28 CFR Part 2

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The Amended Rules

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Accordingly, the U.S. Parole Commission is adopting the following amendments to

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PART 2—[AMENDED]

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1. The authority citation for

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Authority: 18 U.S.C. 4203(a)(1) and 4204(a)(6).

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2. Section 2.98 is amended as follows:

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a. Amend paragraph (a)(1) by removing “preliminary interview” and adding in its place “probable cause hearing”.

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b. Revise paragraph (f) to read as follows:

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Summons to appear or warrant for retaking of parolee.
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(f) A summons or warrant issued pursuant to this section shall be accompanied by a warrant application (or other notice) stating:

(1) The charges against the parolee;

(2) The specific reports and other documents upon which the Commission intends to rely in determining whether a violation occurred and whether to revoke parole;

(3) Notice of the Commission's intent, if the parolee is arrested within the District of Columbia, to hold a probable cause hearing within five days of the parolee's arrest;

(4) A statement of the purpose of the probable cause hearing;

(5) The days of the week on which the Commission regularly holds its dockets of probable cause hearings at the Central Detention Facility;

(6) The parolee's procedural rights in the revocation process; and

(7) The possible actions that the Commission may take.

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3. Section 2.99 is amended as follows:

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a. Revise paragraph (b) to read as set forth below.

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b. Amend paragraph (e) by removing “preliminary interview” and adding in its place “probable cause hearing”.

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Execution of warrant and service of summons.
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(b) Upon the arrest of the parolee, the officer executing the warrant shall deliver to the parolee a copy of the warrant application (or other notice provided by the Commission) containing the information described in § 2.98 (f).

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4. Section 2.101 is revised to read as follows:

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Probable cause hearing and determination.

(a) Hearing. A parolee who is retaken and held in custody in the District of Columbia on a warrant issued by the Commission (or by the Board of Parole of the District of Columbia), and who has not been convicted of a new crime, shall, no later than five days from the date of such retaking, be given a probable cause hearing by an examiner of the Commission. The purpose of the probable cause hearing is to determine whether there is probable cause to believe that the parolee has violated parole as charged, and if so, whether a local or institutional revocation hearing should be conducted.

(b) Notice and opportunity to postpone hearing. Prior to the commencement of each docket of probable cause hearings, a list of the parolees who are scheduled for probable cause hearings, together with a copy of the warrant application for each parolee, shall be sent to the DC Public Defender Service. At or before the probable cause hearing, the parolee (or the parolee's attorney) may submit a written request that the hearing be postponed for any period up to thirty days, and the Commission shall ordinarily grant such requests. Prior to the commencement of Start Printed Page 2570the probable cause hearing, the examiner shall advise the parolee that the parolee may accept representation by the attorney from the DC Public Defender Service who is assigned to that docket, waive the assistance of an attorney at the probable cause hearing, or have the probable cause hearing postponed in order to obtain another attorney and/or witnesses on his behalf. In addition, the parolee may request the Commission to require the attendance of adverse witnesses (i.e., witnesses who have given information upon which revocation may be based) at a postponed probable cause hearing. Such adverse witnesses may be required to attend either a postponed probable cause hearing, or a combined postponed probable cause and local revocation hearing, provided the parolee meets the requirements of § 2.102(a) for a local revocation hearing. The parolee shall also be given notice of the time and place of any postponed probable cause hearing.

(c) Review of the charges. At the beginning of the probable cause hearing, the examiner shall ascertain that the notice required by § 2.99 (b) has been given to the parolee. The examiner shall then review the violation charges with the parolee and shall apprise the parolee of the evidence that has been submitted in support of the charges. The examiner shall ascertain whether the parolee admits or denies each charge listed on the warrant application (or other notice of charges), and shall offer the parolee an opportunity to rebut or explain the allegations contained in the evidence giving rise to each charge. The examiner shall also receive the statements of any witnesses and documentary evidence that may be presented by the parolee. At a postponed probable cause hearing, the examiner shall also permit the parolee to confront and cross-examine any adverse witnesses in attendance, unless good cause is found for not allowing confrontation. Whenever a probable cause hearing is postponed to secure the appearance of adverse witnesses, the Commission will ordinarily order a combined probable cause and local revocation hearing as provided in paragraph (i) of this section.

(d) Probable cause determination. At the conclusion of the probable cause hearing, the examiner shall determine whether probable cause exists to believe that the parolee has violated parole as charged, and shall so inform the parolee. The examiner shall then take either of the following actions:

(1) If the examiner determines that no probable cause exists for any violation charge, the examiner shall order that the parolee be released from the custody of the warrant and either reinstated to parole, or discharged from supervision if the parolee's sentence has expired.

(2) If the hearing examiner determines that probable cause exists on any violation charge, and the parolee has requested (and is eligible for) a local revocation hearing in the District of Columbia as provided by § 2.102 (a), the examiner shall schedule a local revocation hearing for a date that is within 65 days of the parolee's arrest. After the probable cause hearing, the parolee (or the parolee's attorney) may submit a written request for a postponement. Such postponements will normally be granted if the request is received no later than fifteen days before the date of the revocation hearing. A request for a postponement that is received by the Commission less than fifteen days before the scheduled date of the revocation hearing will be granted only for a compelling reason. The parolee (or the parolee's attorney) may also request, in writing, a hearing date that is earlier than the date scheduled by the examiner, and the Commission will accommodate such request if practicable.

(e) Institutional revocation hearing. If the parolee is not eligible for a local revocation hearing as provided by § 2.102 (a), or has requested to be transferred to an institution for his revocation hearing, the Commission will request the Bureau of Prisons to designate the parolee to an appropriate institution, and an institutional revocation hearing shall be scheduled for a date that is within ninety days of the parolee's retaking.

(f) Digest of the probable cause hearing. At the conclusion of the probable cause hearing, the examiner shall prepare a digest summarizing the evidence presented at the hearing, the responses of the parolee, and the examiner's findings as to probable cause.

(g) Release notwithstanding probable cause. Notwithstanding a finding of probable cause, the Commission may order the parolee's reinstatement to supervision or release pending further proceedings, if it determines that:

(1) Continuation of revocation proceedings is not warranted despite the finding of probable cause; or

(2) Incarceration pending further revocation proceedings is not warranted by the frequency or seriousness of the alleged violation(s), and the parolee is neither likely to fail to appear for further proceedings, nor is a danger to himself or others.

(h) Conviction as probable cause. Conviction of any crime committed subsequent to release by a parolee shall constitute probable cause for the purposes of this section, and no probable cause hearing shall be conducted unless a hearing is needed to consider additional violation charges that may be determinative of the Commission's decision whether to revoke parole.

(i) Combined probable cause and local revocation hearing. A postponed probable cause hearing may be conducted as a combined probable cause and local revocation hearing, provided such hearing is conducted within 65 days of the parolee's arrest and the parolee has been notified that the postponed probable cause hearing will constitute his final revocation hearing. The Commission's policy is to conduct a combined probable cause and local revocation hearing whenever adverse witnesses are required to appear and give testimony with respect to contested charges.

(j) Late received charges. If the Commission is notified of an additional charge after probable cause has been found to proceed with a revocation hearing, the Commission may:

(1) Remand the case for a supplemental probable cause hearing if the new charge may be contested by the parolee and possibly result in the appearance of witness(es) at the revocation hearing;

(2) Notify the parolee that the additional charge will be considered at the revocation hearing without conducting a supplemental probable cause hearing; or

(3) Determine that the new charge shall not be considered at the revocation hearing.

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5. Section 2.102 (f) is revised to read as follows:

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Place of revocation hearing.
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(f) A local revocation hearing shall be held not later than sixty-five days from the retaking of the parolee on the parole violation warrant. An institutional revocation hearing shall be held within ninety days of the retaking of the parolee on the parole violation warrant. If the parolee requests and receives any postponement, or consents to any postponement, or by his actions otherwise precludes the prompt completion of revocation proceedings in his case, the above-stated time limits shall be correspondingly extended.

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6. Section 2.103 is amended by revising paragraph (d) and adding paragraphs (f) and (g) to read as follows:

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Revocation hearing procedure.
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(d) All evidence upon which a finding of violation may be based shall be disclosed to the alleged violator before the revocation hearing. Such evidence shall include the Community Supervision Officer's letter summarizing the parolee's adjustment to parole and requesting the warrant, all other documents describing the charged violation or violations of parole, and any additional evidence upon which the Commission intends to rely in determining whether the charged violation or violations, if sustained, would warrant revocation of parole. If the parolee is represented by an attorney, the attorney shall be provided, prior to the revocation hearing, with a copy of the parolee's presentence investigation report, if such report is available to the Commission. If disclosure of any information would reveal the identity of a confidential informant or result in harm to any person, that information may be withheld from disclosure, in which case a summary of the withheld information shall be disclosed to the parolee prior to the revocation hearing.

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(f) At a local revocation hearing, the Commission shall secure the presence of the parolee's Community Supervision Officer, or a substitute Community Supervision Officer, who shall bring the parolee's supervision file, if the parolee's Community Supervision Officer is not available. At the request of the hearing examiner, such officer shall provide testimony at the hearing concerning the parolee's adjustment to parole.

(g) After the revocation hearing, the hearing examiner shall prepare a summary of the hearing that includes a description of the evidence against the parolee and the evidence submitted by the parolee in defense or mitigation of the charges, a summary of the arguments against revocation presented by the parolee, and the examiner's recommended decision. The hearing examiner's summary, together with the parolee's file (including any documentary evidence and letters submitted on behalf of the parolee), shall be given to another examiner for review. When two hearing examiners concur in a recommended disposition, that recommendation, together with the parolee's file and the hearing examiner's summary of the hearing, shall be submitted to the Commission for decision.

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7. Section 2.104 (a)(1) is amended by removing “preliminary interview” and adding in its place “probable cause hearing”.

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8. Section 2.105 (c) is revised to read as follows:

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Revocation decisions.
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(c) Decisions under this section shall be made upon the concurrence of two Commissioner votes, except that a decision to override an examiner panel recommendation shall require the concurrence of three Commissioner votes. The final decision following a local revocation hearing shall be issued within 86 days of the retaking of the parolee on the parole violation warrant. The final decision following an institutional revocation hearing shall be issued within 21 days of the hearing, excluding weekends and holidays.

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Dated: January 10, 2002.

Edward F. Reilly, Jr.,

Chairman, Parole Commission.

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[FR Doc. 02-1308 Filed 1-17-01; 8:45 am]

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