Unpublished Disposition, 875 F.2d 318 (9th Cir. 1987)Annotate this Case
Stanley Earl HACKLER, Petitioner-Appellant,v.Robert J. CHRISTENSEN, United States Parole Commission,Respondents-Appellees.
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
Submitted April 14, 1989.* Decided May 16, 1989.
Before BROWNING, FARRIS, and WILLIAM A. NORRIS, Circuit Judges.
Stanley Earl Hackler, a federal prisoner, appeals the district court's denial of his habeas corpus petition. Hackler claims the district court erred in upholding the Parole Commission's decision to categorize his offense at a severity level of eight and set his sentence at 120 months. We affirm.
This court reviews de novo the district court's denial of a habeas corpus petition. Roberts v. Corrothers, 812 F.2d 1173, 1178 (9th Cir. 1987). The scope of our review of parole decisions is "exceedingly narrow." Walker v. United States, 816 F.2d 1313, 1316 (9th Cir. 1987) (citing Wallace v. Christensen, 802 F.2d 1539, 1552 (9th Cir. 1986) (en banc)). "Judgments involving a broad range of factors that the Commission takes into account in arriving at its decision are committed to the Commission's discretion and are unreviewable even for an abuse of discretion." Id. We will not review a Parole Commission decision unless the decision involves a nondiscretionary matter, or the Commission's action was so arbitrary as to violate due process. Id.
Hackler claims that the Commission's decision classifying his offense at severity level eight was not based on "specific facts" as required by paragraph 2.20-5 of the Notes and Procedures to the Commission's Guidelines for Decision-Making. United States Parole Commission, Rules and Procedures Manual 71 (April 5, 1987) (Notes and Procedures). However, because the decision was within the Commission's guidelines, the "specific facts" requirement of paragraph 2.20-5 does not apply. See Id. Hackler also claims that the Commission failed to show good cause for the category eight severity rating. Because the prison term set for Hackler was within guidelines, the good cause requirement of 18 U.S.C. § 4206(c) does not apply.
Hackler claims that the Commission improperly ignored his state prison sentence and failed to apply the "principle of parsimony." However, the record shows that the Commission did consider Hackler's state prison sentence in making its determination. The weight accorded to a mitigating factor is within the Commission's discretion and is therefore unreviewable. See Walker v. United States, 816 F.2d at 1317. The "principle of parsimony" is a methodology for analysis which sets a sentence in the lower half of the guideline range unless circumstances warrant otherwise. Notes and Procedures, paragraph 2.20-7. Hackler's sentence is within the lower half of the category eight guideline range; the Commission did not ignore the principle of parsimony.
Finally, Hackler contends that the Commission improperly considered his state murder conviction as an offense related to his federal conspiracy conviction. Our review of the Commission's decision is limited to an inquiry whether there is any evidence supporting the determination. Roberts, 812 F.2d at 1181-82. Hackler's murder victim was a participant in the drug conspiracy with Hackler. The murder took place within the time frame of the conspiracy. The Commission could rationally conclude that the murder was sufficiently related to the federal conspiracy offense to be considered part of the same course of criminal conduct.