United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS
to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, Petitioner Rocky Reliford seeks
this Court's review of his petition for a writ habeas
corpus challenging his detention. Reliford argues that the
United States Parole Commission's
(“Commission's”) decision to deny his
mandatory parole was arbitrary and capricious and therefore
an abuse of discretion. He also claims that the
Commission's determination that he would likely re-offend
if released is not supported by the record. For the reasons
set forth below, the Court DENIES Reliford's petition.
facts in this case are not in dispute. Between February 15,
1986, and March 15, 1986, Reliford, who was a United States
Marine, along with two co-defendants conspired to rob and
murder Lance Corporal Hiquiana and his wife. Dkt. 8-1 at 2.
On March 15, 1986, Reliford slashed the Lance Corporal's
throat and strangled his wife prior to slashing her throat.
Dkt. 8-1 at 2. Following the murders, Reliford and his
co- defendants stole items in the apartment valued at
$555.00. Dkt. 8-1 at 2. They also went to a credit union and
withdrew $5, 500.00 from the victims' account. Dkt. 8-1
August 21, 1996, Reliford was convicted of Murder, Conspiracy
to Commit Murder, and Robbery and received a sentence of life
imprisonment by the Navy Court Martial. Dkt. 8-1 at 5-7.
30, 2001, the Commission conducted an initial parole hearing
for Reliford, after which it ordered him to continue his
sentence and set a reconsideration hearing for May 2016. Dkt.
8-1 at 8-9.
National Appeals Board affirmed the Commission's
decision. Dkt. 8-1 at 10.
Commission conducted Statutory Interim Hearings
(“Interim Hearings”) on October 28, 2003, and
January 5, 2009. Following each Interim Hearing, the
Commission ordered no change in the 15-year reconsideration
hearing date of May 2016. Dkt. 8-1 at 11-12.
February 20, 2009, the Commission designated Reliford's
case as Original Jurisdiction. Dkt. 8-1 at 13.
January 4, 2011, the Commission conducted another Interim
Hearing, after which it ordered no change to the 15-year
reconsideration hearing date of May 2016 or the decision to
continue Reliford's sentence to its expiration. Dkt. 8-1
November 14, 2012, and November 13, 2014, the Commission held
two more Interim Hearings and after each ordered no change in
the previous decision. Dkt. 8-1 at 15-16.
November 9, 2015, the Commission conducted a Mandatory Parole
Hearing for Reliford. Dkt. 8-1 at 20-21. Following the
hearing, the Commission denied mandatory parole. Dkt. 8-1 at
20-21. In support of the denial, the Commission cited
Reliford's 11 infractions during his incarceration,
including assault and harassment of staff. Dkt. 8-1 at 20.
The Commission noted that Reliford “attempted to
minimize [his] actions in these 11 infractions and blamed
others.” Dkt. 8-1 at 20. The Commission also considered
the instant offense for which Reliford was incarcerated,
which was the “brutal murder of a fellow U.S. Marine
and his wife in which [Reliford's] co-defendant strangled
and then sliced Mrs. Hiquiana's throat and then
[Reliford] sliced Mr. Hiquiana's throat dropping the
bodies on the apartment floor and they bled to death.”
Dkt. 8-1 at 20. The Commission also noted Reliford's
motivation for murdering and robbing the couple was to
support his “lifestyle of drinking and womanizing in
the city of Okinawa, Japan.” Dkt. 8-1 at 20. Further,
the Commission considered Reliford's hearing testimony,
in which he “attempted to minimize [his] conduct in
these murders by saying [he] only killed Mr. Hiquiana after
[he] watched [his] co-defendant kills [sic] Mrs. Hiquiana and
just went along with him.” Dkt. 8-1 at 20. The
Commission also noted that Reliford declined participation in
programming that would minimize his risk to re-offend. Dkt.
8-1 at 20. Finally, the Commission again alluded to
Reliford's inability to take responsibility for both his
institutional infractions and the murder of the Hiquianas.
Dkt. 8-1 at 20. Given these considerations, the Commission
concluded that Reliford has frequently violated the rules of
the institution and remained a threat to engage in further
criminal activity should he be released on parole. Dkt. 8-1
appealed the Commission's decision and the National
Appeals Board denied his petition for reconsideration on May
20, 2016. Dkt. 8-1 at 22.
argues that the Commission's findings that he is likely
to re-offend and frequently violated institution rules, which
informed the Commission's decision to deny his mandatory
parole, are not supported by ...