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Hale v. Butts

Court of Appeals of Indiana

November 28, 2017

Bennie Hale, Appellant-Petitioner,
v.
Keith Butts, Appellee-Respondent.

          Appeal from the Henry Circuit Court The Honorable Kit C. Dean Crane, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 33C02-1702-MI-9

          Appellant Pro Se Bennie Hale New Castle, Indiana

          Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana Abigail R. Recker Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          Bailey, Judge.

         Case Summary

         [¶1] Bennie Hale ("Hale") appeals, pro se, the denial of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. We affirm.

         Issues

         [¶2] Hale raises four issues on appeal, which we consolidate and restate as follows:

         I. Whether the trial court erroneously treated his petition for a writ of habeas corpus as one for post-conviction relief.

         II. Whether the trial court erred in denying his petition for a writ of habeas corpus.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶3] On May 11, 2010, Hale was sentenced to twelve years in the Indiana Department of Correction ("DOC") for his convictions of unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, a Class B felony, [1] and criminal confinement, as a Class B felony.[2] On November 14, 2014, Hale signed a Conditional Parole Release Agreement in which he agreed, among other things, not to "engage in conduct prohibited by federal or state law or local ordinance." State's App. at 42. On November 27, Indiana released Hale on parole. That same day, authorities from Hillsborough County, Florida, "picked up" Hale for an outstanding warrant in Florida. Id. at 24. A Florida court subsequently found Hale guilty of grand theft, a second degree felony.[3] On January 5, 2015, the Florida court resolved Hale's grand theft case by an order to pay court costs, with time served. The court released Hale on his own recognizance, and he remained in Florida.

         [¶4] On January 26, April 2, and September 3, 2015, Indiana submitted to Florida Interstate Compact Offender Tracking System ("ICOTS") requests to transfer Hale back to Indiana, but Florida denied those requests. On September 3, 2015, Indiana parole authorities directed Hale to return to Indiana and report to them for a meeting on September 28. However, on September 9, police in Hillsborough County, Florida, once again arrested Hale, this time for possession of a firearm by a felon, a second degree felony.[4] On that same date, the Indiana Division of Parole Services reported to the Indiana Parole Board that Hale had violated the terms of his parole by engaging in criminal conduct in Florida, and Indiana issued a "warrant for retaking offender" due to alleged parole violation. State's App. at 24-26. On November 17, 2015, Indiana submitted to Florida a "Warrant of Rendition for the return of Bennie Hale to the State of Indiana" and accompanying documentation. Id. at 14.

         [¶5] Hale was convicted of the charges in Florida, and, on December 1, 2015, a Florida court sentenced Hale to one year and six months in the Florida Department of Correction. On December 17, 2016, Hale completed his Florida sentence and was released. That same day, Indiana authorities detained Hale in Florida and returned him to Indiana. On January 12, 2017, the Indiana Parole Board held a revocation hearing, and Hale admitted to violating his parole by committing a crime. The parole board revoked Hale's parole and ordered him to serve the remainder of his sentence for his 2010 Indiana convictions.

         [¶6] On February 14, 2017, Hale filed in the Henry County Circuit Court a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, alleging that he was being illegally detained in that Indiana had "relinquished custody" of him to the State of Florida on November 27, 2014. State's App. at 5. The State filed a motion for summary disposition on March 16 and, on March 20, the trial court denied Hale's petition and granted the State's motion. In doing so, the trial court entered the following findings:

1. The Court construes Hale's petition as a petition for post-conviction relief. Hardley v. State, 893 N.E.2d 740, 743 (Ind.Ct.App. 2008) (explaining that a challenge to the revocation of parole is a petition for post-conviction relief).
2. An action for post-conviction relief may be decided by summary disposition on the pleadings. Rule 1, §§ 4(1) and 4(g), Indiana Rules of Procedure for Post-Conviction Remedies; Diaz v. ...

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