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Shannon v. Minnesota Department of Corrections

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

June 4, 2019

James P. Shannon, Petitioner,
v.
Minnesota Department of Corrections, et al., Respondents.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Hon. Leo I. Brisbois United States Magistrate Judge

         This matter comes before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to a general referral in accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636 and Local Rule 72.1, as well as, upon Petitioner James P. Shannon's Amended Petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, [Docket No. 6], and Respondent's Motion to Dismiss. [Docket No. 14].

         I. Background

         On March 10, 1989, a jury convicted Petitioner of First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct for the rape of an adult female, and he was sentence to a ninety (90) month term of imprisonment. (May 15, 2006, Finding of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order of Commitment [Docket No. 16], at 10]). On September 23, 1996, Petitioner plead guilty to the May 24, 1996, rape of an adult female while he was on supervised release from his previous conviction, and on December 5, 1996, Petitioner was sentenced to a 153-month term of imprisonment. (Id. at 12-13). On April 1, 1997, after the entry of a guilty plea in Federal Court for being in possession of a stolen firearm during the 1996 rape, Petitioner was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 120-months. (Id. at 13).

         On September 19, 2005, before Petitioner was set to be paroled from state prison, a petition was filed seeking to commit Shannon as a “sexual psychopathic personality” and a “sexual dangerous person.” (Id. at 3). Shannon was subsequently released from state prison to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons to serve the remaining two-months of his federal sentence before the beginning of his supervised release. (Id. at 4).

         On December 16, 2005, Petitioner was ordered to be held at the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (hereinafter “MSOP”) facility at St. Peter, Minnesota pending the issuance of the state court “order committing or releasing Shannon after” his civil commitment hearing. (Id. at 4). However, on January 3, 2006, Petitioner was arrested at the MSOP for an incident occurring at the MSOP, and based on that incident, the Minnesota Department of Corrections instituted proceedings to revoke Petitioner's supervised release. (Id. at 4). On January 19, 2006, the Minnesota Department of Corrections revoked Petitioner's “supervise release and ordered that he be returned to prison.” (Id. at 4).

         On May 15, 2006, Petitioner was committed to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program as a Sexually Dangerous Person on an intermittent basis. (Id. at 38). The commitment order specifically noted that Shannon would remain in the custody of the Minnesota Department of Corrections until released by that agency and that the commitment would not become final until after a statutory review hearing which would not be held until after Shannon was released from prison to be returned to the MSOP.

         Shannon was released from custody of the Minnesota Department of Corrections and returned to the MSOP on July 9, 2008. (Order for Indeterminate Commitment as a Sexually Dangerous Person, [Docket No. 16], at 39). A hearing regarding Shannon's civil commitment was held on October 28, 2008, at which he appeared and testified. (Id. at 40).

         On November 18, 2008, the state court issued an order committing Shannon “to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program as a Sexually Dangerous Person for an indeterminate period of time.” (Id. at 45). Shannon appealed that November 18, 2008, civil commitment Order to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

         Shannon was represented by counsel in his appeal of the November 18, 2018, civil commitment Order. In his appeal, Shannon argued that the evidence as a whole did not support his commitment and that the statutes governing his civil commitment were unconstitutional as applied to him. Specifically, Shannon argued that the statutes governing his civil commitment violated his substantive due process rights because they were not narrowly tailored to serve a compelling state interest, violated his rights to equal protection under the laws because he was “singled out among other criminal offenders for special treatment under Minnesota law” due to his designation as a sex offender, were void for vagueness, constituted circumstance of double jeopardy, and violated his right to a jury trial. (Appeal Brief, [Docket No. 16], at 68-95).

         On January 14, 2008, the Minnesota Department of Corrections revoked Shannon's parole due to his “[f]ailure to refrain from assaultive, abusive, or violent behavior or threats of violence” while at the MSOP. (MN DOC Review, [Docket No. 16], at 176). Ultimately, it was decided that Shannon's parole would be revoked and his incarceration with the Minnesota Department of Corrections would be extended until its expiration on June 26, 2018. (Id. at 176, 189).[1]

         On May 9, 2009, the Minnesota Court of Appeals issued an unpublished opinion affirming Shannon's civil commitment for an indeterminate length of time. In re Civil Commitment of Shannon, No. A09-0070, 2009 WL 1375988, at *1 (Minn.Ct.App. May 19, 2009). In affirming Shannon's civil commitment, the Minnesota Court of Appeals specifically addressed and rejected each of Shannon's constitutional arguments noting that each argument had previously been rejected by controlling case law. See, Id.

         Shannon subsequently petitioned the Minnesota Supreme Court for discretionary review. In his Petitioner for Review, Shannon raised three constitutional arguments-specifically, “whether Minnesota's commitment process is in violation of the due process, equal protection and double jeopardy provisions of the United States Constitution.” (Pet. for Review to Minn. Supreme Ct., [Docket No. 16], at 154).

         On July 22, 2009, the Minnesota Supreme Court denied Shannon's petition for discretionary review. (Order, [Docket No. 16], at 159).

         On May 1, 2015, while he was in the custody of the Minnesota Department of Corrections, Shannon filed a pro se Notice of Motion and Motion, as well as, documentation in support of said Motion in the Hennepin County District Court in his civil commitment case. (Notice of Motion and Motion, [Docket No. 16], at 163-180). In that Motion, Shannon sought “immediate release . . . due to violation of due process of law and [to] correct manifest injustice due to breach of promise.” (Id. at 165). Shannon asserted that he was warranted “immediate release” because he was not present at all proceedings which constitutes a violation of his due process rights and because his guilty plea was involuntary which constitutes a breach of promise. (Id.). Essentially, Shannon sought an order of the court releasing him from the custody of the Minnesota Department of Corrections and allowing him to withdraw his guilty plea. (See, Id.).

         On July 31, 2015, the Hennepin County District Court Judge issued an Order denying the relief requested in Shannon's pro se Motion. (Order, [Docket No. 16], at 184). The Order noted that Shannon's Motion was being denied because he sought relief in his criminal case, and therefore, the civil court in which Shannon was civilly committed was not the correct jurisdiction to seek such relief. (Id.).

         On February 2, 2016, Shannon filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in Hennepin County District Court making assertions substantially similar to his May 1, 2015, Motion. (See, Pet., [Docket No. 16], at 185-191). Shannon appears to have again been seeking immediately release from the Minnesota Department of Corrections. (See, Id.).

         However, on February 3, 2016, Hennepin County District Court Judge Jamie Anderson issued an Order denying Shannon's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus. (Order, [Docket No. 16], at 212). The Order noted that Shannon's Petition, like his previous one, was being denied because he sought relief in his criminal case, and therefore, the civil court in ...


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