Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (No. 95cv00188)
Before: Silberman, Randolph, and Tatel, Circuit Judges.
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT
An opinion for the Court filed by Circuit Judge Tatel accompanies this order.
CERTIFICATION OF QUESTION OF LAW by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals pursuant to D.C. Code Section(s) 11-723
On March 26, 1996, we heard oral argument in United States Parole Commission v. Matthew Noble, No. 95-5229. Determinative of the appeal is a significant question of District of Columbia law as to which there is no controlling precedent in the decisions of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. We therefore certify to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals the following question:
Under District of Columbia law, given the facts described below, did the United States Parole Commission properly interpret sections 24-206(a) and 24-431(a) of the District of Columbia Code in deciding that, after revocation of a person's parole, time that the person spent on parole before revocation cannot be credited against his sentence?
The facts relevant to the certified question are as follows. Appellee Matthew Noble, having been convicted under both federal and District of Columbia law, is serving a term of parole under the supervision of the U.S. Parole Commission. Noble seeks credit for 1,479 days he previously served on parole for his District of Columbia sentence before his parole was revoked.
Noble was convicted in federal district court on December 5, 1978 of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance in violation of 21 U.S.C. Section(s) 841(a) and was sentenced to three years of probation. On May 18, 1981, his probation was revoked, and he was sentenced to federal prison for a term of one year and a day and a parole term of two years. Noble was released from prison and began serving parole on December 18, 1981. After violating the terms of his parole, Noble was reincarcerated in a federal institution on March 19, 1983. He was once again released on parole on September 21, 1984.
While serving parole for his federal offense, Noble was convicted in District of Columbia Superior Court for unlawfully distributing a controlled substance, in violation of D.C. Code Section(s) 33-541, and was sentenced on September 13, 1985 to a prison term of seven and one-half years. Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section(s) 4161 and 4205, the United States Bureau of Prisons aggregated Noble's District of Columbia sentence and the remainder of his federal parole term to a sentence of 110 months and seven days, with ninety months deemed a local District of Columbia sentence.
Noble was released on parole in March 1988 with 2,197 days left to be served. He tested positive for drugs in May 1993. The U.S. Parole Commission revoked Noble's parole on December 1, 1993, refusing to credit him for the 1,902 days that he had served on parole. Noble was resentenced to prison and was later reparoled on October 7, 1994 with 1,597 days left to be served. Although this final portion of Noble's sentence pertained to his offense under District of Columbia law, not his federal conviction, Noble remained under the supervision of the U.S. Parole Commission in accordance with D.C. Code Section(s) 24-206(b) and 24-209. Noble filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. 2241 in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, seeking credit under D.C. Code Section(s) 24-431(a) for the 1,479 days he served on parole from March 11, 1988 until May 28, 1993, a portion of his sentence related to his D.C. Code violation. Granting his petition, the district court ruled that section 24-431(a) of the D.C. Code authorizes credit for time served on parole even for a person whose ...