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UNITED STATES EX REL. ARNOLD v. ILLINOIS PRISONER

October 5, 1992

UNITED STATES ex rel. SIMON ARNOLD, Petitioner,
v.
ILLINOIS PRISONER REVIEW BOARD, et al., Respondents.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MILTON I. SHADUR

 Simon Arnold ("Arnold") has filed a petition (the "petition") under 28 U.S.C. ยง 2254 against the Illinois Prisoner Review Board (the "Board"). For the reasons stated in this memorandum opinion and order, the Board is ordered to answer the Petition.

 Procedural Background

 On October 18, 1971 Arnold pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and received two concurrent prison sentences of from 20 to 60 years. After he had served a portion of his sentence, Arnold appeared before the Board seeking parole in four consecutive years--1979, 1980, 1981 and 1982. Each time the Board denied parole, stating that "release at this time would deprecate the seriousness of the offense, and would promote disrespect for the law. . . ."

 In the fall of 1982, after Arnold had secured a favorable judgment in a habeas corpus action filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois, the Board scheduled a special rehearing for Arnold and granted him parole release effective December 23, 1982. After completing 35 months of his 36-month parole term, Arnold was arrested for the crime of armed robbery. Although Arnold maintains that he did not commit that crime, he was convicted in the Cook County Circuit Court and sentenced to a 10-year prison term, to run concurrently with his sentences for murder. On October 27, 1987 Arnold again appeared before the Board. Based upon his new conviction, the Board declared Arnold a parole violator as of November 17, 1985.

 Arnold has since completed the armed robbery sentence. In May 1990 and 1991 Arnold again appeared before the Board and was denied parole each time. Arnold does not challenge those determinations in this case. Then on May 27 of this year Arnold appeared before the entire Board for an en banc review of his parole status. At that time the Board once more denied parole, stating these reasons:

 Resident Simon Arnold was afforded a parole consideration hearing before a panel of the Prisoner Review Board at Centralia Correctional where he is serving two 20-60 year concurrent sentences for two counts of murder. Apparently the two victims were shot as result of a drug transaction which went awry. Within six months after having been paroled on the murder conviction parole was violated by a ten year conviction for armed robbery.

 The file reflects significant educational attainment with assignment in the Honor Dorm as well as pragmatic participation. Parole plans were discussed and considered.

 However, despite the positive aspects of the institutional segment of the residents [sic] life the Board continues to be gravely concerned with the loss of human life or in the instant case, two lives. Further, the Board concludes that parole at this time would deprecate the serious nature of the case and would, in fact, promote disrespect for the law.

 Therefore, parole is denied.

 On June 22 Arnold applied to the Board for a rehearing, raising essentially the same claims that he raises in his current Petition. On July 15 the Board denied Arnold's request.

 Arnold's Petition

 Before this Court Arnold raises two claims challenging the Board's most recent denial of parole:

 1. In light of the earlier grant of parole on Arnold's murder convictions, the Board's determination that it "continues to be gravely concerned with the loss of human life or in the instant case, two lives" and that "parole at this time would deprecate the serious nature of the case and would, in fact, promote disrespect for the law" is arbitrary and ...


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