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Winfrey v. Missouri Board of Probation and Parole

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Third Division

May 30, 2017

DANIEL WINFREY, Appellant,
v.
MISSOURI BOARD OF PROBATION AND PAROLE, ET AL., Respondents.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cole County, Missouri The Honorable Daniel Richard Green, Judge

          Before Anthony Rex Gabbert, Presiding Judge, Victor Howard, Judge, Cynthia L. Martin, Judge

          OPINION

          Anthony Rex Gabbert, Judge.

         Introduction

         Daniel Winfrey ("Winfrey") appeals the decision by the Cole County Circuit Court ("circuit court") granting Respondents' motion for summary judgment and denying both Winfrey's petition for declaratory judgment and motion for preliminary injunction. In his pursuit of a motion for preliminary injunction and his request for declaratory judgment, Winfrey alleged that the Board of Probation and Parole erroneously interpreted Section 589.040[1] and asked the circuit court to declare Winfrey's completion of a Colorado sex offender program qualifies him for parole release. Additionally, Winfrey asked the circuit court to grant a preliminary injunction directing Respondents to provide Winfrey with an immediate parole hearing. The circuit court denied both of these requests and instead granted Respondents' motion for summary judgment. On appeal, Winfrey argues that the circuit court's granting of Respondents' motion for summary judgment was clearly erroneous because: (1) Winfrey's successful completion of the Colorado Sex Offender Program is sufficient to satisfy the requirements of Section 589.040, there is factual evidence in the record that this misinterpretation of the statute was the only actual basis for denying Winfrey's parole, and the Missouri Board of Probation and Parole's ("the Board") stated reasons for denial of parole are pretextual, arbitrary, capricious and an abuse of discretion; (2) the circuit court's granting of Respondents' motion for summary judgment was clearly erroneous because Respondents' refusal to treat Winfrey's successful completion of the Colorado Sex Offender program as sufficient to satisfy the requirement of Section 589.040 is in violation of Section 217.535.4 in that it deprived Winfrey of a legal right which he would have had if confined in an appropriate institution of the sending state, and; (3) even if the factual evidence in the record demonstrates that the Board actually employed a discretionary and authorized denial of Winfrey's parole release, Respondents' refusal to grant Winfrey credit for the completion of the Colorado Sex Offender program as sufficient to satisfy Section 589.040 and Respondents' refusal to provide Winfrey an opportunity to complete Missouri Sexual Offender Program ("MOSOP") is in violation of Winfrey's rights under Section 217.535.4. We affirm.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         On or about September 30, 1992, Winfrey pleaded guilty in the Circuit Court of St. Louis City to two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of forcible rape, three counts of felonious restraint, and one count of first degree of assault. On or about April 16, 1993, Winfrey was sentenced to concurrent terms of imprisonment totaling thirty years. Winfrey served the majority of his Missouri sentence in a Colorado Department of Corrections facility under the Interstate Compact Agreement. Winfrey was transferred to the Colorado Department of Corrections on or about August, 1993. While incarcerated in the Colorado Department of Corrections, Winfrey completed a Sex Offender Program mandated by the state of Colorado. Winfrey was returned to the Missouri Department of Corrections on May 31, 2007 and was released on parole supervision by the Board on June 4, 2007.

         On June 28, 2011, Winfrey was returned to Department of Corrections following reports of parole violations for drug use and unpermitted out-of-state travel. On October 13, 2011, Winfrey was re-paroled following the completion of a drug treatment program. On January 2, 2013, Winfrey's parole was again revoked for possession or use of controlled substances, failing to follow the terms of his parole, and failing to complete an outpatient sex offender program.

         The Board held a hearing on June 19, 2013 to consider granting Winfrey parole, but concluded that based on his poor field supervision history, there was "a lack of reasonable probability that he would live and remain at liberty without violating the law." The Board also informed Winfrey that he had not completed a Missouri Department of Corrections ('MDOC") approved MOSOP[2] program and would not be eligible for parole consideration until he completed an approved program. Winfrey was given a one year setback for parole release reconsideration.

          After Winfrey's initial parole release in 2007, the MDOC changed its interpretation of Section 589.040, specifically, what rehabilitation programs satisfy the requirements in subsection 1. The MDOC's updated interpretation requires the completion of a Missouri Sex Offender Program and no longer accepts out of state programs to satisfy Section 589.040.2[3]. After his June 2013 hearing, Winfrey sent a letter seeking clarification on the requirement that he complete MOSOP. In this letter, Winfrey explained that he had already completed the Colorado Sex Offender Program. In August of 2013, Winfrey received a reply from the District Administrator of the Farmington Correctional Center explaining that "sex offender treatment in another State no longer meets the requirement to statutorily complete MOSOP before parole release."

         On October 14, 2013, Winfrey sent a follow-up letter to Dr. Markway with the MOSOP treatment team. Winfrey received a response from a mental health contract monitor, Mr. Scott O'Kelley. In his letter, O'Kelley explained that while the language of Section 589.040.1 had not changed, the interpretation by the DOC had changed so that "[A]ll persons imprisoned by the Department of Corrections for sexual assault offenses must complete a sex offender program developed by the director of (Missouri) Department of Corrections."

         On June 8, 2014, Winfrey was granted a second parole hearing and was again denied parole. As the basis for its decision to deny Winfrey release, the Board cited that, "there does not appear to be a reasonable probability at this time that the offender would live and remain at liberty without again violating the law based on: A. Poor field supervision history." This decision is dated August 27, 2014. Winfrey is scheduled for reconsideration in June of 2018.

         On April 25, 2016, Winfrey filed a petition for declaratory Judgment in the circuit court seeking a declaration of his rights and injunctive relief. In these motions, Winfrey presented that his remedy at law for the Board's erroneous interpretation and application of Section 589.040 is inadequate and he therefore was in need of temporary relief from the irreparable injury of being denied parole release. On June 3, 2016, the Board filed a motion for summary judgment and a proposed Decision, Judgment and Order, arguing that there were no genuinely disputed issues of material fact and that Respondents should prevail as a matter of law. On August 22, 2016, the circuit court denied Winfrey's request for an evidentiary hearing and for injunctive relief and granted Respondents' motion for summary judgment. This appeal follows.

         Standard ...


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