AELE LAW LIBRARY OF CASE SUMMARIES:
Corrections Law for
Jails, Prisons and Detention Facilities
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An intermediate California appeals court issued an order to show cause on a
prisoner’s claim that he was denied due process of law when he was not released
at the conclusion of a prison-reduction procedure developed pursuant to the
order of the three-judge federal court concerned with overcrowding. He argued
that the Board of Prison Hearings should have granted him parole as a non-violent,
non-sex-registrant second-strike (NVSS) inmate. The federal court order was
issued in a prison class action litigation after the court found that
California state prisoners' federal constitutional rights had been violated as
a result of overcrowding, and after the court found that a prison release order
was the only relief capable of remedying the constitutional deficiencies.
Further, it was issued after the United States Supreme Court affirmed those
rulings, after the three-judge court issued its remedial order in reliance on
the state defendants' representation and agreement that they would develop
comprehensive and sustainable prison population-reduction reforms, and after
the state defendants agreed not to contest the remedial order. The appeals court
concluded that, because the Board's decision involved a constitutionally
protected liberty interest, the plaintiff was entitled to judicial review
of the decision. It also concluded that the record of what was presented to the
Board during the review process contained some evidence to support the decision
not to grant parole, so the prisoner’s due process rights were not violated.
The appeals court considered the prisoner’s petition on its merits and denied
it. The prisoner was
serving a sentence for being a felon in possession of a firearm with a gang
enhancement, and therefore posed an unreasonable risk to public safety. His
history of violent conduct included battery, burglary, two robberies, and
stockpiling guns and ammunition. In re Ilasa, #D069629, 3 Cal. App. 5th 489,
208 Cal. Rptr. 3d 17, 2016 Cal. App. Lexis 779.
prisoner claimed that he had been granted parole but that it was rescinded
because he was facing pending disciplinary charges and had been placed in a
restrictive housing unit as a result. He claimed that these actions were
retaliatory for having filed a grievance against an officer. These actions did
not violate his due process rights because the misconduct determinations, his
time placed in the restrictive housing unit, and his parole recission, did not,
either alone or in combination, create an atypical and significant hardship in
relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life. But the prisoner did
adequately allege a retaliation claim against a particular officer by claiming
that when he refused to confess to a particular charge and instead filed a
grievance against this officer, he was placed in administrative custody in
retaliation. Fantone v. Latini, #13-3611, 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 2470 (3rd Cir.).
D.C. prisoners who were
convicted of criminal acts committed before March 3, 1985 sued parole
officials, claiming that they violated the Ex Post Facto Clause of the
Constitution by applying to their cases parole guidelines that were issued in
2000, instead of the 1972 parole guidelines that were in effect at the time of
their offenses. A federal appeals court reversed the dismissal of the lawsuit,
finding that the plaintiffs had plausibly alleged that the application of the
later guidelines created a "significant risk" that their incarceration
would be prolonged. Daniel v. Fulwood, #12-5327, 766 F.3d 57 (D.C. Cir. 2014).
In a class action lawsuit by disabled state
prisoners and parolees, the state of California challenged a 2012 order
modifying an earlier injunction, ordering the state to take specified actions
to make sure that disabled inmates were given needed accommodations. The
appeals court rejected arguments that the injunction was issued without giving
it adequate notice of opportunity to respond. While a state statute had altered
the balance of power between the state and its counties somewhat, it did not
absolve the state of all of its disability discrimination obligations as to
disabled parolees placed in county jails to serve state-imposed sentences. The
modified injunction also did not violate the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 18
U.S.C. Sec. 3626. Armstrong v. Brown, #12-17103, 732 F.3d 955 (9th Cir. 2014).
A $1.925 million settlement has been reached in a
case in which an atheist parolee was jailed after he complained about being
compelled to participate in a faith-based drug rehab program that violated his
beliefs. He served a year in prison on a narcotics conviction and was initially
released on parole, but had that parole revoked following his complaints to parole
officials about having to participate in a drug recovery program that would
require him to acknowledge the existence of a "higher power." His
lawsuit, filed after serving an additional three months in prison, sought
damages from both the California Department of Corrections and the private
substance abuse firm the state contracted with to carry out drug treatment
programs for parolees. The state will pay the plaintiff $1 million under the
settlement, while the private firm will pay $925,000. The California Department
of Corrections also issued a directive that parolees who object to faith-based
treatment programs should be referred to nonreligious programs. Hazle v.
Crofoot, #2:08-cv-02295, U.S. Dist. Court, (E.D. Calif. Oct. 14, 2014). In a
federal appeals court case prior to the settlement, Hazle v. Crofoot,
#11-15354, 727 F.3d 983 (9th Cir. 2013), the court held that the plaintiff was
entitled to compensatory damages because his First Amendment rights to
religious freedom were violated when his parole was revoked because he refused
to participate in the residential drug treatment program. He should have been
granted a new trial after a jury awarded him nothing, the court ruled.
A Michigan prisoner was sentenced to life
imprisonment without possibility of parole for drug offenses. At the time of
his arrest, he was 17 years and 10 months old and he was 18 years and 7 months
old when sentenced. A Michigan Supreme Court decision later held that life
without parole for simple drug possession was unconstitutional. The prisoner
was denied parole at his first opportunity, and in 2012, the Parole Board
indicated that it had no interest in taking action on his case then, scheduling
his next interview for 2017. A federal appeals court rejected a claim that the parole
consideration process failed to provide him with a meaningful opportunity to
obtain his release in violation of due process, but allowed him to proceed with
his claim that his Eighth Amendment rights were violated, since the trial court
had failed to take into account his youth at the time of his arrest. Wershe v.
Combs, #13-1209, 763 F.3d 500 (6th Cir. 2014).
A former Iowa prisoner claimed that the Parole Board
and State violated his constitutional rights based on a failure to conduct
annual in-person interviews as to whether to grant parole. This claim was
barred, a federal appeals court held, due to the plaintiff's failure to exhaust
available administrative remedies before suing. Martin v. State of Iowa,
#12-3714, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 9200 (8th Cir.).
A paroled sex offender filed a federal civil
rights lawsuit challenging two conditions of his parole: a residency
restriction and a requirement that he submit to aq type of electronic
monitoring incorporating a GPS device. A federal appeals court held that the
fact that his conviction or sentence had not been overturned or set aside did
not bar his federal civil rights lawsuit because it was not a collateral attack
on either the fact of his confinement as a parolee or on his underlying conviction
or sentence. He only challenged two parole conditions, both of which were
imposed through an exercise of discretion. His success in the lawsuit would not
result in a speedier release from parole, nor would it imply the invalidity of
his conviction. Thornton v. Brown, #11-56146, 724 F.3d 1255 (9th Cir. 2013).
The California Department of Corrections
was statutorily immune under state law from a lawsuit for damages stemming from
the alleged erroneous revocation of parole. The plaintiff could not pursue his
false imprisonment claim on the basis of his detention on a supposed parole
violation after his parole had already expired. Torres v. Department of
Corrections and Rehabilitation, #B242586, 2013 Cal. App. Lexis 526.
A number of plaintiffs claimed that they had been
the victims of a $60 million fraudulent Ponzi investment scheme masterminded by
a Utah prisoner out on parole, causing them to lose $27 million. The conditions
of his parole prohibited him from leaving the state, handling other people's
money, or being self-employed. A lawsuit against the state of Utah claimed that
inadequate supervision of the parolee had allowed him to travel extensively and
operate a multi-state real estate investment Ponzi scheme. The Utah Supreme
Court found that the state was immune from liability for injuries arising out
of deceit and that the dismissal of the lawsuit on the basis of governmental
immunity was timely. Van De Grift v. State Court, #20110994, 2013 UT 11, 2013
Utah Lexis 12, 729 Utah Adv.
New York state prisoners claimed that there was
an unwritten policy of denying parole to all those convicted of violent
felonies and that this violated their due process and equal protection rights.
The court ruled that New York state law did not create any legitimate
expectancy of parole, so the prisoners had no protected liberty interest in
being granted parole. A policy of taking into account the severity of the crime
committed when making parole decisions was neither arbitrary nor capricious.
There was a "self-evident" rational basis for a distinction in parole
determinations between violent and nonviolent offenders. Violent offenders may
pose a greater danger to public safety. Graziano v. Pataki, #11–116, 2012 U.S.
App. Lexis 16147 (2nd Cir.).
Virginia state law created a limited protected
interest in being considered for parole but not in release on parole. A federal
appeals court rejected the claim of eleven inmates serving sentences for
violent offenses that their due process and ex post facto rights were violated
by a supposed unwritten policy of denying prisoners like them parole. The
parole board could consistently decide to exercise its discretion to deny
parole to prisoners convicted of violent offenses without violating their
rights. Burnette v. Fahey, #11-1324, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 13925 (4th Cir.).
The U.S. Supreme Court held that mandatory life
sentences without the possibility of parole for juvenile murderers violated the
Eighth Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. The ruling came
in two consolidated cases of juveniles given such sentences after being
convicted of murder at the age of 14. Miller v. Alabama, #10-9646, 2012 U.S.
A parole board voted to deny parole to a prisoner
serving a sentence for the second-degree murder of a police officer. He sued
the board members for violating his civil rights. The court found that the
denial did not violate his procedural or substantive due process rights. There
is no federal constitutionally protected liberty interest in receiving parole
unless the language of a state statute creates an entitlement to parole once
statutory conditions are satisfied. It was not arbitrary, shocking, or
unreasonable for the board members to exercise their discretion to take into
account the special interests of law enforcement. No violation of his right to
equal protection of law was shown even if it were true, as he claimed, that his
application for parole was given less favorable consideration because the
victim of his crime was a police officer. He had not shown that the board had a
policy of permanently barring parole to all prisoners whose victims were police
officers. Jimenez v. Conrad, #11-1180, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 9051 (1st Cir.).
The U.S. Supreme Court overturned a federal appeals
court ruling ordering California officials to grant parole to an inmate
convicted of attempted murder. The Court held that "there is no right
under the federal Constitution to be conditionally released before the
expiration of a valid sentence, and the states are under no duty to offer
parole to their prisoners." The "responsibility for assuring that the
constitutionally adequate procedures governing California's parole system are
properly applied rests with California courts, and is no part of the Ninth
Circuit’s business." Swarthout v. Cooke, #10–333, 2011 U.S. Lexis 486
A class action lawsuit brought by California
life-term prisoners asserted that Proposition 9, the "Victims' Bill of
Rights Act of 2008: Marsy's Law," which modified the availability and
frequency of parole hearings, violated their constitutional rights,
specifically the Ex Post Facto Clause, which prohibits the retroactive
enhancement of punishment. Overturning a trial court's injunction against the
law's enforcement as an abuse of discretion, a federal appeals court found that
the mechanism allowing prisoners to request advance hearings provided for by
the statute was sufficient to reduce any risk that the prisoners would
improperly be subjected to increased punishment. Gilman v. Schwarzenegger,
#10-15471, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 24842 (9th Cir.).
The State of California has reached a $20 million
settlement with Jaycee Dugard, who was kidnapped in 1991 at age 11 and found in
August of 2009 living in a shed in the backyard of Phillip Garrido, a
registered sex offender who had been on parole since January of 1988. Garrido
allegedly fathered two children with her, and he and his wife have been charged
with 29 felonies in connection with the woman's captivity. The state attorney
general's office issued a report stating that the state Department of
Corrections and Rehabilitation failed to properly keep tabs on Garrido or
properly supervise the officers assigned to his case. "While it is true
that Garrido's California parole was never officially violated, our review
shows that Garrido committed numerous parole violations and that the department
failed to properly supervise Garrido and missed numerous opportunities to
discover his victims." The report also indicates that, at one point, parole
officers visiting Garrido actually spoke to Dugard and one of her daughters,
but failed to investigate their identities or their relationship to the
parolee. The settlement will go to the woman, now 30, and her daughters.
Wisconsin's parole system is "completely
discretionary," so that the plaintiff prisoner had no liberty interest
concerning being eligible for parole, and could not pursue a procedural due
process claim based on an alleged informal policy of not paroling sex offenders
until they had completed a sex offender treatment program. The prisoner claimed
that he had, in fact, finished such a program, but that the certificate of that
completion was removed from his records after he angered the directors of the
program, and therefore could not be granted a parole hearing. The appeals court
also found that the conduct alleged, even if true, did not shock the
conscience, as required for a substantive due process claim. Bartley v.
Wisconsin Dept. of Corrections, No. 07-2059, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 28430 (7th
An Arkansas prisoner had no constitutionally
protected liberty interest in the possibility of parole after the parole board
reviewed its prior favorable decision, and therefore was not entitled to due
process. A federal appeals court rejected the prisoner's argument that the
parole board violated his due process rights when they failed to give him
notice or the opportunity to participate in a hearing before they rescinded
their prior decision to grant him parole. Hamilton v. Brownlee, No. 06-2304,
2007 U.S. App. Lexis 13567 (8th Cir.).
Members of Missouri parole board were entitled to
absolute immunity in lawsuit by former inmate claiming that they violated his
due process and equal protection rights in imposing conditions of parole,
including participation in a treatment program for sex offenders, despite his
claim that he had been improperly classified as a sex offender. Mayorga v.
Missouri, No. 05-2762, 442 F.3d 1128 (8th Cir. 2006). [N/R]
A prisoner serving a life sentence has no
constitutionally protected liberty or property interest in a chance to be
granted parole, so that a state does not violate his rights by failing to grant
him a hearing on any of the factual issues involved in parole. Grennier v.
Frank, No. 05-3964, 453 F.3d 442 (7th Cir. 2006) [N/R]
A parolee's right to confront witnesses against
him in his parole revocation hearing was not violated by the admission into
evidence of two urinalysis lab reports concerning possible drug use, when the
reports were certified, which ensured that they were reliable. At the hearing,
his parole was revoked and then restored upon the condition that he complete a
mandatory drug treatment program. Nieblas v. New York State Bd. of Parole, 813
N.Y.S.2d 271 (A.D. 3rd Dept. 2006). [N/R]
Prisoner's claim that officials violated his due
process rights by requiring him to agree to take anti-psychotic medications
specified by a program coordinator of a sex offender treatment program as a
condition of parole was not frivolous, and should not have been dismissed on
that basis. The prisoner stated a possible claim for infringement on his
liberty interest in avoiding the unwanted administration of anti-psychotic
medications. Bundy v. Stommel, No. 05-1099, 168 Fed. Appx. 870 (10th Cir.
Parole Board members were entitled to absolute
immunity on female prisoner's claim that she was unlawfully incarcerated on her
previously suspended sentence after they revoked her parole. Warden of prison
was also entitled to absolute immunity when her reincarceration was based on
facially valid orders of the trial court and Parole Board. Figg v. Russell, No.
05-1249, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 131 (8th Cir.). [2006 JB Feb]
Prisoner could pursue constitutional due process
claim that his rights were violated by parole officials conducting a parole
hearing via "techno screen" rather than in person, if success on this
claim would not necessarily require his speedier or immediate release. Yourdon
v. Johnson, No 02-0003, 128 Fed. Appx. 833 (2nd Cir. 2005). [N/R]
A parole violator who was confined at a New York
state drug treatment campus was a "prisoner" subject to the
requirement in the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1997e,
requiring him to exhaust available administrative remedies before pursuing a
federal civil rights lawsuit against the county, sheriff, and correctional
officers. Summary judgment was therefore properly granted to the defendants
based on his failure to comply with this requirement before pursuing his lawsuit.
Ruggiero v. County of Orange, No. 03 CIV. 1396, 386 F. Supp. 2d 434 (S.D.N.Y.
D.C. prisoner denied parole by federal Parole
Commission failed to establish a violation of his federal civil rights or
unlawfully arbitrary action in denying him a representative at his parole
hearing under rules which did not apply equally to federal prisoners seeking
parole. Settles v. US Parole Comm'n, No. 03-5368, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 24018
(D.C. Cir.). [2005 JB Dec]
California parole agents and other defendants
were immune from liability for detainee's incarceration in county jail for 25
days based on mistaken identity under state statute which provides immunity for
both public agencies and employees for claims arising out of determinations as to
whether to parole or release a prisoner. Perez-Torres v. State, No. B179327, 33
Cal. Rptr. 3d 227 (Cal. App. 2nd Dist. 2005). [N/R]
Pennsylvania prisoner's federal civil rights
claim for damages from court officials for allegedly mishandling his appeal of
the revocation of his parole could not be pursued under the rule established in
Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), until and unless his allegedly
unconstitutional imprisonment for parole violation had been overturned. Thomas
v. Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, No. CIV 1:CV050623, 375 F. Supp. 2d 406
(M.D. Pa. 2005). [N/R]
A Pennsylvania inmate could properly pursue his
claim that his First Amendment rights were violated by a state parole procedure
requiring him to attend a drug program based on religion and a belief in a
higher power through a federal civil rights lawsuit. Should he succeed in
proving his claim, this would not have shown the invalidity of either his
confinement or its duration, but merely demonstrate that the parole board used
unlawful factors in making a parole determination, and would have required
merely a reconsideration of his parole rather than his immediate release.
Accordingly, his claims were not barred under the principles set forth in
Wilkinson v. Dotson, No. 03-287, 125 S. Ct. 1242 (2005), stating that a federal
civil rights action concerning the unconstitutionality of state parole
procedures may not be pursued under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983 if "success in
that action would necessarily demonstrate the invalidity of confinement or its
duration." Nelson v. Horn, No. 03-2284, 138 Fed. Appx. 411 (3rd Cir.
Parole officials were not entitled to absolute
immunity for allegedly refusing to investigate a parolee's claim that the
revocation of his probation had been overturned, and that therefore he should
not be on parole. Dawson v. Newman, No. 04-2894, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 17487
(7th Cir.). [2005 JB Oct]
Michigan law allowing prosecutors and crime
victims to file appeals from decisions granting prisoners parole did not
violate an inmate's right to equal protection, despite the fact that prisoners
were not granted any equivalent right to appeal from denials of parole. Jackson
v. Jamrog, No. 02-2057 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 10035 (6th Cir.). [2005 JB Jul]
Parole Board properly refused to credit a parole
violator with the time he spent in an in-patient drug and alcohol treatment
facility against the maximum term of his sentence. Although his participation
in the program was a condition of parole, residents of the program were not
kept there against their will and the program's policy was not to stop anyone
from leaving. Accordingly, the time spent there was not
"confinement." Willis v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole,
842 A.2d 490 (Pa. Cmwlth 2004). [N/R] Inmate of
halfway house had no due process right to a disciplinary hearing before a
facility employee reported his alleged violations of the conditions of his
parole to parole authorities. Malena v. Richard, No. 04-10663, 117 Fed. Appx.
355 (5th Cir. 2004). [N/R]
Kansas state regulation imposing a $25 monthly
supervision fee on parolees and prison officials' deduction of that amount from
prisoner's inmate account did not violate due process rights under the Fifth or
Fourteenth Amendment. Taylor v. Sebelius, No. CIV.A. 04-3063, 350 F. Supp. 2d
888 (D. Kan. 2004).[N/R]
U.S. Supreme Court rules that prisoners could
challenge state parole procedures through a federal civil rights lawsuit, and
were not required to instead seek habeas corpus relief, when success in their
challenge would not directly result in their release from custody. Wilkinson v.
Dotson, 03-287, 2005 U.S. Lexis 2204. [2005 JB Apr]
Requirement that a prisoner participate in
Narcotics Anonymous, a 12-step program requiring acknowledgment of a belief in
a "higher power," or else not be eligible for parole, was an
unconstitutional establishment of religion, in violation of the First
Amendment. Turner v. Hickman, No. CIVS-99-1869, 342 F. Supp. 2d 887 (E.D. Cal.
2004). [2005 JB Mar]
The failure of the Parole Board to revoke an
offender's parole after he pled guilty to burglary was not a violation of his
civil rights or an abuse of discretion. The offender argued that the failure to
revoke his parole resulted in him being free and subsequently committing
another crime for which he was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment, and he
argued that he would not have committed that crime or received that sentence if
the Parole Board had previously revoked his parole. The appeals court noted
that the prisoner "received a benefit" when his parole was not
revoked, and did not complain about it at the time, so that he could not
complain about it now. Marshall v. Ruth, No. 2003-CP-00084-COA, 882 So. 2d 252
(Miss. App. 2004). [N/R]
Psychologist was entitled to absolute immunity
from liability for performing an evaluation of a prisoner for the purpose of
assisting a parole board in making its parole determination. His assessment was
an "adjudicative act." Williams v. Consovoy, No. 01-1809 (MLC), 333
F. Supp. 2d 297 (D.N.J. 2004). [N/R]
Oregon Parole Board's retroactive application of an
amended parole statute to extend the release date of a prisoner convicted of
raping and sodomizing his daughter violated his constitutional right against
retroactive enhancement of his punishment. Brown v. Palmateer, No. 03-35618,
379 F.3d 1089 (9th Cir. 2004). [2004 JB Dec]
Federal appeals court rejects California inmates'
claim that governor and Board of Prison Terms engaged in an unconstitutional
conspiracy to enforce an "unwritten policy" of denying parole to
prisoners serving life sentences. Prisoners' damage claims were barred and
federal courts cannot enjoin state officials on the basis that their actions or
policies allegedly conflict with other state law. McQuillion v. Schwarzenegger,
No. 01-16037, 369 F.3d 1091 (9th Cir. 2004). [2004 JB Aug]
Parole Board official was entitled to absolute
immunity in federal civil rights lawsuit over 65 day delay in scheduling parole
revocation hearing (during which the plaintiff remained detained pending a
hearing). Following the hearing, the hearing officer found no parole violation.
Parole Board Chairman acted in a "quasi-judicial" capacity in
determining when to schedule the hearing. Pate v. United States, 277 F. Supp.
2d 1 (D.D.C. 2003). [N/R]
Pennsylvania prisoner was not entitled to a
judicial order requiring the state Board of Probation and Parole to grant him
parole. Despite his claim that a sentencing judge and prosecutor sent
unfavorable recommendations to the Board in retaliation for his filing of a
successful federal habeas petition, the Board followed established procedures
in denying parole, and the denial was justified by the reasons given. Burkett
v. Frank, 841 A.2d 646 (Pa. Cmwth. 2004). [N/R]
Parole officer was not entitled to absolute
immunity on claim that he caused prisoner to be unlawfully jailed by charging
him with the use of illegal drugs without first performing a drug test.
McCammon v. Youngblood, #2010193, 853 So. 2d 249 (Ala. Civ. App. 2003). [N/R]
Federal appeals court panel rules that statute
requiring federal parolees submit a DNA sample to be included in a database
violates the Fourth Amendment as a "suspicionless search" for law
enforcement purposes. United States of America v. Kincade, No. 02-50380, 2003
U.S. App. Lexis 20123 (9th Cir.). [2003 JB Nov]
African-American prisoner's claim that parole
board chairman improperly made threats against him in violation of his First
Amendment rights and constituting racial discrimination seven years before his
parole was revoked was untimely and barred by the statute of limitations.
Norwood v. Michigan Department of Corrections, No. 02-1779, 67 Fed. Appx. 286
(6th Cir. 2003). [N/R]
Parole rule which absolutely prohibited parolee
traveling internationally to the Philippines to marry a woman with whom he had
been corresponding did not violate his constitutionally protected right to
marry or to travel, and was justified by the state's desire to avoid losing all
right to supervise the parolee once he was outside the country. The rule did
not absolutely prohibit him from marrying, but merely affected the timing or
place of his marriage plans. Williams v. Wisconsin, No. 02-4233, 336 F.3d 576
(7th Cir. 2003). [N/R]
Prisoner's claim that participation in parole
decision by temporary Parole Board members appointed by Governor without state
Senate confirmation violated state law did not establish a federal civil rights
claim for violation of due process, in the absence of any evidence that their
participation altered the result or denied him any procedural rights necessary
to a fair decision. Sonntag v. Papparozzi, 256 F. Supp. 2d 320 (D.N.J. 2003).
Prisoners challenging the procedures used to
determine parole eligibility and suitability could pursue their claims as a
federal civil rights lawsuit rather than a habeas corpus petition. Prisoners
did not claim an immediate entitlement to parole, but rather that the parole
board comply with what they claimed was the law in making parole
determinations. Dotson v. Wilkinson, No. 00-4033, 329 F.3d 464 (6th Cir. 2003).
[2003 JB Sep]
Attorneys' fee restrictions imposed by the Prison
Litigation Reform Act apply to all lawsuits filed by a prisoner, not just those
that challenge prison conditions. Federal appeals court rules that they also
apply to a civil rights lawsuit challenging the denial of parole or otherwise
challenging the length of confinement. Court also rejects equal protection
challenge to the statute, and rules that it allows for the awarding of
attorneys' fees on work done litigating attorneys' fees issues (so-called
"fees on fees"). Jackson v. State Board of Pardons and Paroles, No.
02-15545, 331 F.3d 790 (11th Cir. 2003). [2003 JB Sep]
Parole Board's consideration of negative letters
from prosecutors did not violate prisoner's due process rights, but further
proceedings are ordered on whether prisoner's attorney was not notified of
parole hearing. Parole Board's actions of delaying a hearing or assigning the
prisoner to the highest parole offense category were not in retaliation for the
prisoner's filing of federal litigation, but rather were in response to his
lawyer's request and the application of appropriate legal factors respectively.
Buhrman v. Wilkinson, 257 F. Supp. 2d 1110 (S.D. Ohio. 2003). [N/R]
Federal appeals court holds that limits on
attorneys' fees awards established by the Prison Litigation Reform Act applied
to prisoner's successful challenge to retroactive change in rules concerning
the date of his eligibility for parole hearing. These limits apply to all
lawsuits brought by prisoners, not just those concerning "prison
conditions," but also those challenging the length of confinement. Jackson
v. State Board of Pardons and Paroles, #02-15545, 2003 U.S. App. Lexis 9773
(11th Cir.). [2003 JB Jul]
Mississippi Department of Corrections was not
liable for parolee's alleged rape of woman based on discretionary decision not
to revoke his parole when he failed to report to parole officer within 72 hours
of his release from his custody in Illinois. Evidence failed to show gross or
reckless failure to supervise parolee or that there was any knowledge of the
parolee's intent to harm a particular person. Connell v. State Ex Rel. Mississippi
Department of Corrections, #2002-CA-00135-SCT, 841 So. 2d 1127 (Miss. 2003).
[2003 JB Jul]
Claim that an amendment to a Delaware parole
statute allegedly extending the time between parole reconsideration hearings
violated prisoners' rights was frivolous since neither the parole statute nor
the due process clause gave prisoners a protected liberty interest in a hearing
at a particular time. Ross v. Snyder, 239 F. Supp. 2d 397 (D. Del. 2002). [N/R]
Parole Board's statement to prisoner that he could
apply for parole again after a period of eighteen months did not create a new
parole eligibility date at the end of that period, but merely served to notify
him that the board would not consider him for parole during that period of
time. Edmond v. Hancock, # 2001-CP-01165-COA, 830 So.2d 658 (Miss. App. 2002).
Prisoner's parole release date was properly
rescinded when there was evidence sufficient to show that he engaged in
"significant misbehavior" in violation of prison rules prohibiting
prisoners from making harassing or intimidating phone calls. Bishop v. Smith,
751 N.Y.S.2d 82 (A.D. 2002). [N/R]
Amendment to Michigan state parole statute
allowing the prosecutor or crime victim to appeal a parole decision, but not
granting that right to a prisoner, M.C.L.A. Sec. 791.234, did not adversely
impact on prisoner when the amendment had not taken effect at the time of his
parole denial or denial of reconsideration, so he could not pursue his equal
protection claim. Bickley v. Marscke, No. 01-1835, 44 Fed. Appx. 698 (6th Cir.
Nothing in a Wisconsin statute, W.S.A. 304.02,
establishing an early release program for prisoners in order to address
overcrowding required the Department of Corrections to extend eligibility to
prisoners who had been convicted of assaultive crimes. Ghashiyah v. Bertrand,
Nos. 01-4034, 01-4195, 44 Fed. Appx. 736 (7th Cir. 2002). [N/R]
Prisoner could pursue federal civil rights
lawsuit challenging retroactive application of new state parole eligibility
regulations when the state's parole system was "completely
discretionary," since a successful challenge would only get the prisoner
"in the door" to be considered for parole and would not necessarily
imply the invalidity of his conviction or challenge the duration of his
confinement. Dotson v. Wilkinson, #00-4033, 300 F.3d 661 (6th Cir. 2002).
[2002 JB Dec]
State of Massachusetts was not liable for
released parolee's shooting of police officer eight years after his release.
Parole decision was "too remote as a matter of law" from the incident
in question to serve as a basis for liability. Kent v. Commonwealth, 437 Mass.
312, 771 N.E.2d 770 (2002). [N/R]
California prisoners could pursue claim against
state parole authority that it violated federal disability discrimination law
to have an "unwritten policy" of automatically denying parole to
prisoners with a history of drug abuse problems. Thompson v. Davis, #01-15091,
282 F.3d 780 (9th Cir. 2002). [2002 JB Jun]
296:122 Parole officers' release of parolee's
medical records to officers investigating serial rape case did not violate
parolee's Fourth Amendment or Eighth Amendment rights or his right to privacy.
Webb v. Goldstein, 117 F. Supp. 289 (E.D.N.Y. 2000).
283:105 New York prisoner serving a murder
sentence based on his guilty plea was not entitled to an order that a mental
health evaluation of him be conducted to be considered by the parole
authorities in determining his eligibility for parole; state statute concerning
evaluation of those found not guilty because of mental disease or defect did
not apply. Moore v. New York State Office of Mental Health, 705 N.Y.S.2d 701
281:69 Arizona state department of juvenile
corrections reaches $3.33 million in settlements with families of married
couple and teenager allegedly killed and another teenager maimed by 16-year-old
juvenile released from secure care; lawsuit asserted lack of adequate
supervision and wrongful release. Blair v. State, Ariz., Maricopa County Super.
Ct., No. CV 98-14890, May 24, 1999, reported in 43 ATLA Law Rptr. 19 (Feb.
278;25 Prison and parole officials were not
liable for the death of a police officer shot and killed by a parolee; while
there was evidence that the parolee was a "violent and depraved"
individual, this did not make his assault on the officer during a traffic stop
foreseeable. Gonzalez v. Angelilli, 40 F. Supp. 2d 615 (E.D. Pa. 1999).
282:87 New York prisoner was not entitled to
early consideration for parole based on uncredited time served in jail years
before on an unrelated charge; time served on one charge could not be
"banked" to apply to a future charge. Harris v. City of New York, 44
F. Supp. 2d 510 (S.D.N.Y. 1999).
273:136 Parole Commissioner was entitled to absolute
immunity from suit for presiding over hearing that resulted in revocation of
parole; presiding over hearing was a "quasi-judicial" action. Montero
v. Travis, 171 F.3d 757 (2nd Cir. 1999). » Editor's Note: Other federal appeals
court have similarly held that parole board officials are entitled to absolute
immunity from lawsuits for damages when they serve a quasi-adjudicative
function in deciding whether to grant, deny or revoke parole. See Anton v.
Getty, 78 F.3d 393 (8th Cir. 1996); Littles v. Board of Pardons & Paroles
Div., 68 F.3d 122 (5th Cir. 1995); Walrath v. United States, 35 F.3d 277 (7th
Cir. 1994); Russ v. Uppah, 972 F.2d 300 (10th Cir. 1992); Fuller v. Georgia
State Bd. of Pardons & Paroles, 851 F.2d 1307 (11th Cir. 1988); Johnson v.
Rhode Island Parole Bd. Members, 815 F.2d 5 (1st Cir. 1987); Anderson v. Boyd,
714 F.2d 906 (9th Cir. 1983).
273:136 State of Arizona reaches $725,000
wrongful death settlement with husband of woman killed during assault by their
17-year-old paroled son; lawsuit argued that parole was improper, that parole
should have been revoked because of various misconduct, and that drug and anger
counseling should have been conditions of parole. Janecke v. State, Ariz.,
Maricopa Co. Super. Ct., No. CV96-06697, Sept. 24, 1998, reported in 42 ATLA
Law Rptr. 185 (June 1999).
275:168 Oregon Department of Corrections liable
for $200,000 to estate of murder victim and $140,627 to rape victim, both
attacked by parolee with a long history of violent crimes against women, based
on allegation of inadequate supervision of parole. Washa v. Oregon Dept. of
Corrections, 979 P.2d 273 (Or. App. 1999).
265:9 Parole board members were absolutely immune
from liability in prisoner's lawsuit over their revocation of his parole;
parole officer was entitled to qualified immunity; reasonable grounds existed
for revocation of parole. Calvin v. Kansas Parole Board, 993 F.Supp. 1366 (D.
267:40 Parole officers entitled to qualified
immunity for failing to disclose to parolee's girlfriend that parolee was
HIV-positive; no liability for girlfriend's death after she allegedly
contracted AIDS from the parolee, who was released into her home; Iowa's
indemnification of officers was no basis for denial of qualified immunity.
Greer v. Shoop, #97-1565, 141 F.3d 824 (8th Cir. 1998).
272:121 District of Columbia did not violate
Spanish-speaking prisoners' rights by failing to provide official interpreters
for all disciplinary, classification, housing, or other institutional hearings,
or by failing to have bilingual medical personnel. Franklin v. District of
Columbia, #97-7162, 163 F.3d 625 (D.C. Cir. 1998).
263:163 Despite the presence, in terminated
correctional officer's suit, of several claims against the State of Wisconsin
barred by the Eleventh Amendment, correctional defendants could still properly
remove the entire lawsuit from state to federal court, and the federal trial
court had jurisdiction to consider and rule on remaining claims not barred by
Eleventh Amendment immunity. Wisconsin Dept. of Corrections v. Schacht,
#97-461, 118 S.Ct. 2047 (1998).
263:163 Exclusionary rule does not apply to
parole revocation hearings. The rule would apply to a subsequent criminal
trial, for offenses committed while on parole, if police officers conduct an
illegal search of a parolee's person or premises. Penn. Bd. of Probation &
Parole v. Scott, #97-581, 118 S.Ct. 2014 (1998).
255:38 Parole officials can properly consider a
prisoner's frivolous litigation activity in making parole decisions, as there
is no protected right to engage in frivolous lawsuits; federal appeals court
also upholds the consideration of crime victims' statements in opposition to
parole for a particular prisoner. Johnson v. Rodriguez, 110 F.3d 299 (5th Cir. 1997),
cert. denied, 118 S.Ct. 559 (1997).
259:103 Parents of woman killed by
twice-convicted rapist on parole could sue correctional and mental health
officials under Mass. state law for wrongful death based on claim that
established procedures were not followed and that prisoner's dangerous
proclivities were known; federal civil rights claim could not be pursued.
Coughlin v. Dept. of Correction, 686 N.E.2d 1082 (Mass. App. 1997).
261:134 Parole officer entitled to absolute
immunity in federal civil rights lawsuit alleging that she filed false reports
against parolee. Taylor v. Sullivan, 980 F.Supp. 697 (S.D.N.Y. 1997). »
Editor's Note: There have been some decisions reaching a contrary result. See
Mecham v. Taylor, 117 F.3d 1428 (table) (10th Cir. 1997) (decisions of parole
officers involving revocation of parole, including preparation of a warrant
request and parole violation report, warrant only qualified, not absolute
immunity); Wilson v. Kelkhoff, 86 F.3d 1438 (7th Cir. 1996) (parole officer's
filing of parole violation report protected only by qualified immunity); Jones
v. Moore, 986 F.2d 251 (8th Cir. 1993) (parole officer not entitled to absolute
immunity). On the other hand, see MacNab v. Oregon Board of Parole, 105 F.3d
665 (table), (9th Cir. Dec. 16, 1996) (parole officers entitled to absolute
immunity with respect to preparation of parole revocation reports); and Littles
v. Board of Pardons and Paroles Division, 68 F.3d 122 (5th Cir. 1995)
("parole officers entitled to absolute immunity for their conduct in
263:168 Jury awards $6.28 million to family and
estate of 17-year-old girl stabbed 56 times by man who had recently been
released from parole; lawsuit claimed that parolee had been inadequately
supervised while on parole, released from parole despite violation of
conditions, and that officials failed to warn girl's mother of former
prisoner's violent tendencies. McFarland v. State, Wash., Pierce Co. Super.
Ct., #96-2-05934- 5, Nov. 26, 1997, reported in 41 ATLA L. Rptr. p. 209 (Aug.
[N/R] It was not clearly established in July 1996
that considering inaccurate information and intentionally delaying reparole
review violated prisoner's due process rights; defendants were entitled to
qualified immunity in federal civil rights lawsuit. Jubilee v. Horn, 975
F.Supp. 761 (E.D. Pa. 1997).
[N/R] Prison officials were entitled to qualified
immunity for withholding parole, work release and less restrictive confinement
from prisoner who refused to admit to his crime; it was not clearly established
that this violated the prisoner's right against self-incrimination. McMorrow v.
Little, 109 F.3d 432 (8th Cir. 1997).
[N/R] Virginia prisoners had no constitutionally
protected liberty interest in being released on parole. Alley v. Angelone, 962
F.Supp. 827 (E.D. Va. 1997).
244:53 Parole officials were entitled to absolute
immunity for delaying prisoner's release date, because their role in deciding
whether his release plan was adequate was "quasi- judicial"; probation
case manager, who made recommendations for delay, was not entitled to absolute
immunity, but still acted reasonably in recommending delay in light of
inadequacy of release plan submitted. Anton v. Getty, 78 F.3d 393 (8th Cir.
232:57 Georgia prisoner had no constitutionally
protected liberty interest in parole; Parole Board was not liable for departing
from its own guidelines in denying parole to prisoner; federal appeals court
overturns award of attorneys' fees to plaintiff prisoner. O'Kelley v. Snow, 53
F.3d 319 (11th Cir. 1995). [Cross-reference: Attorneys' Fees].
237:136 Parole Board director and attorney were
entitled to absolute immunity from prisoner's lawsuit for damages over alleged
irregularities in parole revocation. Hulsey v. Owens, 63 F.3d 354 (5th Cir.
239:168 Deferral of parole eligibility reviews
for up to three years for certain categories of prisoners did not violate
prisoners' constitutional rights; it did not constitute additional punishment
or change the criteria for determining eligibility for parole. Hill v. Jackson,
64 F.3d 163 (4th Cir. 1995).
[N/R] Apply a current law on the timing of parole
reviews was not violative of prisoner's rights or increase his punishment
retroactively; court also upholds law requiring that notice of parole review be
sent to prisoner's crime victim. Creel v. Kyle, 42 F.3d 955 (5th Cir. 1995).
[N/R] D.C. statutes did not give prisoner a
constitutionally protected interest in parole. Price v. Barry, 53 F.3d 369 (D.C.Cir.
[N/R] Prisoner who asserted that he was
wrongfully denied parole while participating in state's sexual offender program
after program requirements were retroactively change would not be able to
assert a claim for damages unless he first was successful in challenging the
legality of his continued imprisonment. Schafer v. Moore, 46 F.3d 43 (8th Cir.
220:53 Louisiana statute providing for parole
work release did not create a constitutionally protected liberty interest in
receiving such parole. Merit v. Lynn, 848 F.Supp. 1266 (W.D.La. 1994).
226:154 Utah state parole statute did not create
a liberty interest limiting the discretion of parole board in granting or
denying parole; prisoner's federal civil rights lawsuit against parole board
members was therefore frivolous. Malek v. Haun, 26 F.3d 1013 (10th Cir. 1994).
Federal appeals court holds that parolee had a
due process liberty interest in not being required to take anti-psychotic drugs
as a condition of parole, absent an "overriding" justification for
their use. Felce v. Fiedler, 974 F.2d 1484 (7th Cir. 1992).
Parole Board and Department of Corrections was
not liable for granting parole to prisoner who subsequently brutally assaulted
sleeping woman in her home. Plotkin v. State Dept. of Corrections, 826 P.2d 221
(Wash. App. 1992).
Denial of annual parole reconsideration hearings
to inmates who were entitled to such annual hearings when their crimes were
committed violated their constitutional rights; ex post facto clause of
constitution prohibits a retrospective change in parole eligibility. Akins v.
Snow, 922 F.2d 1558 (11th Cir. 1991).
Policy prohibiting correctional employees from
making parole recommendations directly to parole board could be challenged by
inmate asserting correctional employee's First Amendment rights; such
communications were not "purely personal," but rather involved
matters of "public concern." Harris v. Evans, 920 F.2d 864 (11th cir.
Requiring sexual offender prisoners to complete
rehabilitative program before becoming eligible for parole did not violate
their right to equal protection. Russell v. Eaves, 722 F.Supp. 558 (E.D. Mo.
Parole officer and state not liable to police
officer for his shooting by parolee. Fitzpatrick v. State, 439 N.W.2d 663 (Iowa
State not liable for paroled prisoner's fatal
stabbing of co-worker; no duty to warn public of possible danger from parolee.
Sheerin v. State, 434 N.W.2d 633 (Iowa 1989).
Alleged gross neglect of parole board members in
granting parole can be basis of lawsuit by woman attacked by parolee. Gratham
v. Mississippi Dept. of Corrections, 522 So.2d 219 (Miss. 1988).
Statistical evidence that white rapists were
granted parole more often than black rapists does not establish prima facie
case of racial discrimination. Fuller v. Georgia State Board of Pardons &
Parole, 534 A.2d 150 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1987).
Parole board not liable for parolee's sexual
assault on woman after release. K.L. v. Hinkle, 423 N.W.2d 528 (Wis. 1988).
Co. not liable when inmate released prematurely
injures motorist by driving under the influence. Baumgart v. Co. of Grant, 750
P.2d 271 (Wash. App. 1988).
Prisoner had no right to be considered for parole
when he did not apply for it; not entitled to review of whether refusal was
retaliatory. King v. Bd. of Probation & Parole, 534 A.2d 150 (Pa. Cmwlth.
Prisoner entitled to jail-time credit for
involuntary detention in mental hospital. Tal-Mason v. State, 515 So.2d 738
Members of Kansas adult authority not liable
under state or federal law for release of prisoner who killed two persons. Beck
v. Kansas Univ. Psychiatric Foundation, 671 F.Supp. 1552, 1563 (D. Kansas
Parole board members and parole officers not
liable for murder and sexual assault by parolee. Doe v. United Social and
Welfare Health Services, 670 F.Supp. 1121 (D. Conn. 1987).
Members of prisoner review board absolutely
immune from federal civil rights liability for parole decision; court would
consider granting injunction, however, if parole was denied because of inmate's
"african heritage". Davis-El v. O'Leary, 668 F.Supp. 1189 (N.D. Ill.
Requirement that prisoner pay for psychiatric
evaluations as prerequisite to parole might constitute violation of equal
protection. Matter of Earl, 740 P.2d 853 (Wash. App. 1986).
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