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Prisons & Jails – Parole – Constitutional – Ex Post Facto Law – Board Quorum (access required)

Barton v. South Carolina Department of Probation Parole & Pardon Services A change in a parole statute -- requiring a two-thirds vote of the parole board rather than a majority vote to grant parole to violent offenders -- is an unconstitutional ex post facto law as applied to petitioner, who was convicted of murder before the statutory amendment. Even under the new law, a vote in favor of parole by four of the six board members who attended petitioner’s hearing was sufficient to grant her parole.

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Prisons & Jails – Claim Mooted for Prison Visitation Denial (access required)

Williams v. Ozmint Restoration of a prison inmate’s visiting privileges has mooted his appeal of suspension of those privileges for a two-year period as a penalty for the inmate’s suspected receipt of contraband; the 4th Circuit further concludes that the prison warden who imposed the suspicion is shielded by qualified immunity because the inmate did not have a clearly established right to visitation.

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Prisons & Jails – Constitutional – Due Process & Ex Post Facto Clauses – Parole Denial Policy – Violent Offenders (access required)

Burnette v. Fahey Plaintiff Virginia inmates have not stated due process and ex post facto claims against defendant members of the Virginia Parole Board in their official capacities for an alleged policy of denying parole to parole-eligible inmates convicted of violent offenses; the 4th Circuit affirms dismissal of the inmates’ complaint.

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