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Court Rejects Inmates' Ex Post Facto Claim Regarding New Parole Laws

By FindLaw Staff on February 18, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

In Foster v. Booker No. 08-1371, the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit faced a challenge to the Michigan Parole Board's application of post-1992 changes to the state's parole laws to plaintiffs' parole review as being in violation of the Ex Post Facto and Due Process Clauses.

However, as stated in the decision: "To the extent that plaintiffs face a risk of increased punishment under the post-1992 parole laws as compared to the laws in effect when they committed their offenses, we cannot conclude that changes to the parole laws caused such an increase."

Thus, in reversing grant of summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs and vacating the permanent injunction, the court held that plaintiffs have not shown that they face a risk of increased punishment as a result of the challenged statutory changes to the state's parole process, rather than as a result of the new Board's legitimate exercise of discretion in a way that results in fewer paroles.  Furthermore, plaintiff's due process claim was properly dismissed as prisoners have no constitutionally protected liberty interest in parole.

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