On February 03, 2010, eleven Virginia inmates filed a class action against the Virginia Parole Board ("the Board") under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond Division, challenging the Board's denials of parole for inmates convicted of violent ...
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On February 03, 2010, eleven Virginia inmates filed a class action against the Virginia Parole Board ("the Board") under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond Division, challenging the Board's denials of parole for inmates convicted of violent offenses solely because of the nature and circumstances of their crimes.
Plaintiffs bring this action on behalf of a class of persons currently incarcerated by the Virginia Department of Corrections ("DOC") for violent offenses committed prior to January 1, 1995, who are or will become eligible for parole, and who have been or are likely to be denied parole exclusively or primarily by reference to the "serious nature or circumstances of the crime" or words to that effect.
Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief. Plaintiffs claim that the Board has adopted and implemented practices, policies and procedures for making parole determinations without considering all the circumstances that Virginia law requires to be considered, resulting in a drastic reduction in the availability of parole for inmates convicted of violent offenses and the de facto abolition of the provisions of Virginia law governing parole for such inmates. Moreover, Plaintiffs claim these practices, policies and procedures have created a significant risk of increasing the measure of punishment attached to such inmates' crimes at the time of sentencing. The Board's actions have violated due process and constitute an ex post facto enhancement of Plaintiffs' punishments, in violation of the United States Constitution.
On March 01, 2010, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss. On October 25, 2010, the Court (Judge Robert E. Payne) dismissed the case with prejudice. Judge Payne held that both of Plaintiffs' claims--the due process claim and the ex post facto claim--are legally insufficient and must be dismissed. In addition, the dismissal of the Complaint as legally insufficient necessitates that the Plaintiffs' Motion to Conduct Limited Discovery will also be denied.
On November 22, 2010, Plaintiffs filed a Motion to Alter Judgment Pursuant to Rule 59(E). In their Rule 59(e) motion, Plaintiffs requested that the Court alter or amend its order of dismissal to be "without prejudice" in order to provide Plaintiffs an opportunity to amend their Complaint to comply with standards articulated by the Court in its Memorandum Opinion issued on October 25, 2010.
On March 01, 2011, Judge Payne denied Plaintiffs' Motion to Alter Judgment. Plaintiff appealed the case to the Fourth Circuit.Xin Chen - 04/30/2011