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Case Name Hayden v. Keller CJ-NC-0006
Docket / Court 5:10-ct-3123-BO ( E.D.N.C. )
State/Territory North Carolina
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Attorney Organization Legal Services/Legal Aid
Case Summary
An inmate serving a life sentence for crimes committed as a juvenile filed this pro-se lawsuit on July 15, 2010 against the North Carolina Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission ("the Parole Commission") in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. The case was ... read more >
An inmate serving a life sentence for crimes committed as a juvenile filed this pro-se lawsuit on July 15, 2010 against the North Carolina Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission ("the Parole Commission") in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. The case was assigned to District Judge Terrence W. Boyle. The initial complaint was unclear, and Judge Boyle ordered the plaintiff to clarify whether the case should proceed as a petition for writ of habeas corpus. The original case, brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, was dismissed without prejudice, and the case was to be continued under habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241.

The court directed that North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services (NCPLS) represent the plaintiff. The plaintiff then filed an amended complaint against the Parole Commission under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiff had become eligible for parole in 2002, after serving a term of twenty years, and alleged that the defendant failed to offer him a meaningful opportunity for parole in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. He sought declaratory and injunctive relief.

On Sept. 11, 2013, Judge Boyle authorized the filing of this complaint and dismissed the habeas corpus petition.

On Nov. 3, 2014, the defendant and the plaintiff both moved for summary judgment. On Sept. 25, 2015, in a written opinion, Judge Boyle denied the defendant’s motion for summary judgment and granted in part and denied without prejudice in part the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, concluding that the parole review process employed by the Parole Commission for offenders convicted as juveniles and serving life sentences violated the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.

Judge Boyle cited the Supreme Court's decision in Graham v. Florida, 560 U.S. 48 (2010), which addressed the issue of parole for juvenile offenders sentenced to life imprisonment. In a 6-3 opinion by Justice Kennedy, the Court had held that, when juveniles are sentenced to life imprisonment, the Constitution requires that they be granted a meaningful opportunity for parole so that they may have the chance to demonstrate their increased maturity and rehabilitation.

On Oct. 21, 2015, the defendant filed an interlocutory appeal of the Sept. 25, 2015 order to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and the district court entered a stay pending the Fourth Circuit's resolution of the appeal. The Fourth Circuit dismissed the appeal on the grounds that the court's order was not a final order.

The district court then lifted the stay and ordered that the parties had 60 days to present a "plan for the means and mechanism of compliance with the mandates of Graham to provide a meaningful opportunity to obtain release based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation to juvenile offenders convicted as adults." Hayden v. Keller, 134 F.Supp.3d 1000, 1011 (E.D.N.C. 2015).

The parties did not reach agreement on a plan, and on Oct. 24, 2016, each party filed its respective proposed plans.

Meanwhile, another inmate serving a life sentence with parole for an offense committed as a juvenile in the North Carolina prison system had moved to intervene as a plaintiff, but his motion was denied on July 5, 2017.

On Nov. 2, 2017, the court granted the plaintiff's request for injunctive relief and adopted the defendant's proposed plan. The plan proposed a number of new hearing and pre- and post-hearing procedures, including (i) providing the eligible offenders with written notice at least 180 in advance of any parole review hearing, (ii) a guaranteed 30-minute meeting slot for the offender's family members, advocates, attorneys, or other witnesses, to address one or more members of the Parole Commission in person, (iii) permitting the eligible offender to submit a written personal explanation of the circumstances of the underlying offense, or any other materials documenting his or her maturity, rehabilitation, and suitability for parole, and (iv) permitting the eligible offender to appear via videoconference before the commissioner(s) during the review hearing, among other changes.

The court directed the defendant to implement its proposed plan within 90 days. The judge directed the clerk of court to close the case, but it is still open pending the resolution of some ongoing matters.

On Jan. 8, 2018, the plaintiff's motion to stay ruling on his motion for costs, attorneys' fees, and related expenses was granted. The defendant's motion to stay the proceedings was denied, and the court gave the defendant until Mar. 30, 2018 to implement the proposed plan. The clerk was also directed to substitute Willis J. Fowler as a defendant in place of Paul Butler, Jr.

Gloria Han - 02/14/2017
Elizabeth Greiter - 01/19/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Habeas Corpus
Juveniles
Pattern or Practice
Rehabilitation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Habeas Corpus, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241-2253; 2254; 2255
Defendant(s) North Carolina Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission
Plaintiff Description An inmate serving a life sentence in North Carolina for crimes committed when he was a juvenile.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Legal Services/Legal Aid
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
5:10-ct-3123 (E.D.N.C.)
CJ-NC-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/08/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Original Complaint [ECF# 1]
CJ-NC-0006-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/15/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Proposed Plan in Response to 25 September 2016 Order [ECF# 83]
CJ-NC-0006-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/15/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order to Dismiss [ECF# 7] (E.D.N.C.)
CJ-NC-0006-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/12/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order to Reopen [ECF# 9] (E.D.N.C.)
CJ-NC-0006-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/11/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 10]
CJ-NC-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/11/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 58] (134 F.Supp.3d 1000) (E.D.N.C.)
CJ-NC-0006-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 09/25/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Appeal from U.S. District Court for E.D.N.C. [Ct. of App. ECF# 69] (667 Fed.Appx. 416)
CJ-NC-0006-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/01/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 96] (E.D.N.C.)
CJ-NC-0006-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/02/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Boyle, Terrence William (E.D.N.C.)
CJ-NC-0006-0002 | CJ-NC-0006-0004 | CJ-NC-0006-0006 | CJ-NC-0006-0008 | CJ-NC-0006-9000
Johnston, Thomas E. (S.D. W. Va.)
CJ-NC-0006-0005
Niemeyer, Paul Victor (D. Md., Fourth Circuit)
CJ-NC-0006-0005
Wynn, James Andrew Jr. (Fourth Circuit)
CJ-NC-0006-0005
Plaintiff's Lawyers Finholt, Benjamin S. (North Carolina)
CJ-NC-0006-9000
Mills, John Robert (California)
CJ-NC-0006-9000
Pollard, Mary Sheehan (North Carolina)
CJ-NC-0006-0001 | CJ-NC-0006-9000
Simpson, Elizabeth Guild (North Carolina)
CJ-NC-0006-0001 | CJ-NC-0006-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Cooper, Roy (North Carolina)
CJ-NC-0006-0007
Finarelli, Joseph (North Carolina)
CJ-NC-0006-0007 | CJ-NC-0006-9000
Harrison, Jodi (North Carolina)
CJ-NC-0006-9000

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