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Case Name Willard v. Snyder CJ-IL-0008
Docket / Court 1:01-cv-01884 ( N.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Case Summary
On March 16, 2001, four plaintiffs paroled from the Big Muddy Correctional Center in Ina, Illinois, who were subsequently arrested for alleged technical parole violations filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on behalf of themselves and on behalf of ... read more >
On March 16, 2001, four plaintiffs paroled from the Big Muddy Correctional Center in Ina, Illinois, who were subsequently arrested for alleged technical parole violations filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on behalf of themselves and on behalf of their classes. The plaintiffs sued the Illinois Department of Corrections under color of state law and under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging a violation of their Fourteenth Amendment right to due process. The plaintiffs, represented by private council, asked for injunctive relief prohibiting the Illinois Department of Corrections from continuing to follow the Department's policy of transferring parolees out of Cook County Jail before the parolees had, or had waived, their constitutional right to a preliminary parole revocation hearing. The plaintiffs also asked the court to permanently enjoin the Department from continuing this policy and for award costs and attorney’s fees.

The plaintiffs alleged as follows. Each of the four plaintiffs was paroled from the Big Muddy Correctional Center, and, during their parole, was assigned to a parole agent in Cook County. Each of the four plaintiffs was arrested on a technical violation of their parole; each of the plaintiffs denied committing the violation. Each of the plaintiffs, after his arrest, was taken to Cook County Jail. The plaintiffs further allege that none of them were notified of their charges. None of the plaintiffs were scheduled for a parole revocation hearing, and the Illinois Department of Corrections did not obtain a waiver of their right to a preliminary parole revocation hearing. Despite the fact that the plaintiffs each had a constitutional right to a prompt preliminary parole revocation hearing, they were transferred out of the Cook County Jail to the Joliet Correctional Center. From there, the corrections department acted according to policy and transferred the plaintiffs to the site of their parole, the Big Muddy Correctional Center in Ina, Illinois, which is hundreds of miles from Cook County and Chicago.

Three of the plaintiffs had been detained for over 60 days and had still not had their preliminary parole revocation hearing. The fourth plaintiff was detained for over 60 days before his preliminary parole revocation hearing, where the court eventually found no violation and ordered him released. Each plaintiff has a constitutionally protected right to a prompt preliminary parole revocation hearing nearby the site of his arrest. Absent extraordinary circumstances, the plaintiffs should have had preliminary hearings within ten days of arrest. Instead, they were transferred hundreds of miles away from the site of their arrest and were forced to wait at least two months for their hearing. The violations of the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights were allegedly a direct result of Illinois Department of Corrections policy. The number of parolees affected by this particular Department of Corrections policy was estimated to be over 500. Despite the impact of the policy on hundreds of parolees, the policy had been in place for less than a year.

On August 15, 2001, the plaintiffs filed an amended class action complaint. The only substantive change between the original class action complaint and the amended class action complaint was the replacement of one of the class representatives. Now, two of the class members had been released following extremely delayed preliminary parole revocation hearings instead of just one. The two classes now being represented were (1) “a class of Cook County parolees who have been or will be arrested for technical parole violation in Cook County, Illinois form June 1, 2000 to the present” and (2) “a class of Cook County parolees who were detained without the benefit of a prompt preliminary parole revocation and who have been, or will in the future be, found not to have violated the terms and conditions of their parole.”

On September 13, 2001, less than a month after the amended class action complaint, the parties submitted a stipulated dismissal to the court. The dismissal was subject to an agreement with the Illinois Department of Corrections to change their policy with regard to the detainment of parolees with alleged technical parole violations. First, the Department directed that, absent exigent circumstances, parolees who are arrested for technical parole violations must be held in a location reasonably near the arrest or alleged violation. For alleged violators in Cook County, the holding site must be within sixty miles of Cook County or the nearest Department Reception and Classification Center.

Second, the Department directed its administrators to notify alleged violators that they may retain an attorney and procure witnesses for their hearings. This notification was to come when the administrators notified the alleged violators of their charges.

Third, the Department directed its administrators that parolees who request witnesses or who confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses can obtain testimony either in person or through a “telephonic link up.” The only caveat to this is that if the witness testimony “bears substantial guarantees of trustworthiness” in-person or telephonic testimony would not be required.

Fourth, the Department directed its administrators that parolees arrested for technical parole violations in Cook County must have preliminary hearings within ten business days. The ten-day deadline need not be followed when (1) the parolee waives the preliminary parole revocation hearing; (2) the parolee requests a continuance; (3) the parolee is unavailable due to health reasons (to be determined by the Department), or (4) the hearing officer continues the hearing for up to fourteen business days to obtain evidence, ensure the attendance of witnesses, or for other good cause shown.

Finally, the Department directed its administrators that when alleged parole violation is supported only by an unverified written statement by a parole agent, that hearing officer must also see (1) an affidavit or other sworn document from the parole agent, (2) a copy of the violation of the violation report, or (3) sworn oral testimony of the parole agent.

The last provision of the stipulated dismissal asserted that the dismissal was not an admission of liability and would not serve as precedent or be admissible in any proceeding. (However, see King v. Walker on this Clearinghouse, in which this case's Stipulated Dismissal was attached as an appendix to that case's complaint.)

On September 13, 2001, the Court (Hon. Matthew F. Kennelly), in a minute order, dismissed the case based on the terms of the Stipulated Dismissal. Judgment was entered on July 24, 2003. There is no reason to believe the case is still open.

Megan Brown - 04/09/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Parole grant/revocation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
State law
Defendant(s) Illinois Department of Correction
Plaintiff Description Four plaintiffs paroled from the Big Muddy Correctional Center in Ina, Illinois who were subsequently arrested for alleged technical parole violations.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Conditional Dismissal
Filing Year 2001
Case Closing Year 2003
Case Ongoing No reason to think so
Case Listing CJ-IL-0001 : King v. Walker (N.D. Ill.)
Docket(s)
1:01-cv-01884 (N.D. Ill.)
CJ-IL-0008-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/24/2003
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint for Injunctive Relief and Damages [ECF# 1]
CJ-IL-0008-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/16/2001
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Class Action Complaint for Injunctive Relief and Damages [ECF# 8]
CJ-IL-0008-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/15/2001
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulated Dismissal
CJ-IL-0008-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/13/2001
Judges Kennelly, Matthew F. (N.D. Ill.)
CJ-IL-0008-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Peters, Kevin R (Illinois)
CJ-IL-0008-0002 | CJ-IL-0008-0003 | CJ-IL-0008-9000
Peters, Thomas M. (Illinois)
CJ-IL-0008-0001 | CJ-IL-0008-0002 | CJ-IL-0008-0003 | CJ-IL-0008-9000
Yoelin [Hoffenberg], Elyse (Illinois)
CJ-IL-0008-0002 | CJ-IL-0008-0003 | CJ-IL-0008-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Seward, Edward (Illinois)
CJ-IL-0008-0001 | CJ-IL-0008-9000

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