On January 13, 2006, Illinois parolees who were re-arrested for alleged parole violations filed this class action complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Represented by private counsel, the plaintiffs sued the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) arguing that they had been unconstitutionally denied a timely parole revocation hearing. For violations of their constitutional rights under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the plaintiffs asked the Court for preliminary and permanent injunctions.
On May 8, 2006, the court (Judge Robert W. Gettleman) certified a class consisting of individuals held for more than 10 business days without a preliminary parole revocation hearing. The court also granted the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction. The court found that the parolees had a constitutional right to a prompt, preliminary parole revocation hearing and a limited constitutional right to confront and cross examine persons who had provided testimony or evidence which could be used to revoke parole.
On November 2, 2006, the parties reached a settlement and submitted the proposed agreement to the court, which approved the consent decree on January 26, 2007. The consent decree set specific timelines, notice provisions, and guidelines for inspections for revocation hearings. and prohibits the assignment of any DOC employee or agent from serving as Hearing Officers. The Court also appointed a monitor to assess progress for one year after entry of the consent decree, to be paid for his services by the defendant. On January 23, 2008, the monitor reported that the defendants had achieved substantial compliance with the provisions of the consent decree. The Court approved the final report and discharged the monitor.
In 2012, new lawyers appeared for the plaintiff class, from the Roderick Macarthur Justice Center, at Northwestern University law school, and the Uptown People's Law Center. On November 30, 2012, the plaintiffs moved for a rule to show cause alleging that the defendants were no longer complying with the consent decree. On October 30 and 31, 2013, the court conducted an evidentiary hearing on the allegations. After the hearing, the parties stated they wanted to resolve the matter via settlement, so the court reserved ruling on the motion to show cause. The parties did reach a second settlement agreement, and on April 24, 2014, the court approved an amended consent decree. For one year and 90 days following the entry of the amended consent decree, the plaintiffs' counsel had the opportunity to observe 15 parole hearings. The parties reserved the determination of attorneys' fees and costs for the Court.
After proceedings regarding attorneys' fees and costs, the court awarded the plaintiffs $140,000 for attorneys' fees and costs on October 31, 2014. As of April 8, 2016, monitoring is ongoing regarding the implementation of the amended consent decree. Xin Chen - 01/31/2011
Jessica Kincaid - 04/08/2016