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ANDERSON v. WINSETT - 449 U.S. 1093 (1981)

U.S. Supreme Court

ANDERSON v. WINSETT , 449 U.S. 1093 (1981)

449 U.S. 1093

Raymond W. ANDERSON and Paul W. Keve
No. 79-2014

Supreme Court of the United States

January 12, 1981

On petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

The motion of respondent for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is granted.

The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.

Justice WHITE, with whom Justice REHNQUIST joins, dissenting.

In Greenholtz v. Nebraska Penal Inmates, 442 U.S. 1, 12, 2106 (1979), we held that a Nebraska statute created an "expectancy of release [on parole]" that was "entitled to some measure of constitutional protection." The Nebraska statute provided in part:

    "Whenever the Board of Parole considers the release of a committed offender who is eligible for release on parole, it shall order his release unless it is of the opinion that his release should be deferred because:

"(a) There is a substantial risk that he will not conform to the conditions of parole;

Page 449 U.S. 1093 , 1094

"(b) His release would depreciate the seriousness of his crime or promote disrespect for law;

"(c) His release would have a substantially adverse effect on institutional discipline; or

"(d) His continued correctional treatment, medical care, or vocational or other training in the facility will substantially enhance his capacity to lead a law-abiding life when released at a later date." 1

We emphasized that our decision rested on the "unique structure and language" of the Nebraska statute and cautioned that whether any other state statute created a liberty interest would have to be decided on a case-by-case basis. Id., at 12.

In this case respondent, a Delaware state prisoner, filed suit against petitioners, state prison officials, alleging that petitioners violated his due process rights when they denied him work release. The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit examined the Delaware statutory provisions and regulations governing work release programs in light of Greenholtz and concluded that a liberty interest was implicated when respondent was denied work release. The court conceded that Delaware prison officials exercise substantial discretion in making work release decisions but concluded that their discretion is not unbounded. It determined that under Delaware law prison officials must exercise their discretion "consistently with the purpose and policy behind work release." 2 The court also observed that the State had established "an elaborate institutional system" for processing work release applications. [Footnote 3] Two separate committees must evaluate the inmate's fitness for work release and recommend that work release be granted before the inmate's application may be sub- [449 U.S. 1093 , 1095]

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