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No Liberty Interest in Washington Prisoner's Good-Conduct Time Earning Class

No Liberty Interest in Time Earning Class

In a decision filed by Washington State's Supreme Court on October 8, 2009, the Personal Restrain Petition (PRP) of prisoner Jay Pullman, Jr., was denied. He filed the petition alleging DOC officials violated his due process rights by reclassifying him at a lower good-conduct time earning class without notification or a hearing. He argued that he had a liberty interest in the higher time earning rate, and was, therefore, entitled to a hearing when that interest was threatened.

The district court disagreed with his argument. It was determined that his reclassification was the result of disciplinary infractions on his part, and he was allowed to appeal the decision to change his status. He was also given the opportunity to appear before a facility risk management team to discuss his reclassification, but he chose not to appear.

The Supreme Court concluded that due process was not violated because there is no protectable liberty interest at issue. It was Pullman's poor behavior that resulted in his reduction in time earning class, and his proper behavior will lead to his eventual return to his previous classification. There, his PRP was denied.

See: In re Personal restraint of Pullman, WA. Sup. Ct., #80834-1.

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Related legal case

In re Personal restraint of Pullman