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Offenders Cannot Sue Over Violations of Interstate Probation Transfer Compact

The Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision (“the Compact”) does not create a private right of action, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held on April 11, 2011.

Plaintiff M.F. and his domestic partner sued New York’s Division of Parole after New York refused to accept the transfer of M.F.’s probation from New Jersey unless he agreed to the installation of monitoring software on his work computer, employer notification of his conviction and a lifetime period of supervised release.

In 2001, M.F. was convicted of soliciting sex from minors over the Internet. He declined the transfer of his probation to New York due to the onerous conditions, fearing his employer would fire him.

The district court granted summary judgment to the New York Division of Parole. On appeal, the state argued for the first time that the Compact did not confer a private right of action to individuals such as M.F.

While many laws create duties and confer rights, not all laws are enforceable by private litigants. A law that has been violated must explicitly or implicitly give an individual a private right of action, which basically means the right to sue.

Because the Compact does not provide an express private right of action, the Second Circuit considered whether an implied right of action existed. The Court of Appeals held that one did not.

According to the appellate court, the Compact was not created for the benefit of M.F. or other probationers but rather for the Compact’s signatory states. Further, the Court of Appeals held, there was no evidence that Congress intended for the Compact to provide a private remedy.

As such, the Second Circuit concluded that “the Compact and its authorizing statute create neither an express nor implied federal private right of action.” The judgment of the district court was accordingly affirmed. See: M.F. v. State of New York Executive Department Division of Parole, 640 F.3d 491 (2d Cir. 2011).

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Related legal case

M.F. v. State of New York Executive Department Division of Parole