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Prisoner Education Guide

Articles by Dale Chappell

Denial of Parole No Basis for Writ of Mandamus in Arkansas

by Dale Chappell

A petitioner’s claim that his rights were violated when he was denied parole is no basis for a writ of mandamus, the Arkansas Supreme Court held on August 3, 2017.

Anthony Warren filed a petition for a writ of mandamus in the Jefferson County Circuit Court on August 5, 2016, contending that his rights were violated when he was denied parole eligibility by the Arkansas Department of Corrections (ADC). The circuit court denied Warren’s petition on November 1, 2016, finding he had failed to establish he had a right to be paroled.

The state Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s denial on appeal, noting that “the purpose of a writ of mandamus is to enforce an established right or to enforce the performance of a duty.” The Court found there was no evidence in the record to support Warren’s contentions for relief; there was no evidence he was subject to a parole hearing, and no evidence of his underlying convictions.

Citing precedent that a petitioner-appellant has the burden to present a sufficient record on appeal, the Supreme Court held it had no choice but to affirm the lower court’s decision based on the record before it ...

Constitutional Claim Required to Trigger Judicial Review Under Arkansas Administrative Procedure Act

by Dale Chappell

A petitioner must state a colorable constitutional claim to trigger entitlement to judicial review under the Arkansas Administrative Procedure Act (APA), the Arkansas Supreme Court held on August 3, 2017.

Jeremy Kennedy filed a pro se petition in the Jefferson County Circuit Court arguing that the Arkansas Parole Board had unconstitutionally denied his transfer eligibility to the Department of Community Corrections in May 2016. The court determined, however, that he did not identify the dates when he committed the offenses underlying his incarceration, and the record was silent as to those dates. Parole eligibility is determined by the law in effect at the time the crime is committed, not the date of conviction. The circuit court found that Kennedy failed to state a claim regarding his parole eligibility and granted the Parole Board’s motion to dismiss. Kennedy appealed.

Reviewing the circuit court’s decision for abuse of discretion, and treating the facts alleged by Kennedy as true, the Supreme Court found the lower court had not abused its discretion when it dismissed Kennedy’s petition because he “failed to state a constitutional claim that triggered entitlement to judicial review under the APA.” Citing its decision in Clinton v ...


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