State-Created Liberty Interest in Prisons: What the Court Giveth, The Court also Taketh Away
ABSTRACT The concept of state-created liberty interest has been a part of postconviction jurisprudence for more than 2 decades. When agencies limit their actions through state law, agency rules, or self-imposed regulations, those limitations must be observed; invoking due process where none otherwise constitutionally exists. The article looks at a 1995 United States Supreme Court decision that has had a significant impact on this concept. Sandin v. Conner rejects the “language used” approach to determine whether a state-created liberty interest exists, in favor of the “nature of the deprivation.” This article examines the evolution of state-created liberty interest, what the Court said in Sandin v. Conner, how federal courts of appeals have thus far interpreted Sandin, the problems it has created, and the unresolved issues that have yet to be addressed. It concludes that although due process in prisons is far from dead, Sandin has certainly diminished it.
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ABSTRACT: The 5-to-4 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Kelly v. South Carolina represents an important turning point in the death penalty sentencing procedure. Expanding on their prior ruling in Simmons v. South Carolina, the Supreme Court, in Kelly, determined that a defendant is entitled to a jury instruction regarding parole eligibility when the only alternative to a death sentence is life without parole and the implication of future dangerousness is present. In this article, the controversial Kelly decision is examined, and both the majority opinion and the two dissenting opinions are analyzed. The broad as well as the more specific implications and ramifications of this important decision are presented.The Prison Journal 09/2004; 84(3):395-410. DOI:10.1177/0032885504268187 · 0.40 Impact Factor