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Morrissey v. Brewer

    Brief Fact Summary. Two parolees had their parole revoked.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. Revocation of parole requires “an informal hearing structured to assure that the finding of a parole violation will be based on verified facts and that the exercise of discretion will be informed by an accurate knowledge of the parolee’s behavior.”

    Facts. “Morrisey and Booher were both paroled from Iowa state prisons. Each subsequently had his parole revoked because of violations of parole conditions, and each sued, challenging the revocation procedures. One principal line of attack was that the absence of a revocation hearing violated due process.”

    Issue. “[W]hether the requirements of due process apply to parole revocations.”

    Held. Yes. The Supreme Court first identified “that the liberty of a parolee, although indeterminate, includes many of the core values of unqualified liberty and its termination inflicts a ‘grievous loss.’” Thus, the Court devised an “informal hearing” structure, identifying two critical stages. First, the arrest and preliminary hearing require that “some minimal inquiry be conducted at or reasonably near the place of the alleged parole violation or arrest.” Further, some other unconnected party should determine that “reasonable grounds exist for revocation.” The parolee should be notified.At the revocation hearing proper, “minimum requirements of due process


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