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Name: Hayward v. Marshall
Case #: 06-55392
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 04/22/2010

There is no federal constitutional due process requirement that parole be granted unless there is “some evidence” of future dangerousness. A California prisoner sought relief in federal court after the state appellate courts upheld the denial of his parole. The question before the court was what, if anything, the federal constitution requires as a condition of denial of parole. It compared good time credits and parole and noted they have markedly different characteristics even though they are both early release programs. The former is a fixed entitlement based on past conduct, whereas a the latter is a discretionary award based on assessments of prospective conduct. Unlike the denial of good time credits which implicates due process, the federal constitution does not requires there be “some evidence” supporting the denial of parole. The court overruled any decisions that imply the contrary. That is not to say that a state cannot create a due process right, as does California’s “some evidence” standard. (See In re Lawrence (2008) 44 Cal.4th 1181, and In re Shaputis (2008) 44 Cal.4th 1241.) But, the court declined to decide whether the federal constitution independently establishes a “some evidence” standard as part of the minimum process due to California prisoners under state law.