Garner v. Jones, 529 U.S. 244, 8 (2000)

Page:   Index   Previous  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  Next

Cite as: 529 U. S. 244 (2000)

Opinion of the Court

ation date three years hence. The change in California law did not, however, prohibit requests for earlier reconsideration based on a change of circumstances. Id., at 512-513. Historical practices within the California penal system indicated "about 90% of all prisoners are found unsuitable for parole at the initial hearing, while 85% are found unsuitable at the second and subsequent hearings." Id., at 510-511 (citing In re Jackson, 39 Cal. 3d 464, 473, 703 P. 2d 100, 105 (1985)). On these facts we determined the Ex Post Facto Clause did not prohibit California from conserving and reallocating the resources that would otherwise be expended to conduct annual parole hearings for inmates with little chance of release. 514 U. S., at 511-512. The sum of these factors illustrated that the decrease in the frequency of parole suitability proceedings "create[d] only the most speculative and attenuated possibility of producing the prohibited effect of increasing the measure of punishment for covered crimes." Id., at 509.

Consistent with the Court of Appeals' analysis, respondent stresses certain differences between Georgia's amended parole law and the California statute reviewed in Morales. The amendment to Rule 475-3-.05(2), respondent urges, permits the extension of parole reconsiderations by five years (not just by two years); covers all prisoners serving life sentences (not just multiple murderers); and affords inmates fewer procedural safeguards (in particular, no formal hearings in which counsel can be present). These differences are not dispositive. The question is whether the amended Georgia Rule creates a significant risk of prolonging respondent's incarceration. See ibid. The requisite risk is not inherent in the framework of amended Rule 475-3-.05(2), and it has not otherwise been demonstrated on the record.

Our decision in Morales did not suggest all States must model their procedures governing consideration for parole after those of California to avoid offending the Ex Post Facto Clause. The analysis undertaken in Morales did identify


Page:   Index   Previous  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  Next

Last modified: October 4, 2007