Nevada Court Follows Up On Parole Ruling

The Nevada Supreme Court has followed up on its ruling exempting the Parole Board from the state's open-meeting law with an order making it clear there's no right to parole - and no due process right that could force the release of an inmate.

The order disposed of five actions filed by John Witherow, serving a life term as a habitual criminal. He's the same inmate who filed the suit arguing the Parole Board must follow the open-meeting law.

"It is well settled under Nevada Law that prisoners do not have a right to parole, and any parole standards set by the Legislature or the board cannot act as the basis for a suit against the board or its members," Chief Justice Bill Maupin wrote in the latest ruling.

"Parole is an act of grace of the state. While prisoners may have a protectable due process right to apply for parole, they do not have a protectable due process right in being granted release on parole."

The court ruled that Carson District Judge Bill Maddox properly dismissed Witherow's due process claims and his challenges of state
parole standards and statutes.

And the court ruled Witherow doesn't have the right to "inspect, copy and correct any documents that the board reviewed or relied upon with it revoked his parole."

Witherow, however, won on two points.

First, Maddox must hold a hearing on Witherow's demand for copies of the Parole Board regulations.

If the board has funding to provide a copy, the court ruled he should get one for free. If the board lacks the funding, Witherow would have to pay.

Also, the court reversed Maddox's decision declaring Witherow a "vexatious litigant," a designation reserved for inmates and others who file repeated, frivolous or unfounded lawsuits.