Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

November 15, 2012

Appeals court refuses to rehear Va. parole lawsuit

Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. — A full federal appeals court will not review a panel decision striking down a lawsuit against the Virginia Parole Board.

In a 2-1 decision in July, a panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond upheld a lower court’s ruling against 11 inmates who claim violent offenders who have been rehabilitated are being illegally denied parole. The inmates asked for a rehearing before the full court, which denied the petition Thursday.

The inmates claim the board has failed to give fair and meaningful consideration to the approximately 6,000 prisoners who remain eligible for early release because they were convicted before parole was abolished in 1995.

Roger Gregory was the only judge voting for rehearing. He said the parole system as described by the plaintiffs is “fundamentally unfair.”