Facts: Petitioner Jay Pullman Jr. was an incarcerated offender serving concurrent sentences for separate crimes, and sought relief from personal restraint on a claim that he was denied due process of law when the Department of Corrections (DOC) increased his assessed risk level, rendering Pullman ineligible to earn early release time credits at a 50 percent rate. Pullman argues that he had a liberty interest in earning credits at the higher rate, and that the DOC violated his due process rights when it did not give him notice and a hearing on his risk reclassification. Division One of the Court of Appeals denied Pullman’s personal restraint petition (PRP), and the Supreme Court of Washington granted Pullman’s subsequent request for discretionary review.
Question(s): Did Pullman have a liberty interest in earning early release credits at a 50 percent rate?
If so, did the DOC violate Pullman’s due process rights by changing his risk classification without his opportunity to be heard?
Conclusion: Justice Madsen’s opinion for the Court held that under the scheme of “earned early release” in RCW §9.94A.728(1)(b)(ii)(A), Pullman did not have a protected liberty interest in early release time at a 50 percent rate. Since he did not have a liberty interest, the DOC did not violate Pullman’s due process rights. Pullman was afforded all of the procedures guaranteed by the DOC to reclassify his risk assessment, particularly the opportunity to appeal to a superintendent. Therefore, the Court affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeals and Pullman’s PRP was denied.
Petitioner: James Pullman
(Counsel: David L. Donnan and Maureen M. Cyr)
Respondent: State of Washington
(Counsel: Robert M. McKenna, Jay D. Geck, Paul D. Weisser, and Ronda D. Larson)
- Answer to Petition for Review
- Department of Corrections' Response to Pullman's Motion for Release on Personal Recognizance
- Doc Response Brief
- Motion for Disc Review
- Motion for Release
- Reply to Response
- Reply to Response to Personal Restraint Petition
- Second Statement of Supplemental Authority
- Statement of Supplemental Authority
- Supplemental Brief of Petitioner
- Supplemental Respondent
Argument: Thursday, October 30, 2008 2:30pm
[Source: TVW, http://tvw.org]
Audio: Washington Supreme Court
Decided: Thursday, October 8th, 2009
Opinion: 167 Wn.2d 205 (2009)
Court: Alexander4 Court (2008-2009)
Note: We post only slip opinion(s) as published at the time of the decision. Please consult Washington Reports printed volumes for the opinion(s) in their final form. Each opinion should appear next to the Justice who authored it.