Attorney General Thurbert Baker announced today that the U.S. Supreme Court has reached a decision in the Georgia case of Garner v. Jones. The Court released its decision this morning. Senior Assistant Attorney General Chris Brasher argued the case before the Court.
The Supreme Court decision reverses a January 6, 1999 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in the same case. In that decision, the Eleventh Circuit had found that the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles had violated the Ex Post Facto Clause of the federal Constitution by changing its procedures from reconsidering inmates serving life sentences for parole every three years to reconsidering them every eight years. The U.S. Supreme Court found that the change in the length of time between consideration for parole does not necessarily violate the Ex Post Facto Clause, and remanded the case to the Eleventh Circuit.
“While I still believe we need legislation to abolish parole for violent criminals, this decision is important to our efforts to protect Georgians from crimes committed by repeat offenders,” Baker said. “This decision says that criminals are not constitutionally entitled to be considered for parole at certain intervals, and upholds the right of the Parole Board to consider inmates with life sentences every eight years rather than every three years,” he continued.