Quo Warranto – Denial of Parole Will Not Support a 1983 claim

Turner, et al. v. Ivey, et al., [Ms. SC-2022-0538, July 21, 2023] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2023). The Court (Cook, J.; Parker, C.J., and Stewart, J., concur; Mitchell, J., concurs in part and concurs in the result, which Sellers, J., joins; Shaw, Wise, and Bryan, JJ., concur in the result) affirms the Montgomery Circuit Court’s dismissal of an action filed by Angela Turner, an inmate who was denied parole following a remote parole-consideration hearing in November 2020.

The Court affirms the dismissal of Turner’s quo warranto action challenging the legality of the appointment of Cam Ward as Director of the Board of Pardons and Paroles and the appointment of Leigh Gwathney as chair of the Board pursuant to the new procedures set forth in § 15-22-20(b) Ala. Code 1975. The Court reiterates “‘some security must be provided at the initiation of a quo warranto action and that the ‘failure to give the security at the [initiation] of the proceedings is fatal thereto.’” Ms. *11, quoting Evans v. State ex rel. Sanford, 215 Ala. 61, 62, 109 So. 357, 357 (1926) (underlined emphasis in Turner). “The absence of such security deprives the circuit court of subject-matter jurisdiction over a quo warranto action.” Ms. *10.

The Court also rejects Turner’s 1983 claim and explains because an inmate has no liberty in parole, “the procedures followed in making the parole determination are not required to comport with standards of fundamental fairness.’” Ms. *21, quoting O’Kelley v. Snow, 53 F.3d 319, 321 (11th Cir. 1995), some internal quotation marks omitted. “[E]ven if the members of the Board somehow violated Alabama law by failing to hold an in-person parole hearing for Turner, such a violation is not enough by itself to support a claim under § 1983.” Ibid.

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