Whiteside v. Ark. Parole Bd (Per Curiam, with Dissenting)Annotate this Case
Appellant Shawn Whiteside was an inmate incarcerated in the Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC). Whiteside filed a petition for judicial review of a decision by the Arkansas Parole Board (Parole Board). Whiteside alleged that the Parole Board considered him for parole and made a final decision declining to grant a transfer to the Department of Community Correction (DCC). He attached a copy of a document in support of that claim, a “Record of Release Consideration,” reflecting a hearing on May 24, 2015, and the denial of a request for reconsideration. Whiteside alleged deprivation of a conditional liberty interest in that the controlling statutes did not allow the ADC discretion in deferring a transfer for the offenses for which he was incarcerated. The circuit court dismissed the petition and counted it as a “strike” under Arkansas Code Annotated section 16-68-607 (Repl. 2005). The court found that Whiteside failed to state a claim on which relief could be granted in that Arkansas Code Annotated section 25-15-212(a) did not allow actions by persons incarcerated in the ADC and Whiteside had failed to demonstrate the requisite liberty interest in order to raise a due-process exception. Whiteside appealed the order, contending he indeed established a liberty interest to support his claim. The Arkansas Supreme Court has "repeatedly held that there is no liberty interest in parole in Arkansas." State statutes may create liberty interests that are entitled to the procedural protections of the Due Process Clause, but not every statute creates a liberty interest for due-process purposes. The Supreme Court found that even if Whiteside were correct in his claim that those inmates who meet the statute’s criteria have a statutorily created liberty interest in transfer or parole, he did not state facts to demonstrate that he has satisfied the statute’s criteria to be qualified for a mandatory transfer. Therefore, the Court affirmed dismissal of Whiteside's petition.