Johnson v. District of Columbia, No. 15-5207 (D.C. Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff filed suit alleging that the retroactive application of the 2000 parole guidelines, rather than the 1987 guidelines in effect at the time of his offense, in his parole hearings violated the Ex Post Facto Clause and the Fifth Amendment Due Process Clause.
The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal in favor of defendants, holding that plaintiff's claim for damages failed because the parole officials named as defendants were entitled to qualified immunity. The court also held that the parole commission did not violate plaintiff's due process rights where, even assuming the evidence supporting plaintiff's guilt of the first rape was insufficient to support the denial of parole, it was undisputed that the second rape—his offense of conviction—occurred while he was out on bond. The court held that this alone sufficed to suggest a risk of recidivism and to support a rational determination that his relatively low guidelines range inadequately accounted for the risk he posed. Finally, the court held that the district court properly dismissed plaintiff's Fourth Amendment claim that the arrest warrant was unsupported by probable cause.