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"3 to Life" Parole Lawsuit (Murphy et al v. Madigan et al)
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Case #: 1:16-cv-11471

This lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of a legal scheme whereby individuals who have been convicted of certain sex-related crimes in Illinois end up serving life sentences in prison as the result of the interactions of various state laws and state agency regulations promulgated by three distinct entities—the Illinois legislature, the Prisoner Review Board (“PRB”) and the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”). In particular, individuals convicted of sex-related crimes who are sentenced to three years to life of mandatory supervised release (“MSR”) find themselves stuck in prison for life as a result of the imposition of unmeetable restrictions on where they can live that must be satisfied in order for such individuals to be released on MSR. The challenged scheme results in what amounts to a Kafkaesque nightmare whereby these individuals are denied any semblance of proportionality in their prison sentences and due process of law. The complaint is asking the court to certify this as a class action, declare the identified statutory schemes to be in violation in the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and enter an injunction prohibiting the Defendants from continuing the unconstitutional policies and practices identified in the lawsuit.

On 2/17/17 the state filed a motion to dismiss the case citing that claims are not ripe for review, that the duration of confinement cannot be challenged in this sort of legal action and that the claims fail on the merits. On 3/14/17 our partner attorneys argued in the response that the plaintiffs in this case do have standing, that the case is properly challenged by this legal action and that the state has not put forth a sound basis for dismissal of the plaintiffs' claims.

On 8/18/17 the judge issued an order denying the State's Motion to dismiss the complaint.  While the court agreed with the state that the claims from the two plaintiffs who are still incarcerated are not ripe for review, the court agreed to allow the lawsuit to proceed on the claims that the state is violating these constitutional rights--Substantive Due Process, Eighth Amendment (protection from disproportionate sentences), Equal Protection (indigent people should be free from bodily restraint just as much as wealthy people) and Procedural Due Process.

The case remains in pre-trial discovery phase at this time and is awaiting certification as a class action.

Legal Documents:

Plaintiff's Reply in Support of Class Action Certification (filed 2/16/18)
State's Answer to Complaint (filed 10/18/17)
Judge Denies Motion to Dismiss (filed 8/18/17)
State's Reply to Response (filed 3/28/17)
Response to  Motion to Dismiss (filed 3/14/17)
State's Motion to Dismiss, Exhibit A (filed 2/17/17)
State's Motion for Oversized Brief (filed 2/17/17)
State's Motion to Dismiss (filed 2/17/17)
Lawsuit challenging "3 to Life" Parole (filed 12/20/16)

For Illinois Sex Offenders, Six Years Can Turn Into Life In Prison (11/24/17 WBEZ Chicago)​
Group of Sex Offenders Sue State of Illinois for Extended Imprisonmen t (12/30/16 WBEZ News)
Class action: IL supervised release policies unjustly effectively keep sex offenders in prison 'for life' (12/29/16 Cook County Record)
Sex Offenders Say Illinois Parole System Is Broken(12/22/16 Court House News)

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