Due Process and Parole Revocation

In Morrissey, the Court set the level of due process needed in parole revocations. Specifically, it held that the parolee facing •revocation has a right (a) to receive written notice of the claimed parole violations; (b) to hear the evidence against him; (c) to be heard in person and to present witnesses and documentary evidence; (d) to confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses (unless the hearing officer specifically finds good cause for not allowing the confrontation); (e) to have a neutral and detached hearing body, members of which need not be judicial officers or lawyers; and (f) to be given a written statement by the fact-finders of the evidence relied on and the reasons for revoking parole. A subsequent case added the right to appointed counsel if the hearing body finds that the parolee asserts a “colorable claim” of innocence.

This Note argues that these protections are inadequate and that additional protections are constitutionally required. Specifically, the procedural rights guaranteed in juvenile-delinquency hearings should be extended to parole revocations so that parolees have (a) the privilege against self-incrimination; (b) an unconditional right to counsel; and (c) the protection of the reasonable-doubt standard of proof.