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Writ of Habeas: Filed by Leonard Peltier Concerning the Federal Parole Commission Not Setting a Parole Date

Author: Barry Bachrach, Peltier Attorney
Date: January 11, 2004

Web Posted January 15, 2004

The habeas filed by Leonard in the District of Colombia is extremely important to Leonard. As requested, I am writing a summary of the position and why it is a strong case.

 In 1984, Congress passed a sentencing reform act which ultimately provided for the demise of the parole commissionand required the parole commission to establish a firm date of release for all prisoners still within it jurisdiction within five years of the effective date of the act. The commission was required to set the date within the guidlines and within enough time to give the prisoners an opportunity to appeal from the date set by the commission. This statute became effective on November 1, 1987, thus requiring the commission to establish a firm date for parole within guidelines for Leonard prior to October 31, 1992.

Thus, under the applicable statute, as of November 1,1992, the parole commission would have been abolished and Leonard would have been given a release date within guidelines which means he would have been entitled to be released at 200 months, or Novermber 1992(200 months from 2/76). Thirty six days after the statute became effective, congress amended the statute and, as applicable here, the amendment omitted the mandatory release date criteria and reinstated the parole commission and its previously terminated discretion. The Congressional amendment unconstitutionally violated Leonard's rights by Congress' enacting an ex-post facto punishment and a bill of attainder.

In short, once Congress mandated a release of those in Leonard's position within a specific date within guidelines, Congress' subsequent repeal of that statute and its thereby increasing the sentences of those in Leonard's position constitutes a violation of Leonard's Constitutional rights and means he has been unconstitutionally incarcerated since 11/92. He should be immediately released. There is strong law in Leonard's favor, we need to rallyaround this issue and insure that the courts finally give Leonard the justice he is due.

Thanks, Barry Bachrach.


Source: ndn-aim list via C.Camp