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Criminal Appellate & Post-Conviction Services

Attack on the Michigan Parole Board Continues

The Detroit News reports about a suit filed in the Oakland County Circuit Court by the survivors of Nancy Dailey (the Drinkard family) over negligent supervision of a parolee who killed an innocent citizen. I understand the moral outrage, but this is going to be a tough suit. The U.S. Supreme Court said that negligent supervision of a parolee is not a civil rights violation. Martinez v California, 444 US 277 (1980). See also Waddell v Henry County Sheriff, 329 F3d 1000 (CA 11, 2003) (sheriff not liable for granting early release to a police informant and allowing him to drive where the individual had a history of drunken driving); Osborn v Mason County, 134 P3d 197 (2006) (finding no liability in a similar suit to this one).

A 1987 University of Cincinnati Law Review stated that these suits are difficult to win. Comment, State Liability for Injuries Inflicted by Parolees, 56 U Cinn L Rev 615 (1987) (available for purchase here). Here is an old Department of Justice Report on liability (warning this a large PDF).For other coverage of this case, here is a Detroit Free Press article on the Drinkard suit. The Free Press was also critical of the Department of Corrections in an expose published recently. Here is a link to the CBS news story. Here is M-Live’s version of the event.Mr. Rasor is a good lawyer, but I think this will be a tough suit.