Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Wool v. Pallito

Supreme Court of Vermont

June 29, 2018

Kirk Wool
v.
Andrew Pallito, Commissioner Bernard Carter
v.
Lisa Menard, Commissioner

          On Appeal from Superior Court, Washington Unit, Civil Division Mary Miles Teachout, J.

          Kirk Wool, Pro Se, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, Plaintiff-Appellant.

          Bradley S. Stetler of Stetler, Allen & Kampmann, Burlington, for Plaintiff-Appellant Carter.

          Thomas J. Donovan, Jr., Attorney General, and David McLean (2017-131), Assistant Attorney, Montpelier, and Emily A. Carr, Assistant Attorney General, Waterbury, for Defendant(s)-Appellee(s).

          PRESENT: Reiber, C.J., Skoglund, Robinson, Eaton and Carroll, JJ.

          SKOGLUND, J.

         ¶ 1. Plaintiffs are inmates in the custody of the Department of Corrections who claim that a statute and certain administrative policies enacted after their incarceration operate together to retroactively increase the length of their sentences, in violation of the Ex Post Facto Clause of the United States Constitution. We conclude that plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate an ex post facto violation and therefore affirm the trial court's award of summary judgment to the Department in each case. I. Wool v. Pallito, No. 2017-131

         ¶ 2. Kirk Wool was convicted by jury in 1992 of two counts of aggravated sexual assault. He is currently serving a sentence of twenty-nine to seventy-three years for these and other crimes. His minimum sentence expired in January 2011 and his maximum sentence expires in December 2034.

         ¶ 3. In December 2013, Wool filed a complaint for injunctive relief alleging that the Department violated the Ex Post Facto Clause by classifying him as a Level C offender, thereby denying him access to the programming necessary to be eligible for furlough and parole.[1] He later amended his complaint to claim that the retroactive application of 13 V.S.A. § 5301(7), which categorized his offense as a "listed crime," increased his punishment by foreclosing the possibility of parole.[2] In March 2017, the trial court granted summary judgment to the Department, ruling that this Court's decision in Chandler v. Pallito, 2016 VT 104, 203 Vt. 482, 158 A.3d 296, disposed of Wool's ex post facto claims. Wool appealed.

         II. Carter v. Menard, 2017-274

         ¶ 4. Bernard Carter is serving a sentence of thirty-five years to life for a 1992 aggravated sexual assault. Carter's minimum sentence expired in May 2016. In 2012, the Department determined that Carter had completed the paperwork necessary to enter sex offender treatment programming with a projected start date in May 2014. Had he begun treatment at that time, he theoretically could have completed programming before his minimum sentence expired. In 2013, however, the Department designated Carter as a Level C offender. Since that time, based upon its own directives, the Department has not offered Carter the programming necessary to be eligible for furlough or to be recommended for parole.

         ¶ 5. Carter had his first parole hearing in April 2016. The Parole Board denied Carter's application, noting that Carter was a high-risk sex offender who needed sex offender treatment "to address risks in the community." To improve his chances of being released on parole, the Board stated that Carter should successfully complete sex offender treatment programming and a period of time on conditional reentry, remain free of disciplinary violations, and obtain steady employment and an approved residence.

         ¶ 6. Carter filed a complaint for injunctive relief against the Department in November 2015, alleging that the enactment and application of 13 V.S.A. § 5301(7) and the implementation of the Department's Level C directives retroactively increased his sentence in violation of the Ex Post Facto Clause. In June 2017, the trial court granted summary judgment to the Department on the ground that Carter's case was controlled by our decision in Chandler v. Pallito, 2016 VT 104. Carter appealed. We consolidated his and Wool's appeals for purposes of oral argument and decision.

         III. Standard of Review

         ¶ 7. We review summary judgment decisions de novo, using the same standard as the trial court. In re Carter, 2004 VT 21, ¶ 6, 176 Vt. 322, 848 A.2d 281. Summary judgment is appropriate when, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, there exist no genuine issues of ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.