BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — On Thursday, Nov. 9, a federal judge denied the state’s pardon board decision to allow clemency hearings for death row inmates at Angola Prison.
According to court documents, Chief U.S. Judge Shelly Dick denied the inmates’ request for a preliminary injunction in Middle District of Louisiana court.
The prisoners filed for clemency hearings after the Louisiana Board of Pardons reportedly violated the inmates’ 8th and 14th Amendment rights. They argued that the board had violated their due process and equal protection rights by canceling the clemency hearings. The prisoners also argued that the Board of Pardons “deliberately violated” state law and the board’s policies and procedures. Prisoners accused the board of violating the governor’s orders and entered “a void and unenforceable settlement agreement.”
The board disagrees with how the prisoners viewed the clemency process. According to the court documents, the board noted that the governor’s letter was a request to schedule hearings, not a direct order.
Dick said the inmates didn’t meet the requirements of proving that harm is imminent.
“There is no constitutional right to a clemency hearing, nor is there a right to challenge the Board’s failure to follow its own procedures,” Dick wrote. “Plaintiffs have presented no evidence that they have been denied access to Louisiana’s clemency process.”
To be granted a preliminary injunction, the plaintiff must:
- Be likely to win the case at hand.
- Be of imminent danger if the case doesn’t earn the injunction
The plaintiff’s interest and the burden must be balanced, and the injunction must not negatively affect the public’s interest.
The board conducted five review hearings on Oct. 13, and no case considered earned enough votes to turn into a clemency hearing.