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Prisoner challenges parole board

Posted: Friday, March 22, 2019. 7:54 am CST.

Aaron Humes: This week, prison inmate Hillaire Sears sued the Parole Board for an alleged breach of his constitutional rights. Sears was convicted of manslaughter for a March 2001 incident, eighteen years ago. He was released on parole after serving ten years’ imprisonment.

 But he is presently imprisoned again, accused of violation of one of his parole conditions – that he does not use any drugs. He was tested positive for cannabis use and was held for nearly two months before being told his parole would be revoked.

 Attorney, Leslie Mendez, says that the Parole Board did not follow procedures, before handing down the decision. Mendez says that the board violated her client’s right as Sears was not given the opportunity to have his case heard. Sears remains at the Belize Central Prison and Mendez presented her arguments before Supreme Court Justice Michelle Arana.

 Mendez says her client was improperly detained by prison guards before any action was taken on his parole, and that the board failed to give Sears an opportunity to be heard. In the granting of parole, she adds, the main consideration is any threat to public safety. Under the relevant act, the board has other options such as adding conditions to address the risk or breach instead of taking the ultimate step.

Justice Arana has reserved judgment.

 

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