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DPA Constitutional Challenge Prevails

Dozens of Kentucky Inmates Released After DPA’s Constitutional Challenge Prevails

Last fall, before the ink on her license was even dry, Miranda Hellman began challenging the constitutionality of KRS 532.400(1)(b), which requires some inmates to receive an additional year of supervision after their sentences are completed.   In March 2018, the Franklin Circuit Court granted Ms. Hellman’s motion and held the statute unconstitutional as it applied to her client, resulting in his release.

Ms. Hellman did not stop there, but went back to court to try to win the release of all inmates being held for violations of the unconstitutional statute. On September 19, 2018, the Franklin Circuit Court entered a permanent injunction ordering Corrections to release all individuals currently incarcerated or on supervision under KRS 532.400(1)(b) and prevented any future application of the statute by DOC.  Rather than follow the order, Corrections went to the Court of Appeals to try to get the order reversed.  On October 31, 2018, a final denial of Corrections’ motion was entered by the Court of Appeals. 

According to Corrections, 54 inmates in custody under the now-void statute will be released immediately and anyone currently on supervision under the statute will also be removed from supervision.  These individuals have served out their sentence in its entirety and are now free.

Last week, the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers presented Miranda Hellman with its “Clarence Darrow Prodigy Award” in recognition of her outstanding work in this litigation. 

 Thanks to the entire team of the DPA Post-Conviction Branch who refused to rest until the injustice of the unconstitutional statute was rectified. There are at least 54 families who will welcome loved ones home because of their work.