Supreme Court Clarifies Procedures For Inmates Disputing Parole Eligibility

Friday, May 25, 2012

In a unanimous opinion, the Tennessee Supreme Court clarified the procedures an inmate must follow to dispute the determination of parole eligibility for consecutive sentences. 

The case arose when Danny A. Stewart was convicted in 2002 of multiple drug-related offenses and received an aggregate sentence of 42 years at 30 percent. The Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) calculated his release eligibility date as March 8, 2010. After the Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole (BOPP) denied him parole, Stewart filed a petition for common law writ of certiorari naming TDOC and BOPP, among others.

He argued that BOPP should have conducted custodial parole hearings and that TDOC should have assigned a release eligibility date to each of his sentences, rather than a single release eligibility date for the aggregate sentence.

Today, the Tennessee Supreme Court clarified that TDOC and BOPP are separate entities with distinct roles. TDOC is responsible for calculating release eligibility dates, and BOPP decides whether to release inmates on parole. Inmates may obtain judicial review of these decisions, but the procedure differs.

To gain review of TDOC’s decision, an inmate must first seek a declaratory order from TDOC before filing an action in court. An inmate may challenge BOPP’s decision in court by filing a petition for a common law writ of certiorari, but the court’s review will be very limited.

Stewart was denied relief on his claim against TDOC because he filed in court before seeking a declaratory order, and his claim against BOPP was dismissed because he failed to allege grounds for relief under the common law writ of certiorari.

To read the Danny A. Stewart v. Derrick D. Schofield, Commissioner, Tennessee Dept. of Corrections opinion authored by Chief Justice Cornelia A. Clark, visit

Police Blotter: Clerk Sees Man Outside With Gun, Mask; Woman's Alabama Decal Again Defaced

A manager at the Cricket Cellphone Store on E. 3rd Street said the store was in the process of closing and he had locked the front doors of the business. He then observed an unknown black male pulling on the locked doors. It appeared the male had a gun in his left hand. The manager said he never did open the door because the man looked suspicious. The black male was described as ... (click for more)

Dalton Police Investigate Pedestrian Fatality Thursday Night

The Dalton Police Department is investigating a crash that killed a pedestrian Thursday night. Early indications are that the victim was attempting to cross Chattanooga Road near the intersection with Tibbs Road and ran in front of a pickup truck. Investigators believe alcohol may have been a factor.  The crash happened around 8 p.m. on Thursday in the area of the Motel ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Airport Needs To Upgrade Its TSA PreCheck Benefits

Dear Mr. Jacobson and Mr. Hart,  I am a lifelong Chattanoogan who enjoys traveling. Since the birth of my toddler son in April 2016, my husband and I have been frequent patrons of the Chattanooga Airport for almost all of our flights, both business and pleasure, as this saves us time and is very convenient. In fact, our 22-month-old son has flown 24 segments with us in his ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

As your dress in your best green outfit today so you can join in the Saint Patrick’s Day revelry, here’s a conversation that was overhead at an Irish pub in Killarney. Finnegan is sitting in his favorite corner, using some of the proceeds after selling his friend Michael a donkey. Suddenly Michael bolts in the door and yells, “Hey, Finnegan, that donkey you sold me went and died.' ... (click for more)

Scott Chandler Named Ooltewah Football Coach

Ooltewah High School is honored and privileged to name the new head football coach. After several quality applicants, the football search committee has decided to name Scott Chandler to this position. He brings great passion, knowledge, and experience to this football team and its staff. His belief system is impeccable, and because of this, he will bring great pride and ... (click for more)

Lady Vols Soar Past Liberty, 100-60

KNOXVILLE -- No. 12/13-ranked Tennessee soared past Liberty, 100-60, as the No. 3 seed Lady Vols scored their highest point total in an NCAA Tournament game since 2006 when they defeated Army, 102-54.   Rennia Davis led UT (25-7) with 18 points and 11 rebounds, marking her ninth career double-double and tying her with Tamika Catchings for the fifth most double-doubles ... (click for more)