Morrissey v. Brewer

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Morrissey v. Brewer
Argued April 11, 1972
Decided June 29, 1972
Full case nameMorrissey, et al. v. Brewer, Warden, et al.
Citations408 U.S. 471 (more)
92 S. Ct. 2593; 33 L. Ed. 2d 484; 1972 U.S. LEXIS 19
A parolee's liberty involves significant values within the protection of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and termination of that liberty requires an informal hearing.
Court membership
Chief Justice
Warren E. Burger
Associate Justices
William O. Douglas · William J. Brennan Jr.
Potter Stewart · Byron White
Thurgood Marshall · Harry Blackmun
Lewis F. Powell Jr. · William Rehnquist
Case opinions
MajorityBurger, joined by Stewart, White, Blackmun, Powell, Rehnquist
ConcurrenceBrennan, joined by Marshall

Morrissey v. Brewer, 408 U.S. 471 (1972), was a United States Supreme Court case that provided for a hearing, before a "neutral and detached" hearing body such as a parole board, to determine the factual basis for parole violations. This hearing is colloquially known as a "Morrissey hearing."

The hearing can take place with the defendant in or out of custody. If applicable, a victim may be ordered to testify at a hearing. During the hearing, a member of the Parole Hearing Division reviews the evidence of the violation.[1]

The parolee is usually present and can present witnesses and documentary evidence and ask the victim questions. But in extreme cases the victim can be interviewed outside the parolee's presence. If this happens, the parolee can leave a list of questions for the victim to answer. Evidence including letters, affidavits, and other material that would not be admissible in an adversary criminal trial can be allowed in a Morrissey hearing.[1]

After the hearing, the factfinders issue a written statement as to the evidence relied upon and reasons for revoking parole. The victim can be notified about the outcome.[1]

Brennan and Marshall noted in their concurrence, "The only question open under our precedents is whether counsel must be furnished the parolee if he is indigent."[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "Morrissey et al. v. Brewer, Warden, et al. Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit No. 71-5103" (PDF). US Supreme Court. 29 June 1972. Retrieved 28 May 2019. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.

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