Attorneys for Faye Brown and Alford Jones argued that when the two were sentenced in the 1970s life terms were defined as “80 years” by the legislature. They maintained over time credits for their work and good behavior cut their sentences in half.
In a 5-2 ruling, the high court determined that regardless of such merit time, there was no regulation explicitly stipulating that the credits were to be used to calculate an unconditional release date.
Associate Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson wrote in her dissent that the decision “offends” common notions of fundamental fairness:
This decision violates the DOC’s own regulations and policies, Jones’s constitutional rights, and the doctrine of separation of powers. And by doing so, I fear that a cornerstone of our legal system, the writ of habeas corpus, is devalued.
You can read the full opinion here.