United States v. Addonizio

PETITIONER: United States
LOCATION: New York State Education Department

DOCKET NO.: 78-156
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

CITATION: 442 US 178 (1979)
ARGUED: Mar 27, 1979
DECIDED: Jun 04, 1979

Frank H. Easterbrook - for petitioner
Leon J. Greenspan - for respondents Whelan and Flaherty
Michael Edelson - for respondent Addonizio

Facts of the case


Media for United States v. Addonizio

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 27, 1979 in United States v. Addonizio

Warren E. Burger:

We'll hear arguments next in United States against Addonizio.

Mr. Easterbrook I think you may proceed whenever you're ready.

Frank H. Easterbrook:

Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court.

This case involves questions about the allocation of authority to determine how long a convicted prisoner remains in jail.

It presents the question whether a District Court can reduce a lawful sentence if the judge determines that a decision by parole authorities frustrated the judge's expectations about when the prisoner would be released.

My argument has a number of strands and my presentation may be clearer if I tell you now where I intend to go during the argument.

After stating the case, I will argue three propositions.

First, there has not been any dramatic change in the practices of parole authorities since respondents were sentenced, consequently, no ones expectation should have been frustrated.

My second proposition is that any subjective expectations of the judge that were frustrated in fact were not legitimate expectations because courts never had a right to insist or even expect that the Parole Commission would exercise its discretion in any particular way so that release would take place at a particular time.

The third proposition is that even if judges had some legitimate expectations about the date of release, they are not entitled to insist that the Parole Commission conform its behavior to those expectations.

Potter Stewart:

And is a party a third point even if they had some legitimate expectations, and even if those -- and even if there has been a change of policy of the parole board nonetheless?

Frank H. Easterbrook:

Yes and my point then is that there is no collateral remedy for that sort of thing.

That there's no collateral limit --

Potter Stewart:

And even if you're mistaken on the first two points, nonetheless?

Frank H. Easterbrook:

Nonetheless, that's the sense in which I intend to present.

William H. Rehnquist:

Where is the phrase of legitimate expectation come from Mr. Easterbrook?

Is it a property right or liberty right?

Frank H. Easterbrook:

The --

Potter Stewart:

Roth against the United -- in Roth.

Frank H. Easterbrook:

-- legitimate has been used in Roth.

It's been used in cases like --

William H. Rehnquist:

You think judges have property rights and liberty rights under Roth?

Potter Stewart:

And their prisoners?

Frank H. Easterbrook:

I don't want to argue that judges have liberty or property rights under Roth.

They're not vindicating their own rights, although there is a strong under current in the Third Circuit's opinion in this case that this case is all about the rights of judges.

That this is about the right of judges to insist on release at a particular time and that it frustrates the legitimate expectations of judges to do anything else.

And in that sense, argument about legitimate expectations and the like responds to what the Third Circuit was talking about.

But I'd like to begin with a short statement of the facts.

Addonizio was the mayor of Newark between 1962 and 1970.

In 1970 he was convicted of 63 counts of extortion, essentially of conspiring with members of organized crime to sell for money his performance of governmental services.