Weaver v. Graham

LOCATION:Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club

DOCKET NO.: 79-5780
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: Florida Supreme Court

CITATION: 450 US 24 (1981)
ARGUED: Nov 05, 1980
DECIDED: Feb 24, 1981

Thomas C. MacDonald, Jr. – on behalf of the Petitioner
Wallace E. Allbritton – on behalf of the Respondent

Facts of the case


Media for Weaver v. Graham

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument – November 05, 1980 in Weaver v. Graham

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – February 24, 1981 in Weaver v. Graham

Warren E. Burger:

The judgments and opinion of the Court in Weaver against Florida will be announced by Mr. Justice Marshall.

Thurgood Marshall:

This case is here on writ of certiorari in the Supreme Court of Florida.

That Court rejected petitioner’s effort to obtain writ of habeas corpus in which the petitioner challenged the application of a Florida statute enacted after the day of his defense.

That statute reduced the availability of what’s called gain-time for good conduct.

To this gain-time provision, the State rewards each prisoner for good conduct and obedience to prison rules by shortening the portion of his sentence he must serve.

The new Florida statute reduced the amount of his gain-time for good conduct.

We granted certiorari to consider the petitioner’s claim that this reduction violated the constitution ban against ex post facto laws and we hold that the application of Florida’s new gain-time statute to petitioner, it does in fact constitute a violation of the ex post facto ban as applied to petitioner.

The statute alters the consequences of a crime already completed.

For the reasons stated more fully in an opinion filed today with the clerk, we conclude that Florida’s new gain-time provision constricts petitioner’s opportunity to earn early release and thus makes the consequence of his crime worse than when the crime occurred.

The judgment of the Supreme Court of Florida is therefore vacated and the case is remanded.

Justice Blackmun has filed an opinion concurring in the judgment in which the Chief Justice had joined.

Justice Rehnquist has also filed an opinion concurring in the judgment.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you Mr. Justice Marshall.