Parolee Not Entitled to Visitation, Court Rules

     (CN) – A paroled inmate who fled to Central America before getting recaptured is not entitled to visitation rights, the Idaho Court of Appeals ruled.

     William Lightner was serving a 20-year sentence for lewd conduct with a minor under the age of 16 when he met Marcia, a vendor in his prison. They married in 1997 and William was paroled in 2005.
     While under the court’s supervision, William fled with Marcia to Belize. He was captured and returned to prison to serve his full term. Marcia was also arrested on felony charges of harboring a felon.
     The couple also was cited for inappropriate conduct during their prison visits, including an “inappropriate goodbye” and Marcia appearing in sheer clothing without underwear.
     Ultimately, the couple’s visitation was revoked, and the couple sued Idaho prison officials for $12,500 per missed visit, for a total of $1.5 million.
     The trial court ruled for the prison officials, finding that the Lightners did not go through all the prison channels first.
     Judge Sergio Gutierrez affirmed the decision on appeal.
     “The Idaho Department of Corrections visiting policy does not contain the requisite mandatory language needed to create a liberty interest as it provides no specific limitations on when visiting privileges may be suspended or terminated. In fact, it makes clear that there is no right to visit any inmate,” Gutierrez wrote.

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