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Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision | Ensuring Public Safety for the 21st Century

Bench Book - 5.2.3 Claims under the Compact Itself

Some federal statutes have their own enforcement mechanism through an express or implied cause of action in the federal statute itself. See Alexander v. Sandoval, 532 U.S. 275 (2001) (applying the test through which a court determines whether a statute creates a freestanding private right of action and determining that no such right of action exists to enforce disparate-impact regulations issued under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964). Courts have concluded that nothing in the Interstate Compact agreement or the underlying federal statute reveals any intent by Congress or the compacting states to create private rights or remedies for offenders. M.F. v. N.Y. Exec. Dep’t Div. of Parole, 640 F.3d 491 (2d Cir. 2011). Along similar lines, a claim styled as one against the Compact itself will be dismissed. Flinn v. Jones, No. 3:17cv653-LC-CJK, 2018 WL 3372043, at *1, *2 (N.D. Fla. June 27, 2018) (“Any claim under the ICAOS, or against the ‘Florida Interstate Compact,’ therefore, is due to be dismissed.”).

Offenders will sometimes argue that the Compact is a contract that creates enforceable rights for third-party beneficiaries—namely, the offenders themselves. Though courts (including the Supreme Court) agree that interstate compacts are contracts, see, e.g., Petty v. Tenn.-Mo. Bridge Comm’n, 359 U.S. 275 (1959), they have not found any express or implied intent by Congress and the compacting states that supervised offenders are intended third-party beneficiaries under ICAOS, see Doe v. Pa. Bd. of Prob. & Parole, 513 F.3d 95, 107 (3d Cir. 2008) (“The Compact speaks of cooperation between states, protection of the rights of victims, regulation and control of offenders across state borders and the tracking, supervision and rehabilitation of these offenders. . . . Doe and similarly situated parolees are not beneficiaries of this Compact; they are merely the subjects of it.”); Cuciak v. Ocean Cty. Prob. Office, No. 08-5222 (MLC), 2009 WL 1058064 (D.N.J. Apr. 20, 2009) (ICAOS creates no private right of action through which a probationer can complain about one state’s failure to effectuate a prompt transfer to another state— which in any event is not ever required under the Compact rules).

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