Thursday, November 5, 2009

Englund v. Sisto, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99629 - grant

Another win for the inmates in Federal Courts. The inmate had already served thirty years of a life sentence, nearly double the amount of time of either Biggs or Irons, when the Board denied him parole.

Thed Federal Court finds the Habeas relief is warranted and the Court GRANTS the Petition. IT IS HEREBY ORDERD that if Petitioner is incarcerated at this time, Respondent shall, within ten (10) days of this Order release Petitioner from custody.

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Englund v. Sisto, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99629

Petitioner is the type of person the Ninth Circuit envisioned in Biggs and Iron whose liberty interest in parole could be at risk. Petitioner had already served thirty years of a life sentence, nearly double the amount of time of either Biggs or Irons, when the Board denied him parole. As in Biggs and Irons, the Board considered Petitioner a "model inmate." See Biggs, 334 F.3d at 912. In fact, the Board admitted on the record that the section 2402 post-conviction factors weighed in favor of paroling Petitioner. It is significant that in denying Petitioner parole for one year, the Board did not advise Petitioner of what he could do to improve his chances of being paroled at his next parole suitability hearing.

In this regard, Petitioner has done everything California law requires him to do to gain parole after thirty years. Cal. Code Regs., tit. 15, § 2402. [*24] According to the Board, the only thing that prevents Petitioner from being paroled is his commitment offense; if the immutable facts of Petitioner's commitment are dispositive, it is not unreasonable to conclude that the Board will again deny Petitioner parole the next time it considers his suitability for parole. This is precisely the scenario Ninth Circuit jurisprudence has sought to avoid. See Marshall, 512 F.3d at 545; see also Sass, 461 F.3d at 1129; see also Irons, 505 F.3d at 854; see also Biggs, 334 F.3d at 917.

Because Prisoner's behavior in custody for the past twenty years has been exemplary and substantially demonstrates rehabilitation, the Shasta County Superior Court's affirmation of the Board's decision thirty years after the commitment offense to deny Petitioner parole solely because of the nature of that offense was an unreasonable application of federal law.

CONCLUSION


"The Court finds that the Board of Prison Term's October 4, 2006, conclusion that Petitioner was unsuitable for parole violated Petitioner's right to due process and that the Shasta County Superior Court's Order affirming that denial constituted an unreasonable application [*25] of clearly established federal law. Accordingly, Habeas relief is warranted and the Court GRANTS the Petition. IT IS HEREBY ORDERD that if Petitioner is incarcerated at this time, Respondent shall, within ten (10) days of this Order release Petitioner from custody.

IT IS SO ORDERED."

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