Another win for the Lifers! The Governor can not reverse a finding of Suitability by reaching back to a Prior Board's decision to find evidence for the reversal.
Case Name: In re Ryner , District: 6 DCA , Case #: H035893
Opinion Date: 6/10/2011 , DAR #: 8563
Prior Parole Board decisions are not independent evidence sufficient to support the Governor's current reversal of the Board's finding of parole suitability. At the 2009 parole suitability hearing, the Board of Parole granted petitioner parole. The Board noted that although a 2008 psychological evaluation called for petitioner's further exploration of issues that resulted in the commitment murder offense, petitioner had since addressed these issues.
The Governor, referencing prior Board findings as to the nature of the commitment offense, the 2008 psychological evaluation addressing petitioner's lack of insight into motivation for the murder, and petitioner's failure to avail himself of programs, reversed the Board's ruling, finding appellant continued to represent a threat to public safety.
The appellate court agreed with the superior court's rejection of the Governor's basis for finding petitioner unsuitable for parole. In conducting its review of the Board's decision, the Governor is required to consider the same factors considered by the Board and the opinions of previous Board decisions do not constitute independent evidence of petitioner's suitability for parole.
Remand to the Governor for further action was not a proper remedy in this case because the court's review of the record before the Board and the Governor produced no evidence that would support any action other than petitioner’s release on parole.