Sunday, May 19, 2013

In re Stoneroad 4/18/2013: BPH ignored "virtually all" of the Relevant Factors of Suitability

Case Name: In re Stoneroad ,
 District: 1 DCA , Division: 2 , Case #: A132591
Opinion Date: 4/18/2013 , DAR #: 5063

One for the LIFERs!.
The good LIFER case are few and far between, but here the Court chastised the BOARD for ignoring almost all of the Factors of Suitability normally reviewed during a Lifer Parole Hearing. The factors (such as Age, Prior criminal history, Institutional behavior, etc )  from the Title 15 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR). 

IN SUMMARY the Court held:

Board of Parole Hearings' (BPH) decision to deny parole was not supported by substantial evidence of current dangerousness. Petitioner was a life-term inmate serving a sentence for second degree murder. He sought review of BPH's denial of parole. Held: Petition granted; case remanded.

A reviewing court is required to affirm the denial of parole unless BPH's "decision does not reflect due consideration of all relevant statutory and regulatory factors or is not supported by a modicum of evidence in the record rationally indicative of current dangerousness." Here the BPH ignored not just several of the relevant factors, "but virtually all of them." The BPH had available reliable information indicating that almost all of the regulatory factors favoring a grant of parole applied to petitioner, yet its decision denying parole mentioned virtually none of these factors.

 Further, the BPH disregarded favorable psychological evaluations. The gravity of the commitment offense is one of the factors relevant to deciding whether the inmate is suitable for parole insofar as there is a nexus between the offense and current dangerousness. That nexus did not exist here. The BPH's conclusion that petitioner's inability to recall the commission of the life offense reflected he could not understand the factors that caused him to commit it, was not rational in view of his acceptance of responsibility and remorse for the crime, and other evidence demonstrating petitioner's insight into his offense.