Monday, December 29, 2014

Brown has allowed parole for 1,963 LIFERs — more inmates than 4 previous governors released, but....

The LA Newspaper Article  states:     
As more inmates are released from prison, more parolees return!

A Stanford University study found that among 860 inmates with life sentences who were paroled from 1995 to 2010, five (5) returned to prison with new felony charges. Since 2011, at least 50 inmates with life sentences, including 33 paroled under Brown, returned to prison or jail, accused of drug use, domestic violence, theft, even attempted murder.

LIFER Support Groups are available to help LIFER's not to relapse to their OLD ways! With more LIFER getting Grants of Parole by Governor Brown and his Commissioners (aka "The BOARD")  let's make sure LIFERs do not disappoint the upcoming LIFER candidates and let's keep the Recidivism rate of Lifers UNDER 1%. 

It is more crucial now  then ever to provide LIFERs with help after their Release. There are Newsletters and great Support Systems throughout California for Lifers. This includes Transitional Housings, such as:


The Francisco Homes
Sister Theresa Groth, Executive Dir.
POB 7190
Los Angeles, CA 90007

Health Right 360         to name just a few!
2307 West 6th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90057

Under Facebook search for:    (NOTE: Great resource enumerated on a daily basis.)
"California's Parole Suitability Hearing Support" 
" Life Support Alliance"

**LSA (Life Support Alliance) started a 2nd LSA Newsletter named AFTER*LIFE.
Email (or mail) LSA at to be added to the Newsletter.

David Sloane, Former Lifer Enjoying Life
P. O. Box 277
Rancho Cordova, CA 95741

**LSA: An advocacy group working "hard" for change in the present parole board policy of finding life-term prisoners unsuitable - more often than not. They support the return of parole suitable lifers to our communities and are prepared to assist in their reintegration.

Friday, November 14, 2014

PROP 47 - Do LIFERS get help with PROP 47, voted in 11/4/2014?

PROP 47 - Do  LIFERS get help with PROP 47, voted in 11/4/2014?
Short answer. Not likely.

A Serious and/or Violent felony will disqualify most LIFERS from Prop 47. In addition, the person must not have a prior conviction that would raise a property or drug-possession crime to a straight felony or wobbler.  See *** disqualifying felony list below

On November 4, 2014, California voters passed Proposition 47, which enacts the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act. It reduces a number of low-level theft and drug offenses to straight misdemeanors unless the defendant has specified prior convictions.  Proposition 47's effective date is November 5, 2014. (See Cal. Const., art. II, § 10(a).)  The rules for resentencing under Proposition 47 are in Penal Code § 1170.18.

Many Statues have been Amended and Added by Proposition 47.  In addition, under Proposition 47, CDCR prisoners who were convicted and sentenced for felonies under the old version of the laws can ask the superior court that sentenced them to reduce their crimes to misdemeanors and resentence them. Proposition 47 does NOT automatically reduce the property or drug-possession crimes of
people who have already been convicted and sentenced. A person who was previously convicted of a
felony must file a petition asking the court for resentencing to a misdemeanor term. If the person is
still serving the felony sentence, the court can choose to deny the petition and keep the conviction as a
felony if it finds that resentencing would pose an unreasonable risk of danger to public safety. There is a three-year deadline, so the petition should be filed on or before November 4, 2017;

In deciding if the person is dangerous, a court may consider the following factors: the prisoner’s criminal history, including the types of crimes committed, the extent of injury to victims, the length of prior prison terms, and the remoteness of the prior crimes; the prisoner’s disciplinary record and record of rehabilitation while incarcerated; and any other evidence the court decides is relevant to public safety concerns. Does this Sound familiar to Prop 36 review standard?, among others. See Prop 36 comment below.

*** Serious and violent felonies disqualifying LIST below:

Serious and violent felonies disqualify a person from the reduced penalties under Proposition 47. The disqualifying crimes listed in Penal Code § 667(e)(2)(C)(iv) are:

– A "sexually violent offense" per Welf. & Inst. Code § 6600(b). "Sexually violent offense" means the following crimes when committed by force, violence, duress, menace, fear bodily injury, or threat of retaliation: Pen. Code §§ 261, 262, 264.1, 269, 286, 288, 288a, 288.5, or 289 or Pen. Code §§ 207, 209, or 220 committed with the intent to violate §§ 261, 262, 264.1, 286, 288, 288a, or 289
– Oral copulation, sodomy, or sexual penetration with a child under age 14 and more than 10 years younger than the defendant (Pen. Code §§ 286, 288a, 289)
– Lewd or lascivious act with a child under age 14 years (Pen. Code § 288)
– Murder or gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated (Pen. Code §§ 187-191.5)
– Solicitation to commit murder (Pen. Code § 653f).
– Assault with a machine gun on peace officer or firefighter (Pen. Code § 245(d)(3))
– Possession of a weapon of mass destruction (Pen. Code § 11418)
– Any serious or violent felony punishable by life imprisonment or death.

 PROP 36 - interesting legal interaction:

Many Statues have been Amended and Added by Proposition 47, see Penal Code § 1170.18. The Statute(s) states that this definition of "danger to public safety" applies "throughout this Code." Thus, third strikers who are seeking resentencing pursuant to the Three Strikes Reform Act of 2012 (Proposition 36) can argue that the Proposition 47 definition of dangerousness applies in their cases. Three-strikers who have already been denied resentencing under Proposition 36 based on findings of dangerousness may be able to get their cases re-heard if the courts applied "some other" definition of dangerousness.

Any inmate considering filing a Court Petition for a re-sentencing Hearing, should hire an attorney experienced with Post-Conviction and Parole expertise since the Court will be looking at the  " infamous" unreasonable risk of danger to public safety.  Attorney Diane T. Letarte has over 13 years experience in  Post Conviction remedies. Inmates, filing a petition on their own, or using a jailhouse lawyer to file a petition, may not provide the best chance of getting the crime or sentence reduced.


NOTE: We would like to acknowledge that the Prop. 47  information gathered herein was researched and reprinted in part from Prison Law Office (PLO) AND  the Central California Appellate Program (CCAP).

Friday, October 31, 2014

LIFERs Administrative Review (AR) and Petition to Advance (PTA)

Since the In re Vicks (2013) case challenging Marsy's Law, BPH hase gone into a "spin" (see AR & PTA section below) to avoid a possible win (by the Lifers)  in the Federal case Gilman vs Brown (2/28/14) challenging Marsys' law - as applied.

Michael D. Vicks contended that application of the new parole procedures to prisoners who committed their crimes prior to the enactment of Marsy’s Law violates the ex post facto clauses of the federal and state Constitutions. (U.S. Const., art. I, § 10, cl. 1; Cal. Const., art. I, § 9.)  He challengeg the amendments both on their face and as applied to him.  Unfortunately the CA Supreme Court did not think there was anything wrong with applying this 2008 voted in Marsy's Law to Lifers that had already been sentenced BEFORE this law was enacted.Vicks was lost at the CA SUPREME court....

What does Unconstitutional  "AS APPLIED" mean for means that if the Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) do not start using the available tools such as the Petition to Advance (PTA)  and the Administrative Power to recall inmate to a Parole Hearing earlier than their 3 to 15 year Denial,  then  Marsys's law may BE Unconstitutional "AS APPLIED" given a longer punishments (incarceration)  to the LIFERS.

......Stay tune for the continuing Marsy's law battle in the Federal Court. Gilman vs Brown (2/28/14)  CIV. S-05-830 LKK/CKD. In summary,  Plaintiffs assert that Propositions 9 (Marsy's Law) and 89  (Governor veto power) have retrospectively increased their punishments, in violation of the Ex Post Facto Clause of the U.S. Constitution.


**Thanks to all the Hard work of LIFE SUPPORT ALLIANCE (LSA, Vanessa and staff) we can provide the Grant rates of these tools. Since July 2012 the BOARDS's legal team now reviews most 3-year denials approximately 12 months after the hearing and may recommend advancing the Hearing earlier then the original denial years. This Administrative Review (ARs) will verify if significant progress is perceived, if yes the LIFER will be notified  (SUA SPONTE - no action on the LIFER's part) that his hearing will be advanced.

BELOW are the GRANT RATES for both ARs and PTAs. Originally (2009) the PTA grant rates were around 2% when Marsys' law was voted in 2008. BPH officials are reporting that 58% of PTAs submitted by Inmates are approved. In turn, of those advanced BPH hearings via the PTA (BPH 1045 form) are granted at the rate of 24% AND via the AR system they are granted at the rate of 29.5%.

58% Grant on the PTA -- A much improved rate from the 2% PTA grant of 2009-2011 or so. The MESSAGE HERE...and rule of thumb - if the inmate is denied at their hearing make sure the inmate (or the Attorney filing the PTA) reviews the reason why the BOARD denied the inmate in the first place and correct all those flaws then apply for the PTA - there will be a 58% s/he will get a new hearing.

Monday, August 18, 2014

DSL or ISL (aka LIFERs) - Elderly Parole Program to Start October 1, 2014

On February 10, 2014, the Three Judge Panel in the Plata/Coleman class action
lawsuit ordered CDCR to finalize and implement a new parole process whereby elderly inmates will be referred to the Board of Parole Hearings (board) to determine suitability for parole.The procedures for the new Elderly Parole Program will affect parole suitability hearings scheduled on or after October 1, 2014

Below is an Excerpt of the BHP Memo that came out earlier in June 2014 on the
ELDERLY PAROLE PROGRAM. The full (BPH memo) can be read at Attorney Diane Letarte's Website. Make sure to hire an Experienced Attorney that understand the Hallmarks of our Elderly population, who can properly present the special consideration along with any Medical issues that are relevant to the Commissioners during deliberation at the Parole Hearing.

 Inmates who are 60 years or older and who have  been incarcerated for  25 years or  more are  eligible for  the  Elderly Parole Program.  Eligible inmates may be serving an   indeterminate (ISL aka Lifers) or a determinate sentence (DSL).

CRITERIA to be considered at Parole Hearing:
During the administrative review and the petition to advance (PTA) processes, the board will give special consideration  to eligible  inmates advanced age, long-term confinement, and diminished physical condition, if any exist.
Marsy's Law (Prop 9) Still applies:
If an eligible inmate is denied parole, the denial length will be set pursuant to Penal Code section 3041.5(b)(4) (“Marsy’s Law”) for 3, 5, 7, 10, or 15 years.
Psychological Risk Assessments:
Inmates who are scheduled for a Elderly hearing on or after October 1, 2014,  will receive a new  or revised Psychological risk  assessment , which will  specifically address how the inmate’s  advanced  age,  long-term  confinement, and diminished physical condition, if any,  may  impact the inmate’s  potential  risk  for future violence.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Federal judge declared California's death penalty unconstitutional - 748 CA inmates on Death Row

This is a partial REPRINT of the SF Gate.  See SF Article

See also the LA times article.

A federal judge declared California's death penalty unconstitutional Wednesday, saying delays of 25 years or more in deciding appeals and carrying out occasional executions have created an arbitrary and irrational system that serves no legitimate purpose.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney of Santa Ana was limited to a single case and had no immediate impact on executions statewide, which have been halted by federal courts since 2006 because of multiple problems in lethal injection procedures.

But if upheld on appeal, the decision would end a California capital punishment system that has been approved by the voters three times - in 1972, 1978 and 2012, when an initiative to abolish the death penalty lost by four percentage points. Despite voter sentiment, the death penalty in California has rarely been implemented in recent decades.

The state has the nation's largest Death Row, with 748 inmates, and its lowest execution rate, with 13 inmates put to death since 1992.

STAY TUNE: This case has the potential to be a very important one for CA Death Row inmate.

          (San Quentin being the major housing for the Death row inmate in CA)

Monday, June 30, 2014

ANNUAL LIFER BBQ at City Buena Park - Fun had by ALL

The second annual lifer picnic sponsored by Eccher and Chandler Consulting (that would be Gary “Red” Eccher and Keith Chandler, both former LIFERs) gets better every year, with the typical hot dog and burger BBQ style and with the additional bonus food from pizza to fried chicken, a long list of Veggies too (on the healthier side of snacks) great weather with a cool breezes in a typical Southern Sunny California day.

I can not say it better than (LSA) Vanessa Sloane: "Some parolees had been out only a few days, some several years, but all were united by the fellowship only earned through surviving the crucible of prison and parole."

                Sister Mary Sean (PREP program), Attorney Diane Letarte and Vanessa Sloane (LSA)

                                                   Do you recognize any of these LIFERs?
                                           If you have been to AVENAL, 5 YARD - you might?
                                These were some of the "Former Resident" as we like to call them!
                     Even our Friendly LIFER Companion watch intensively the Ad Hoc Football game

                                       LIFER's Football game at Buena City Park Annual BBQ

        (FRONT row):  Diane Letarte, Marc Norton, (not pictured Debbie Page and Jared Einsentat)
                              A number of Lifer Attorneys attended the party sponsored by (ECC).
                                (BACK row):  Gary "Red" Eccher and Keith Chandler Consulting)

                  STAY tune for a BLOG posting on
                  UPCOMING: Elderly Hearing and Expanded Medical Release

Friday, May 23, 2014

PLATA (COLEMAN) THREE-JUDGE Federal COURT: (CDCR) Defendants' May 2014 update

DEFENDANTS’ MAY 2014 STATUS REPORT  IN RESPONSE TO FEBRUARY 10, 2014 PLATA ORDER,  is submitted by CDCR's General Counsel and summarized below.
The State submits Monthly status reports on the current in-state and out-of-state adult prison populations and the measures being taken to reduce the prison population in response to the Court’s February 10, 2014 Order Request for Extension of December 31, 2013 Deadline. 
Steps CDCR (Defendants) are taking to implement the measures designed to reduce the prison population detailed in the February 10, 2014 order and the status of these measures.
1. Contracting for additional in-state capacity in county jails, community correctional
facilities, and private prison(s).
2. Re-entry Hubs:  The State has activated ten (10) prison-based reentry hubs at Avenal State Prison, California Institution for Men, California Men's Colony, Correctional Training Facility, ChuckawallaValley State Prison, Ironwood State Prison, Substance Abuse Treatment Facility at Corcoran, California Institution for Women, Central California Women's Facility, and Folsom Women’s Facility.
3. Newly-enacted legislation: SB260 (Youth Offender hearing) and P36 (Three strikes, re-sentencing for certain qualifying third-strike inmates whose third strike was not serious or violent)
 4. Prospective credit-earning increase for non-violent, non-sex second-strike offenders and minimum custody inmates.
5.  New parole determination process whereby non-violent second-strikers will be eligible
for parole consideration by BPH once having served 50% of their sentence.
6.  Parole determination process for certain inmates with indeterminate sentences granted parole with future parole dates. BPH authorizes the release of inmates who are granted parole with future dates and continues to identify additional potentially eligible inmates who have already been found suitable for parole by BPH.
7.  Parole process for medically incapacitated inmates. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), in partnership with the federal Plata Receiver, is responsible for health care services to all inmate patients. GOOD NEWS: The Receiver’s Office is beginning to review inmates and has agreed to send completed recommendations to CDCR beginning this month
8.  Parole process for inmates 60 years of age or older having served at least 25 years.
9.  Re-entry program Governor's May revision of the Fiscal Year 2014/2015 budget increased the proposed funding for the expansion of reentry programs from $40 million to $49 million - Budget not passed yet.
10. Expanded alternative custody program for females: The State expects to bring an 82 bed facility in San Diego on line in the summer of 2014.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

GRANT rate for Lifers looking up! -CONGRATS to Attorney Letarte who hit a 80% GRANT rate @ CVSP March 2014

Recently the BPH released a report entitled “2013 Significant Events”. Of interest was the number of grants or percentage of grants made last year. According to official BPH (Board of Parole Hearings) numbers 4,168 parole hearings were scheduled in 2013, which resulted in 590 grants and 1,448 denials, with the remainder of the number of scheduled hearings being either postponed, waived, stipulated or another non-decision rendering outcome.

The raw numbers translate to a grant rate of approximately 14%. Although 14% grant rates makes  PC 3041 (b) EXCEPTION swallow the rule but at least GRANT rate is going "up". See Ca Penal Code 3041(b) it states in part:

"The panel or the board, sitting en banc, shall set a release
date unless it determines that the gravity of the current convicted
offense ........ is such that consideration of the
public safety requires a more lengthy period of incarceration..." 

Although Attorney Diane T. Letarte does not keep statistics but she was very please with her rare "State Appointed week" at CVSP, in the latter part of March 2014. Of the 5 State appointed cases assigned assigned to Attorney Letarte, in 2 consecutive days - 4 of her 5 clients - were found SUITABLE and granted parole. That is an unprecedented 80% grant rate for Attorney Letarte's clients.  Attorney Letarte is very well known by the LIFERs at CVSP. She receives 100's of letters yearly from inmates from all 34 State Prisons. Attorney Letarte describes CVSP as her "home-base"  to represent Lifers. Attorney Letarte has been representing Parolees and Lifers for approximately 15 years. The last 7 years have been mostly Privately retained Lifers and on occasions she accepts 1 to 2 weeks of "state appointed" or Pro Bono Lifer cases.

To put a perspective on the GRANT rates. Ten years ago, in 2003, Attorney Letarte remembers the grant rate at approximately 3%, a rate that makes 14% look pretty good. Five years ago, in 2008, the year of Marsy’s Law enactment, the grant rate was a  4-5%. It wasn’t until 2012 that the number of lifers granted parole topped 500, when 670 were paroled. (1, footnote below)

CURRENT 12 COMMISSIONERS: Results from last year show all 12 currently sitting commissioners have grant rates within a 14 point spread, from a low of 22% to a high of 38.8%, with most commissioners individually hovering around the low 30s percentage rate.While the average denial length is 3 years, long denials (10 or 15 years) are of great concern. It is therefore imperative to retain an EXPERIENCED attorney to avoid such long Denial terms. DO NOT GO TO A PAROLE HEARING WITHOUT PROPER PREPARATION - IT DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE! -  

Good and reliable information as been recently discovered on FACEBOOK (2) by Attorney Letarte  from the families of the incarcerated (support group).   see FB "California's Parole Suitability Hearing" Support on FACEBOOK.

(1)  A big Thank You to Venessa Nelson with LSA (Lifer Support Alliance) for the Statistic updates on the Grants. LSA can be contacted at:

Saturday, March 8, 2014

GILMAN V. BROWN Declares Prop 9 (Marsy's law) and Prop 89 (Gov. veto power) Violates Ex post Facto rights!!!

**** SEE OUR NEW 2/22/16 GILMAN Update post (Blog February 2016)

Gilman vs Brown (2/28/14)  (click to read the 58 page ORDER) 
CIV. S-05-830 LKK/CKD 

As John Dannenberg told me "This is a humdinger!  It is stayed pending filing of an appeal, and probably will spend a year or two in the appeals process, but is factually very strongly supported" [ for  the LIFERS!]

In summary,  Plaintiffs assert that Propositions 9 and 89 have retrospectively increased their punishments, in violation of the Ex Post Facto Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The case is a pleasure to read. It is brilliant that the Rutherford class of inmates were used by the Plaintiffs (inmates) to show the ACTUAL increase in punishments that all those Lifers suffered because of Prop 9. A somewhat detailed description of the Rutherford litigation was useful because that subset of the class certified in In re Rutherford (Cal. Super. Ct., Marin County, No.SC135399A),  is representative of the Proposition 9 class certified in this GILMAN case

As a reminder:  In re Rutherford  (2004 civil class Action by the Prison Law Office) there was a complaint that all prisoners serving indeterminate terms of life with the possibility of parole  (LIFERS) had not received timely parole hearings within the time required by California Penal Code §§3041 and 3041.5.The Rutherford ORDER was to eliminate all the back log of Parole Hearings where some inmates were allowed to go forward with their parole hearing BEFORE the application of Prop 9. Bottom line of that class analysis [done in GILMAN] is that those pre-prop 9 inmate were release sooner "in general" then the post-prop 9 inmates.Hence the increase in the punishments as applied by the Board in the GILMAN case analysis.  

REMEDY from the Court:
Plaintiffs’ surviving requests are for (a) a declaration that defendants have denied plaintiffs’ rights under the Ex Post Facto Clause of the U.S. Constitution, and (b) injunctive relief.

The court accordingly DECLARES that Proposition 9, (aka Marsy's Law) as implemented by the Board, violates the ex post facto rights of the class members. (i.e. Lifer inmates)

The court further DECLARES that Proposition 89, as implemented by the governors of California, violates the ex post facto rights of the class members. (i.e. Lifer inmates)

This civil case in the Federal Court is on HOLD until the appeal process is completed. This could take a year, but let's keep our fingers cross for a faster resolution from the Courts so that attorneys can start citing this case and the Board will "step inline" and follow the law. If Marsy's Law  (Prop 9) is stricken down as unconstitutional then the DENIAL periods should roll back to the 1, 2, 3, 4 , 5  vs. the current 15, 10 , 7, 5, 3 year denials at Parole Suitability Hearings. Furthermore, if Prop 89 (veto power of the governor to reverse Grants) are stricken done then maybe the Commissioners will be left to do their JOBS without the threat from the Governor and it will hopefully eliminate "some" the Conflicts of Interest with the Governor's Office.

 YES YES YES - i am a little excited about this case for my LIFER clients. Marsy's law "as applied" is unconstitutional....   REALLY !   LOL

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Three-Federal Judge Court (PLATA) SOCKS it to Governor Brown to Release more inmates including qualified LIFERS!

PLATA vs BROWN    Extension ORDER (click here to see ORDER)
NO. 2:90-cv-0520 LKK DAD (PC)
REF:  PRISON Over Crowding issues.

Federal Court partially grants the extension of time to comply with the original court Order for the prison population reduction benchmark....but adds CONDITIONS. 

See saignant points (below) of the Court Order that will finally be affecting LIFER inmates.
Talk about SB260 Youth hearings. What about Elderly Hearings, if over 60 years old and served minimally 25 years of the sentence..... Stay Tune Coming Soon.

CDCR will meet the following interim and final population reduction benchmarks:
(a)  143%    of design bed capacity by June 30, 2014;
(b) 141.5% of design bed capacity by February 28, 2015; and
(c) 137.5% of design bed capacity by February 28, 2016.

Defendants (i.e. Governor via BPH and CDCR)) shall also immediately implement the following measures:
(c) Parole certain inmates serving indeterminate sentences (LIFERS) who have
 already been granted parole by the Board of Parole Hearings but have future       parole dates;
(d)  In consultation with the Receiver’s office, finalize and implement an expanded parole process for medically incapacitated inmates;
(e) Finalize and implement a new parole process whereby inmates who are 60 years of age or older and have served a minimum of 25 years of their sentence will be referred to the Board of Parole Hearings to determine suitability for parole;

(h) Implement an expanded alternative custody program for female inmates.
 The Court will appoint a Compliance Officer for the purpose of bringing
defendants into compliance with any missed benchmark by ordering inmate releases. If compliance with any benchmark is not achieved within a 30-day period following the expiration of any missed benchmark, the Compliance Officer shall, within seven days, direct the release of the number of inmates necessary to achieve compliance with the missed benchmark and the measures to be followed in selecting the prisoners to be released. The authority of the Compliance Officer shall extend no further than ordering defendants to release inmates necessary to ensure defendants’ compliance with any missed benchmark.
 9. To the extent that any state statutory, constitutional, or regulatory provisions,
except the California Public Resources Code, impede the implementation of this order or defendants’ ability to achieve the population reduction benchmarks, all such laws and regulations are waived. Although the Court does not issue a general waiver of the Public Resources Code, defendants may request waivers, as the need arises, of these statutory provisions that are tailored to specific projects.

10. This Court shall maintain jurisdiction over this matter for as long as is
necessary to ensure that defendants’ compliance with the 137.5% final benchmark is durable, and such durability is firmly established.

11. Defendants shall, within 60 days of the date of this order, file with the Compliance Officer under seal, the categories of prisoners who are least likely to reoffend or who might otherwise be candidates for early release (the “Low Risk List”) that this Court  previously ordered them to create. The Low Risk List shall not be viewed by the Compliance Officer unless and until he or she is ordered to do so by this Court. Similarly, this Court will not inspect the list unless circumstances so warrant. Defendants shall file an amended list every 60 days, should changes to the list become appropriate.

Dated: 02/10/14                      SIGNED by the 3 Federal Judges

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

SB 260 - Youth Opportunity Parole Hearings (YOPH) UPDATE

The new law has been codified in the California Penal Code Sections 3014, 3046, 3051 and 4081. BPH is busy bringing all those entitled to a YOP hearing to their first appearance before the Board for the YOPH.

If you were under 18 at the time of the life crime and have not committed certain serious crimes after turning 18, your next and all future hearings will be YOPHs, at which, great weight must be given "to the diminished culpability of juveniles as compared to adults, the hallmark features of youth, and any subsequent growth and increased maturity" in determining your parole suitability.  [NOTE: Inmates do not qualify if they are LWOP or a death penalty]. This is a brand new process, below is a description of my first exposure from the outside looking in.

SB 260 - Youth Opportunity Parole Hearings (YOPH) are on their way!

Attorney Diane T.  Letarte was at CMC, last week [January 17, 2014] where the 2 member Panel (including Commissioner Anderson) were busy away ...doing their first SB260 - Youth Opportunity Parole Hearing at 8:30am. My non-SB260 client and I waited patiently for our 10:30 am regularly Parole Suitability hearing to start. The Youth Parole hearing took almost 5 hours to complete. We did not start our Parole Hearing until 2 pm in the afternoon. Once started, I requested that the Panel apply In Re Butler  (Base Term calculation) to which I was told they had not been trained on In Re Butler  yet (and to table this objection for now).  Fortunately, the wait was a Blessing.... after the previous 8:30 am agonizing SB 260 hearing, the Commissioners welcomed this Regular Parole Hearing and stated (after the Decision was rendered) that my client was an "easy case" ------ WE GOT A GRANT! my client was found Suitable. Even with the 2 concurrent LIFE sentence, my client was given 6 month credits  (per clean year) and the "release date" was calculated to a date that was already passed!  It was my client's first Subsequent hearing. Hourrayyyy!

SB 260 PSYCHOLOGICAL SUPPLEMENTS - sooner than we think!

 The criminal defense Attorney assigned to the SB 260 hearing (before my hearing) assured me that the inmate had recently been given an updated Psychological Supplement that took into consideration all the "Hallmarks of a Youth".  He stated that although the inmate had his last Psychological risk assessment completed August 2013, the inmate received a Supplement in December 2013 - only 4 months after the FAD Risk assessment Evaluation was complete in order to address the "Hallmarks of Youth". This requires the Doctor to accord great weight to the inmate's age and circumstances at the time of the life crime. "Hallmarks of youth" include immaturity, impulsivity, recklessness, lessened responsibility, lessened ability to anticipate and appreciate consequences, immune to punishment, susceptibility to negative family/peer influences, and lessened capacity to  overcome (or escape) dysfunctional home environments or crime-producing settings.

This short Notice for a Psychological Supplement was unexpected since BPH had claimed that if the Risk assessment was less than 1 year old - they would not be able to re-do another Risk Assessment in such a short period of time. BPH re-iterated that the Panel would give "great weight" to the Hallmarks of Youth. Inmates should be ready to receive a visit from the BPH's Psychologist, for any upcoming YOP Hearings.

A)  If inmate are serving a determinate sentence, they will be eligible for a YOPH @ 15 years.
B)  If inmate are serving a life sentence of less than 25-life, they will be eligible for a YOPH @ 20 years.
C) If inmate are serving a life sentence of 25 or more-life, they will be eligible for a YOPH @ 25 years.