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.