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: