Thursday, December 31, 2015

In re Charles Riley (12/3/15): Court overrules Governor's reversal of Board's parole grant

In re Charles Riley (12/3/15)  (Marin County Super. Ct. No. SC181491A) A145041
In the Court of Appeal of State of Ca. 1st Appellate District, Division 2

This case just came down in December, overruling the Governor's reversal of the Board's parole grant for Charles Riley down since 1976.  The decision was issued one day after oral argument (Yes!), and is effective immediately. 

LEGAL BEE corner:
Unfortunately the case is Not published (thus, can not be cited), but it is still good reading (See Justice Kline, of the 1st DCA).  Michael Satris (Prison Law extraordinaire Attorney) was the Appointed Counsel.  Basis of the decision? SURPRISE SURPRISE --->  No evidence supporting the Governor's conclusion.

Charles Riley, a life prisoner, appeals from the Governor’s reversal of the decision the Board of Parole Hearing (Board) granting him a parole date. Riley was in 1976 convicted of first degree murder of the parents of his then girlfriend, Marlene Olive. He was originally sentenced to death, but while his case was on appeal, the California Supreme Court declared the statutory death penalty scheme unconstitutional (Rockwell v. Superior Court (1976) 18 Cal.3d 420) and the Court of Appeal modified petitioner’s sentence to 25 years to life on each count, said terms to run concurrently. Riley’s minimum eligible parole date was set at seven years, June 27, 1982. He has now been incarcerated for more than 40 years.

Riley claims the Governor’s reversal of the Board’s grant of parole in 2014 is not supported by any evidence and an abuse of discretion. A sub-issue was that the Board’s increase of the interval for parole consideration after a Governor’s reversal from 12 months [after the last Board hearing] to 18 months was an Arbitrary infringement of Riley’s right to an annual parole consideration (because he was sentenced under the Indeterminate Sentence Law) that violated his federal and state constitutional rights to due process and to be free of ex post facto punishment.

MAIN ISSUE: The Court agreed and vacated the Governor's reversal. vacate the Governor’s decision, grant Riley’s petition for writ of habeas corpus, and direct the Board to release Riley pursuant to the conditions set forth in its decision of September 19, 2014, granting him parole and setting a release date.

The Governor’s decision reversing the Board decision granting Riley parole is
vacated. Riley’s petition for habeas corpus is granted. The Board’s grant of parole is
reinstated and the Board is directed to conduct its usual proceedings for release on parole.
(In re Lira (2014) 58 Cal.4th 573, 582.)

Considering that, according to the Board, Riley’s adjusted base term (24 years), increased by aggravating factors and enhancements11 and reduced by his total postconviction and pre-prison credits (12 years and 7 months), entitled him to a July 1, 1987, “release date,” which was more than 28 years ago, this opinion shall in the interests of justice be final as to this court immediately. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.387(b)(3)(A).)