Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Gilman v. Brown (2/22/2016): Reverse the District Crt & finds Marsy's Law P9 & P89 still valid.

The long awaited GILMAN Decision from the Oral Argument that presented last Summer 2015.
See GILMAN  (2/22/2016)  Decision at Attorney Letarte's website

Gilman v. Brown (2/22/2016)     2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 3035
Plaintiff: (The Inmates) Monica Knoxx (argued), et al. She presented a very good Oral argument last year at the 9th Circuit in San Francisco, California;  WATCH 2015  Oral argument.

Defendants: (The People) Defendant: Christopher John Rench (argued) and Maria G. Chan, Deputy Attorneys General, California Department of Justice, Sacramento, California, et al.

Circuit Judges were Lawrence K. Karlton, Senior District Judge, Presiding Before: Susan P. Graber, Consuelo M. Callahan, and Carlos T. Bea. 

Short Summary: Changes to California's parole system through Prop 89 and Prop 9 did not result in ex post facto violations.Thus, Marsys' Law (aka Prop 9) is still valid law as is P89, the 1988 Governor's veto power to reverse the Board of Parole Hearing's decision. 

Prior District Court's Bench Trial was REVERSED:
After a bench trial, the district court found in favor of the plaintiffs. As to the class members who were convicted of crimes committed before the passage of Proposition 89, the district court enjoined the Governor from imposing a longer sentence than that required by application of the same factors the Board of Parole Hearings is required to consider. The district court further ordered the Board of Parole Hearings, after denying a class member parole, to schedule that inmate’s next parole hearing according to the deferral
periods in place before the passage of Proposition 9.

BOTTOM LINE: The 9th Circuit Court reversed the District Court's decision that was previously favorable to the inmates. The panel reversed the district court’s bench trial judgment and remanded with instructions to enter judgment for the State of California in an action brought by California inmates under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 seeking to stop the application of Propositions 89 and 9, which had amended the State’s Constitution and Penal Code as it relates to the parole system.

The 9th Circuit Decision  goes through some great mental gymnastic to state that the District Court applied the wrong standard, it committed legal error, and the resulting factual findings are clearly erroneous. Basically stating that the statistics and anecdotes derived from the Rutherford litigation, are irrelevant in part because those (pre-prop9) inmates could have been granted a hearing via the PTA procedure. 9th Circuit goes on to say that any suggestion that Proposition 9 created a significant risk of lengthened incarceration for those inmates is thus just conjectural!

The 9th Cir. states that the district court did not point to evidence that Governors had reversed the Board other than on the basis of the same factors which the parole authority is required to consider.  Cal. Const. art. V, § 8(b). Nor did Gilman offer evidence showing that he would have received parole before the enactment of Proposition 89, and that Proposition 89 changed that result. Therefore, Proposition 89 remains only a transfer of decision making power, which does not violate the Ex Post Facto Clause.

STAY TUNED: After communication with Monica Knox  (Federal Defender for Inmates)- it appears she will petition for a rehearing En Banc on both the P9 and P89..... and possibly Appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court on any of the viable claims.        GO get them Monica!