Monday, November 20, 2017

Ca. Santa Clara Sup. Court got it right: "Preponderance Of the Evidence" is the correct BPH standard

In the United States legal system, there are several Standards of Proof that must be met before the judge (or decision maker) decides who wins a case. Below are definitions of the standards, in order to better understand a recent (11/14/17) Superior Court Judge Order from Santa Clara. The Judge Granted an inmate's Habeas Corpus Petition, based on the Board of Parole Hearings, using the wrong Standard of Proof during the hearing.

The Preponderance of the Evidence is a standard of evidence, or standard of proof, normally used in civil trials vs. criminal trials.Although not the law, we sometime state the standard of proof, in a numerical value. Here the requirement would be that more then 50% of the evidence points to something. For example: At the end of civil case A v. B, 51% of the evidence favors A. Thus, A has a Preponderance of the Evidence, A has met their burden of proof, and A will win the case. The English expression "More likely than not" is also sometimes used for describing this burden of proof.

If we extrapolate this method to the Parole Suitability Hearings, then it means if Parole is Denied - the unsuitability factors must be found by a Preponderance of the Evidence. In other words, the Board is required to weigh all the relevant evidence and if 51% of the evidence favors unsuitability then the Board can deny a parole grant. They should NOT use the highly differential standard of "some evidence"  used by the Court. If we ventured a numerical value the "some evidence", it may require maybe only 5-10% of the evidence favors unsuitability. (Note : Editor's opinion on this "some evidence" numerical value)

The next most stringent category is “Clear and Convincing Evidence,” which is used in some criminal trials, civil cases, and now in the Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) when applying Marsy's Law length of Denial (3 to 15 years). A medium level of burden of proof which is a more rigorous standard to meet than the preponderance of the evidence standard, but a less rigorous standard to meet than proving evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. 

Finally,  the criminal courts use the highest standard of guilty “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt”. Those legal authorities who venture to assign a numerical value to “beyond a reasonable doubt” place it in the certainty range of 95%.

Given all these Proof of Standard definition (above), Hon. Eric S. Geffon of the Santa Clara California Superior Court  ORDERED (11/14/17) the Petitioner (Inmate ORLANDO CRUZ VASQUEZ) ) be afforded a new Parole Hearing using the proper Burden of Proof standard of  Preponderance of the Evidence.  Attorney NOTE: this case is not citeable since it is only at the Superior court level and obviously not a Published case. To get a copy of the In re Vasquez Order, please email our law office at (my legal assistant)  use the SUBJECT line: VASQUEZ ORDER request.

Make sure when you hire a Parole Hearing attorney that they use the Proper Law [when fighting for your Loved one] and also knows which Standards of Proof to apply at the Parole Hearing- it can make the difference between a Grant and a Denial!