Thursday, August 27, 2020

CLEMENCY: Commutation, Compassionate or Medical release; HOW TO GET THE PROPER ATTENTION TO GET OUT!

To be considered in the plans, criteria and how to tap into the early releases actually happening in the wake of CoVid, it’s important to make yourself seen. As those criteria keep changing—almost daily, how do you bring yourself to the attention of those making these decisions? Get in the right "bucket".

 COMMUTATION:  People who have been convicted of a crime and are currently serving their sentence in California may apply for a commutation (reduction of sentence).  Applicants will be notified when the Governor takes action on a commutation application.  NOTE: If you submitted a commutation application to a prior governor and did not receive notice of a commutation grant, your application is deemed closed. You can re-submit a new application with THIS Governor Newsom. NOTE you can only file this Application - once every 3-year. If you want to retain an experienced law firm please contact the LAW OFFICE OF DIANE T. LETARTE (619-233-3688) or view our website RenegadeAttorney.Com

COMPASSIONATE RELEASE:  or recall of sentence, is available to California inmates who are terminally ill and have six month or less to live. Medical Parole is available to inmates who are incapacitated or in a vegetative state and requires 24-hour skilled nursing care.

MEDICAL RELEASE:  A medical parole hearing is a hearing to determine if an inmate who is permanently medically incapacitated should be placed in a licensed health care facility in the community. Eligible inmates are referred to the Board for an expanded medical parole hearing.

 This BLOG addresses more the COMMUTATION ASPECT: In deciding whether to grant a commutation, the Governor’s Office will carefully review each commutation application and consider:

  • the impact of a commutation on the community, including whether the grant is consistent with public safety and in the interests of justice;
  • the age and circumstances of the offense and the sentence imposed, and the age of the applicant at the time;
  • the applicant’s self-development and conduct since the offense, including whether the applicant has made use of available rehabilitative programs and has identified and addressed treatment needs;
  • the applicant’s need for a commutation; and
  • the applicant’s plans upon release from custody.

The Board of Parole Hearings (BPH), a division of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, investigates commutation applications. The investigation will include a review of the applicant’s criminal history records, court and police records, and records and information about the applicant’s period of incarceration from the applicant’s C-File and other sources.

Information provided on the commutation application can be used by CDCR’s statistical and research division to identify those individuals who qualify for consideration under release criteria, such as those with less than 5 years to serve, over the age of 65, with CoVid-sensitive medical needs, low CRA (or CSRA) scores, and more. As CDCR and the Governor look at various cohorts to find individuals within those groups who seem likely candidates for early release, those data points can place you in the ‘bucket’ of those being considered. Best advice from those in the know in Sacramento—put in a commutation petition, knowing it will be for reasons other than the Governor’s scrutiny for commutation. 

For decades commutations were a long shot, until about mid-way through former Gov. Edmund G. Brown’s term, when Brown began to use the commutation power to right some of the wrongs of sentencing. Current Gov. Gavin Newsom has continued that path, to some degree, and now, under the pressure of CoVid19 and overcrowding, commutation applications can provide a new avenue to at least consideration for release.

The Petition can be found on the Governor’s website, in the law library, probably from CDCR's counselors; present the factors of your situation that make you vulnerable to CoVid complications.

For Example: Are you over 65? Underlying medical conditions that make you ripe for CoVid complications (high blood pressure, COPED, diabetes, cancer, other ailments)? What’s your disciplinary history? What’s your Comprehensive Risk Assessment (CRA) rating (Low)? How long have you served? Are you up for consideration SB1437 (Felony Murder resentencing) per CA Penal Code 1170 (d) but the court hasn’t acted on your case yet? If you’re a Determinate Sentence inmate (DSL), do you have less than 12 months to serve? If you’re a Lifer with a 3 year denial and an Administrative Review (AR) already approved but the hearing date not yet arrived, point that out in your application. Are you seeking compassionate release, but the process hasn’t been completed? Have you received a terminal diagnosis, and been given a 12-month life expectancy from medical? Are you eligible to seek medical parole consideration?

All of these are factors that might put you in the spotlight for early release consideration. Make CDCR aware of them—sure, they can eventually work their way down to you, but cut to the chase, give them the info up front. No guarantee, but in these uncertain times, it pays to try everything.

----- Thank you to Vanessa at LSA for the Insight into some of the COMMUTATION information and the new Governor's factors along with the Medical overlay of  COVID19  in the mix.