Monday, February 21, 2022

People v. Williams (2021) 71 Cal.App.5th 1029: Parole Revocation Report required for a Lifer who Violates Parole

Case Name: People v. Williams (2021) 71 Cal.App.5th 1029, District: 1 DCA , Division: 1 , Case #: A159914 Opinion Date: 11/23/2021

A big Thank You to the CCAP folks who review and summarize many of the Appellate cases. The Case Holding below is from CCAP and reproduce here for Education Purpose.

This case is specific to Lifers who violate Parole after being release to the free community. Yes, this happens! (but not too often).  All Parole Revocation Hearings are no longer done in the county jail by Commissioners, they are reviewed in Court with the District Attorney having the choice to file a Revocation Petition. As of 2013, the BPH no longer adjudicate revocation proceeding but as a LIFER, BPH still controls the case.

If  the  parolee  is  subject  to  Life  parole  under  sections  3000(b)(4)  and  3000.1  for  murder  or  designated  sex  offenses,  and  the  court  finds  the  parolee  has  violated the law or a condition of parole, the parolee "shall be remanded to the custody of  [CDCR]   and   the   jurisdiction   of   the   [BPH]   for   the   purpose   of   future   parole  consideration."    (§  3000.08(h).)    Thereafter  the  BPH  will  schedule  a  hearing  within  12  months to determine parole eligibility.  (§ 3000.1(d).). These hearing are known as Reconsideration Hearings within BPH (a.k.a. PC 3000). They are held every year and not subject to Marsy’s Law, which have the 3 to 15 year denial periods, at a Parole Suitability Hearing.

Here the  Parolee was no longer in Custody. The Court chose to make a ruling; Hence, exercised its discretion to address the merits because the issue is of continuing public interest and likely to recur yet evade appellate review.

 Case Holding: Even where imprisonment is mandatory following a parole violation by a person serving a life term, the court must obtain the parole agency's written report under Penal Code section 1203.2, subdivision (b)(1).

Defendant was on parole from a life term sentence. He was found in violation of parole and remanded to prison, as required by Penal Code section 3000.08, subdivision (h). On appeal, defendant argued the trial court erred in refusing to refer the matter to the parole agency for a written report (Pen. Code, § 1203.2, subd. (b)(1)) before ruling on the revocation petition.

 Held: Appeal dismissed as moot, but merits reached. Where a parole revocation petition is filed by the parole agency, section 3000.08, subdivision (f) requires that the petition be accompanied by “a written report that contains additional information regarding the petition, including the relevant terms and conditions of parole, the circumstances of the alleged underlying violation, the history and background of the parolee, and any recommendations.”

 Where, as here, the revocation petition is filed by the prosecutor, a report need not accompany the petition. However, a report is still required. Under section 1203.2, subdivision (b)(1), once the court receives a revocation petition filed by the district attorney, it must refer the petition to the parole agency for a written report, and it must consider that report before ruling on the petition. The statute contains no exception for inmates serving life sentences. Although section 3000.08, subdivision (h) makes revocation mandatory if the court finds a lifetime parolee has violated parole, requiring a report in the case of lifetime parolees is not absurd or pointless. While the court cannot dismiss the petition, it is conceivable that the contents of the report could persuade the district attorney to withdraw the petition. The report also includes other background information that might assist in the trial court's determination whether parole was violated.


 The full opinion is available on the court's website here: