What can I do when the Board or the Governor refuses to grant parole?
In the event that the Board unreasonably denies parole, or in the alternative if the Board grants a date and the Governor reverses the grant, the inmate needs to file a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the Superior Court in the county in which the life crime took place. Recent case law makes clear that the only reason for keeping people in prison beyond their base term is if there is some evidence they still pose a danger to society. The Board, nevertheless, often insists at looking only at a crime that happened 20 plus years ago and does not take into account that the person in front of them is, often times, no longer anything like the person who committed the crime. The Board cannot legally ignore a person’s accomplishments while in prison, his or her years of good behavior and favorable psychological reports, just because of something that happened many years ago. Courts have become more willing to intervene in the last ten years when there is no evidence on the record indicating that the inmate is currently a danger to society. The remedy is usually for the Board to be told to hold a new hearing and, unless something has happened since the hearing to indicate that the inmate poses a current threat, to find the inmate suitable. The courts will also intervene if the Board grants a date and the Governor reverses the date. Even when the most deserving inmate is granted parole, the Attorney General’s Office and the Governor may try to prevent it from happening. In this instance the court will often order the parole date reinstated. This usually results in immediate release.
Criminal Law • Trials • Appeals • Writs
Special Expertise in Murder and other Serious Felonies