Brown 2.0: Releasing lifers at record pace

Dec 16th, 2013 | By | Category: Paco's Podium, Parole, Parole Reform, Politics-Relevant;, Spotlight
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Meet The Doorman

So far, Jerry "The Doorman"  Brown has released more Lifers than total grants of parole over the past 30 years.

So far, “The Doorman” has released more Lifers than all grants of parole over the prior 30 years. These days, parole is all about VOLUME.

Record Numbers Of Life-Term Inmates Granted Parole In California

Timm Herdt | Ventura County Star
…Because of two Supreme Court decisions in 2008, record numbers of life-term inmates are being granted parole after undergoing intensive hearings in which they are found to be suitable for parole.

Since those rulings, there have been 2,462 grants of parole to life-term inmates. Over the previous 30 years combined, there had been 1,821. Last year alone, 670 such inmates were granted parole, a record.

Even with those climbing numbers of paroles, however, the process remains very selective. About 85 percent of parole hearings still end in denial…

“Brown has reviewed 130 decisions by the Board of Parole Hearings granting release to murderers sentenced to life with possible parole and has approved 106, or 81 percent, according to the governor’s office. He has vetoed 22 paroles and sent two back to the board for new hearings.
In comparison, former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger approved about 30 percent of lifers’ paroles. Former Gov. Gray Davis – who declared early in his term that “if you take someone else’s life, forget it” – vetoed 98 percent of murderers’ parole cases he considered.”

Brown paroles more lifers than did predecessors -SF Chronicle, April 28, 2011

During his tenure, then-Gov. Gray Davis virtually eliminated the possibility of parole. Davis vowed that no murderer would ever be set free under his watch. He relented only slightly, and reversed all but 9 of the 371 parole grants he reviewed…

The high court ruled in 2002 that judges could review parole decisions to make certain they were based on “some evidence.” That was followed in 2008 by two decisions that delineated what that evidence must be — basically, “the current dangerousness” of an inmate…

During the first two years of his term, Gov. Jerry Brown allowed 971 grants of parole to stand and reversed 162. An administration official who works on the team that reviews grants of parole said Brown is committed to following the law, but his first priority is protecting public safety…(Full text at Ventura County Star)

Consistently missing from the dialog when discussing lifer parole grants is the Parole Board itself, the Governor’s role in selecting it and the Executives’ ability to control the flow of recommendations.

Part of the State’s laurels system is the Governor’s authority to seat a new Board of Parole Hearings.  Those commissioners are his political appointees who are of like mind.  Thus the Governor controls the spigot.

George Deukmejian never had the opportunity to allow “971 grants of parole to stand” –His Board of Prison Terms rarely granted parole.

Gray Davis ignored his Board.

Under Arnold Schwarzenegger:

  • The Board of Parole Hearings granted release dates to 2113 life sentenced inmates from the time Governor Schwarzenegger took office on November 17, 2003 through December 2010.
  • This equates to 1,563 more grants given under the Schwarzenegger administration, than over the previous 14 years under two different Governors. (Source: Crime Victims Action Alliance)

So, Jerry Brown doesn’t simply “allow” grants of parole formulated by some nebulous council–His hand-picked hacks grant parole per his policies from which he picks the winners, as it were, just as Schwarzenegger did.  Were the Deukmejian crew still seated, neither Brown nor his predecessor would have broken a single record.

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5 Comments to “Brown 2.0: Releasing lifers at record pace”

  1. bulldogger says:

    Boxter you’re right they are the best parolees. Sounds like more are going to be coming our way.

  2. Boxter says:

    Send the lifers my way, Bulldogger. They are by far the easiest cases to supervise. I had one old man who paroled in his late 70s who smoked a guy he caught in the act of sleeping with his wife after a long day at work when he was in his 40s. The guy snapped–left the scene, returned with a gun; thus, malice aforethought/premeditation. Probably didn’t have the money to hire a good attorney who would have no doubt argued–and probably won a verdict for murder 2, in which case he would have likely gotten 15 to life. This man served 29 years. When he got out, I thought I met my grandpa and entered Heaven–very polite and quiet demeanor (“yes sir, no sir”); articulate, no prison speak, not one tattoo, and he had a mellow dog he picked up from the local humane society he named Bobo. Until I sadly had to transfer his case recently, he was the ring leader/mentor of the infamous senior citizen’s walking club at the local Mt. Shasta mall. Prior to his crime, he had no criminal record. He was a teacher with a Masters degree raising two then young kids with his promiscuous wife. Point is, I have other lifers like him who are a breath of fresh air as I daily carry out my lawful duties. When such a “lifer” is compared to say, a 22 year-old tweeker; sleeved; who does 211s to support a bad habit; is disrespectful and doesn’t play nice; and who perhaps has a needle sticking out of the side of his neck 5 minutes after I leave his residence; who plays the cat and mouse game called couch surfing . . . Oh, Land of Hades, yes, I’ll take lifers any day, thank you.

    • pacovilla says:

      I briefly had 1 lifer on my caseload—Mondo compliant. Of course, programming Lifers are the best inmates to supervise so it only follows they are compliant parolees.

      The 2 factors the Board, Governor and Court should ALWAYS weigh are 1) The impact of parole on the victims’ survivors and 2) The generation of people who were never born because their prospective predecessors were needlessly murdered.

      I think cons like Roy Butler, whose suit just spawned the settlement noted in Today’s Spotlight, are good candidates for parole but I fear this is yet another slippery slope: CDCR ALWAYS screws the pooch when it signs consent decrees…

  3. bulldogger says:

    I have never had so many lifers on my caseload. A POS who mudered an LAPD cop in 1985 has a hearing in Feb let’s hope the board and or moonbeam pull their heads out of their asses and keeps the POS locked up.

  4. Bob Walsh says:

    When you elect a liberal, you get liberal policies. Elections have consequences.