SB 260, as amended, Hancock. Youth offender parole hearings.
Existing law provides that the Secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation or the Board of Parole Hearings, or both, may, for specified reasons, recommend to the court that a prisoner’s sentence be recalled, and that a court may recall a prisoner’s sentence. When a defendant who was under 18 years of age at the time of the commission of a crime has served at least 15 years of his or her sentence, existing law allows the defendant to submit a petition for recall and resentencing, and authorizes the court, in its discretion, to recall the sentence and to resentence the defendant, provided that the new sentence is not greater than the initial sentence.
This bill would require the Board of Parole Hearings to conduct a youth offender parole hearing to consider release of offenders who committed specified crimes prior to being 18
years of age and who were sentenced to state prison. The bill would
begin delete require parole consideration to be givenend delete during the 15th year of incarceration if the person meeting these criteria received a determinate sentence, during the 20th year if the person received a sentence that was less than 25 years to life, and during the 25th year of incarceration if the person received a sentence that was 25 years to life. The bill would require the board, in reviewing a prisoner’s suitability for parole, to give great weight to the diminished culpability of juveniles as compared to adults, the hallmark features of youth, and any subsequent growth and increased maturity of the prisoner in accordance with relevant case law. The bill would require that, in
assessing growth and maturity, psychological evaluations and risk assessment instruments, if used by the board, be administered by licensed psychologists employed by the board and take into consideration the diminished culpability of juveniles as compared to that of adults, the hallmark features of youth, and any subsequent growth and increased maturity of the individual. The bill would permit family members, friends, school personnel, faith leaders, and representatives from community-based organizations with knowledge about the young person prior to the crime or his or her growth and maturity since the commission of the crime to submit statements for review by the begin delete board and would permit the individual to designate one person to attend the youth offender parole hearing and read a brief statement.end delete
Existing law requires the board to meet with each inmate sentenced pursuant to certain provisions of law during his or her 3rd year of incarceration for the purpose of reviewing his or her file, making recommendations, and documenting activities and conduct pertinent to granting or withholding postconviction credit.
This bill would instead require the board to meet with those inmates, including those who are eligible to be considered for parole pursuant to a youth offender parole hearing, during the 6th year prior to the inmate’s minimum eligible parole release date. The bill would also require the board to provide an inmate additional, specified information during this consultation, including individualized recommendations regarding the inmate’s work assignments, rehabilitative programs, and institutional behavior, and to provide those findings and recommendations, in writing, to the inmate within 30 days following the consultation.
begin delete alsoend delete added by Proposition 8, adopted June 8, 1982, and amended by Proposition 36, adopted November 6, 2012, commonly known as the Three Strikes law, requires increased penalties for certain recidivist offenders in addition to any other enhancement or penalty provisions that may apply, including individuals with current and prior convictions of a serious felony, as specified.
This bill would exempt from its provisions inmates who were sentenced pursuant to the Three Strikes law or sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: no.
The people of the State of California do enact as follows:
The Legislature finds and declares that, as stated
2by the United States Supreme Court in Miller v. Alabama (2012)
3183 L.Ed.2d 407, “only a relatively small proportion of
4adolescents” who engage in illegal activity “develop entrenched
5patterns of problem behavior,” and that “developments in
6psychology and brain science continue to show fundamental
7differences between juvenile and adult minds,” including “parts
8of the brain involved in behavior control.” The Legislature
9recognizes that youthfulness both lessens a juvenile’s moral
10culpability and enhances the prospect that, as a youth matures into
11an adult and neurological development occurs, these individuals
12can become contributing members of society. The purpose of this
13act is to establish a parole eligibility mechanism that provides a
14person serving a sentence for crimes that he or she committed as
P4 1a juvenile the opportunity to obtain release when he or she has
2shown that he or she has been rehabilitated and gained maturity,
3in accordance with the decision of the California Supreme Court
4in People v. Caballero (2012) 55 Cal.4th 262 and the decisions of
5the United States Supreme Court in Graham v. Florida (2010) 560
6U.S. 48, and Miller v. Alabama (2012) 183 L.Ed.2d 407. Nothing
7in this act is intended to undermine the California Supreme Court’s
8holdings in In re Shaputis (2011) 53 Cal.4th 192, In re Lawrence
9(2008) 44 Cal.4th 1181, and subsequent cases. It is the intent of
10the Legislature to create a process by which growth and maturity
11of youthful offenders can be assessed and a meaningful opportunity
12for release established.
Section 3041 of the Penal Code is amended to read:
(a) In the case of any inmate sentenced pursuant to any
15law, other than Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 1170) of
16Title 7 of Part 2, the Board of Parole Hearings shall meet with
17each inmate during the sixth year prior to the inmate’s minimum
18eligible parole release date for the purposes of reviewing and
19documenting the inmate’s activities and conduct pertinent to both
20parole eligibility and to the granting or withholding of
21postconviction credit. During this consultation, the board shall
22provide the inmate information about the parole hearing process,
23legal factors relevant to his or her suitability or unsuitability for
24parole, and individualized recommendations for the inmate
25regarding his or her work assignments, rehabilitative programs,
26and institutional behavior. Within 30 days following the
27consultation, the board shall issue its positive and negative findings
28and recommendations to the inmate in writing. One year prior to
29the inmate’s minimum eligible parole release date a panel of two
30or more commissioners or deputy commissioners shall again meet
31with the inmate and shall normally set a parole release date as
32provided in Section 3041.5. No more than one member of the panel
33shall be a deputy commissioner. In the event of a tie vote, the
34matter shall be referred for an en banc review of the record that
35was before the panel that rendered the tie vote. Upon en banc
36review, the board shall vote to either grant or deny parole and
37render a statement of decision. The en banc review shall be
38conducted pursuant to subdivision (e). The release date shall be
39set in a manner that will provide uniform terms for offenses of
40similar gravity and magnitude with respect to their threat to the
P5 1public, and that will comply with the sentencing rules that the
2Judicial Council may issue and any sentencing information relevant
3to the setting of parole release dates. The board shall establish
4criteria for the setting of parole release dates and in doing so shall
5consider the number of victims of the crime for which the inmate
6was sentenced and other factors in mitigation or aggravation of
7the crime. At least one commissioner of the panel shall have been
8present at the last preceding meeting, unless it is not feasible to
9do so or where the last preceding meeting was the initial meeting.
10Any person on the hearing panel may request review of any
11decision regarding parole for an en banc hearing by the board. In
12case of a review, a majority vote in favor of parole by the board
13members participating in an en banc review is required to grant
14parole to any inmate.
15(b) The panel or the board, sitting en banc, shall set a release
16date unless it determines that the gravity of the current convicted
17offense or offenses, or the timing and gravity of current or past
18convicted offense or offenses, is such that consideration of the
19public safety requires a more lengthy period of incarceration for
20this individual, and that a parole date, therefore, cannot be fixed
21at this meeting. After the effective date of this subdivision, any
22decision of the parole panel finding an inmate suitable for parole
23shall become final within 120 days of the date of the hearing.
24During that period, the board may review the panel’s decision.
25The panel’s decision shall become final pursuant to this subdivision
26unless the board finds that the panel made an error of law, or that
27the panel’s decision was based on an error of fact, or that new
28information should be presented to the board, any of which when
29corrected or considered by the board has a substantial likelihood
30of resulting in a substantially different decision upon a rehearing.
31In making this determination, the board shall consult with the
32commissioners who conducted the parole consideration hearing.
33No decision of the parole panel shall be disapproved and referred
34for rehearing except by a majority vote of the board, sitting en
35banc, following a public meeting.
36(c) For the purpose of reviewing the suitability for parole of
37those inmates eligible for parole under prior law at a date earlier
38than that calculated under Section 1170.2, the board shall appoint
39panels of at least two persons to meet annually with each inmate
40until the time the person is released pursuant to proceedings or
P6 1reaches the expiration of his or her term as calculated under Section
3(d) It is the intent of the Legislature that, during times when
4there is no backlog of inmates awaiting parole hearings, life parole
5consideration hearings, or life rescission hearings, hearings will
6be conducted by a panel of three or more members, the majority
7of whom shall be commissioners. The board shall report monthly
8on the number of cases where an inmate has not received a
9completed initial or subsequent parole consideration hearing within
1030 days of the hearing date required by subdivision (a) of Section
113041.5 or paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 3041.5, unless
12the inmate has waived the right to those timeframes. That report
13shall be considered the backlog of cases for purposes of this
14section, and shall include information on the progress toward
15eliminating the backlog, and on the number of inmates who have
16waived their right to the above timeframes. The report shall be
17made public at a regularly scheduled meeting of the board and a
18written report shall be made available to the public and transmitted
19to the Legislature quarterly.
20(e) For purposes of this section, an en banc review by the board
21means a review conducted by a majority of commissioners holding
22office on the date the matter is heard by the board. An en banc
23review shall be conducted in compliance with the following:
24(1) The commissioners conducting the review shall consider
25the entire record of the hearing that resulted in the tie vote.
26(2) The review shall be limited to the record of the hearing. The
27record shall consist of the transcript or audiotape of the hearing,
28written or electronically recorded statements actually considered
29by the panel that produced the tie vote, and any other material
30actually considered by the panel. New evidence or comments shall
31not be considered in the en banc proceeding.
32(3) The board shall separately state reasons for its decision to
33grant or deny parole.
34(4) A commissioner who was involved in the tie vote shall be
35recused from consideration of the matter in the en banc review.
Section 3046 of the Penal Code is amended to read:
(a) No prisoner imprisoned under a life sentence may
38be paroled until he or she has served the greater of the following:
39(1) A term of at least seven calendar years.
P7 1(2) A term as established pursuant to any other provision of law
2that establishes a minimum term or minimum period of
3confinement under a life sentence before eligibility for parole.
4(b) If two or more life sentences are ordered to run consecutively
5to each other pursuant to Section 669, no prisoner so imprisoned
6may be paroled until he or she has served the term specified in
7subdivision (a) on each of the life sentences that are ordered to run
9(c) Notwithstanding subdivisions (a) and (b), a prisoner found
10suitable for parole pursuant to a youth offender parole hearing as
11described in Section 3051 shall be paroled regardless of the manner
12in which the board set release dates pursuant to subdivision (a) of
13Section 3041, subject to subdivision (b) of Section 3041 and
14Sections 3041.1 and 3041.2, as applicable.
15(d) The Board of Prison Terms shall, in considering a parole
16for a prisoner, consider all statements and recommendations which
17may have been submitted by the judge, district attorney, and sheriff,
18pursuant to Section 1203.01, or in response to notices given under
19Section 3042, and recommendations of other persons interested
20in the granting or denying of the parole. The board shall enter on
21its order granting or denying parole to these prisoners, the fact that
22the statements and recommendations have been considered by it.
Section 3051 is added to the Penal Code, to read:
(a) (1) A youth offender parole hearing is a hearing by
25the Board of Parole Hearings for the purpose of reviewing the
26parole suitability of any prisoner who was under 18 years of age
27at the time of his or her controlling offense.
28(2) For the purposes of this section, the following definitions
30(A) “Incarceration” means detention in a city or county jail, a
31local juvenile facility, a mental health facility, a Division of
32Juvenile Justice facility, or a Department of Corrections and
34(B) “Controlling offense” means the offense or enhancement
begin delete theend delete sentencing court imposed the longest term of
37(b) (1) A person who was convicted of a controlling offense
38that was committed before the person had attained 18 years of age
39and for which the sentence is a determinate sentence shall be
begin delete consideredend delete for release on parole at a youth offender parole
P8 1hearing by the board during his or her 15th year of incarceration,
2 unless previously released pursuant to other statutory provisions.
3(2) A person who was convicted of a controlling offense that
4was committed before the person had attained 18 years of age and
5for which the sentence is a life term of less than 25 years to life
begin delete consideredend delete for release on parole by the board
7during his or her 20th year of incarceration at a youth offender
8parole hearing, unless previously released or entitled to an earlier
9parole consideration hearing pursuant to other statutory provisions.
10(3) A person who was convicted of a controlling offense that
11was committed before the person had attained 18 years of age and
12for which the sentence is a life term of 25 years to life shall be
begin delete consideredend delete for release on parole by the board during his
14or her 25th year of incarceration at a youth offender parole hearing,
15unless previously released or entitled to an earlier parole
16consideration hearing pursuant to other statutory provisions.
17(c) An individual subject to this section shall meet with the
18board pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 3041.
19(d) The board shall conduct a youth offender parole hearing to
20consider release. At the youth offender parole hearing, the board
21shall release the individual on parole as provided in Section 3041,
22except that the board shall act in accordance with subdivision (c)
23of Section 4801.
24(e) The youth offender
parole hearing to consider release shall
25provide for a meaningful opportunity to obtain release. The board
26shall review and, as necessary, revise existing regulations and
27adopt new regulations regarding determinations of suitability made
28pursuant to this section, subdivision (c) of Section 4801, and other
29related topics, consistent with relevant case law, in order to provide
30that meaningful opportunity for release.
31(f) (1) In assessing growth and maturity, psychological
32evaluations and risk assessment instruments, if used by the board,
33shall be administered by licensed psychologists employed by the
34board and shall take into consideration the diminished culpability
35of juveniles as compared to that of adults, the hallmark features
36of youth, and any subsequent growth and increased maturity of
38(2) Family members, friends, school personnel, faith leaders,
39and representatives from community-based organizations with
40knowledge about the individual before the crime or his or her
P9 1growth and maturity since the time of the crime may submit
2statements for review by the board.
3(3) An individual subject to this section may designate one
4person who may attend the youth offender parole hearing, if not
5otherwise barred by law, regulation, or existing procedure from
6the location of the hearing, who may read a brief statement.
29 7(4)end delete
8 Nothing in this section is intended to alter the rights of
begin delete aend delete parole hearings.
10(g) If parole is not granted, the board shall set the time for a
11subsequent youth offender parole hearing in accordance with
12paragraph (3) of subdivision (b) of Section 3041.5. In exercising
13its discretion pursuant to paragraph (4) of subdivision (b) and
14subdivision (d) of Section 3041.5, the board shall consider the
15factors in subdivision (c) of Section 4801. No subsequent youth
16offender parole hearing shall be necessary if the offender is released
17pursuant to other statutory provisions prior to the date of the
19(h) This section shall not apply to cases in which sentencing
20occurs pursuant to
begin delete the Three Strikes lawend delete
22 or in which an individual was sentenced to life in prison without
23the possibility of parole.
28(i) The board shall complete all youth offender parole hearings
29for individuals who become entitled to have their parole suitability
30considered at a youth offender parole hearing on the effective date
31of this section by July 1, 2015.
Section 4801 of the Penal Code is amended to read:
(a) The Board of Parole Hearings may report to the
34Governor, from time to time, the names of any and all persons
35imprisoned in any state prison who, in its judgment, ought to have
36a commutation of sentence or be pardoned and set at liberty on
37account of good conduct, or unusual term of sentence, or any other
38cause, including evidence of intimate partner battering and its
39effects. For purposes of this section, “intimate partner battering
40and its effects” may include evidence of the nature and effects of
P10 1physical, emotional, or mental abuse upon the beliefs, perceptions,
2or behavior of victims of domestic violence
begin delete whereend delete it appears the
3criminal behavior was the result of that victimization.
4(b) (1) The board, in reviewing a prisoner’s suitability for parole
5pursuant to Section 3041.5, shall give great weight to any
6information or evidence that, at the time of the commission of the
7crime, the prisoner had experienced intimate partner battering, but
8was convicted of an offense that occurred prior to August 29, 1996.
9The board shall state on the record the information or evidence
10that it considered pursuant to this subdivision, and the reasons for
11the parole decision. The board shall annually report to the
12Legislature and the Governor on the cases the board considered
13pursuant to this subdivision during the previous year, including
14the board’s decisions and the specific and detailed findings of its
15investigations of these cases.
16(2) The report for the Legislature to be submitted pursuant to
17paragraph (1) shall be submitted pursuant to Section 9795 of the
19(3) The fact that a prisoner has presented evidence of intimate
20partner battering cannot be used to support a finding that the
21prisoner lacks insight into his or her crime and its causes.
22(c) When a prisoner committed his or her controlling offense,
23as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 3051, prior to attaining 18
24years of age, the board, in reviewing a prisoner’s suitability for
25parole pursuant to Section 3041.5, shall give great weight to the
26diminished culpability of juveniles as compared to adults, the
27hallmark features of youth, and any subsequent growth and
28increased maturity of the prisoner in accordance with relevant case