California Legislature—2015–16 Regular Session

Assembly BillNo. 487


Introduced by Assembly Member Gonzalez

February 23, 2015


An act to amend Section 3041.5 of the Penal Code, relating to parole.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

AB 487, as introduced, Gonzalez. Parole hearings: notification of district attorneys.

Existing law provides that, one year prior to the minimum eligible parole release date of an inmate serving an indeterminate sentence, a panel of 2 or more commissioners or deputy commissioners of the Board of Parole Hearings shall meet with the inmate and set a parole release date, as specified. Existing law, as amended by Proposition 9, the Victim’s Bill of Rights Act of 2008: Marsy’s Law, at the November 4, 2008, statewide general election, establishes procedures at all hearings for the purpose of reviewing a prisoner’s parole suitability, or the setting, postponing, or rescinding of parole dates, and provides prisoners and victims specified rights at these hearings.

This bill would require notification of the district attorney of the county in which the offense was committed, or his or her designee, to receive notification of specified parole proceedings and would require nullification of action taken on the hearing advancement if the district attorney of the county in which the offense was committed, or his or her designee, and the victim are not notified.

Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: no.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

P2    1

SECTION 1.  

Section 3041.5 of the Penal Code is amended to
2read:

3

3041.5.  

(a) At all hearings for the purpose of reviewing a
4prisoner’s parole suitability, or the setting, postponing, or
5rescinding of parole dates, with the exception of en banc review
6of tie votes, the following shall apply:

7(1) At least 10 days prior to any hearing by the Board of Parole
8Hearings, the prisoner shall be permitted to review his or her file
9which will be examined by the board and shall have the opportunity
10to enter a written response to any material contained in the file.

11(2) The prisoner shall be permitted to be present, to ask and
12answer questions, and to speak on his or her own behalf. Neither
13the prisoner nor the attorney for the prisoner shall be entitled to
14ask questions of any person appearing at the hearing pursuant to
15subdivision (b) of Section 3043.

16(3) Unless legal counsel is required by some other provision of
17law, a person designated by the Department of Corrections and
18Rehabilitation shall be present to ensure that all facts relevant to
19the decision be presented, including, if necessary, contradictory
20assertions as to matters of fact that have not been resolved by
21departmental or other procedures.

22(4) The prisoner and any person described in subdivision (b) of
23Section 3043 shall be permitted to request and receive a
24stenographic record of all proceedings.

25(5) If the hearing is for the purpose of postponing or rescinding
26of parole dates, the prisoner shall have rights set forth in paragraphs
27(3) and (4) of subdivision (c) of Section 2932.

28(6) The board shall set a date to reconsider whether an inmate
29should be released on parole that ensures a meaningful
30consideration of whether the inmate is suitable for release on
31parole.

32(b) (1) Within 10 days following any meeting where a parole
33date has been set, the board shall send the prisoner a written
34statement setting forth his or her parole date, the conditions he or
35she must meet in order to be released on the date set, and the
36consequences of failure to meet those conditions.

37(2) Within 20 days following any meeting where a parole date
38has not been set, the board shall send the prisoner a written
P3    1statement setting forth the reason or reasons for refusal to set a
2parole date, and suggest activities in which he or she might
3participate that will benefit him or her while he or she is
4incarcerated.

5(3) The board shall schedule the next hearing, after considering
6the views and interests of the victim, as follows:

7(A) Fifteen years after any hearing at which parole is denied,
8unless the board finds by clear and convincing evidence that the
9criteria relevant to the setting of parole release dates enumerated
10in subdivision (a) of Section 3041 are such that consideration of
11the public and victim’s safety does not require a more lengthy
12period of incarceration for the prisoner than 10 additional years.

13(B) Ten years after any hearing at which parole is denied, unless
14the board finds by clear and convincing evidence that the criteria
15relevant to the setting of parole release dates enumerated in
16subdivision (a) of Section 3041 are such that consideration of the
17public and victim’s safety does not require a more lengthy period
18of incarceration for the prisoner than seven additional years.

19(C) Three years, five years, or seven years after any hearing at
20which parole is denied, because the criteria relevant to the setting
21of parole release dates enumerated in subdivision (a) of Section
223041 are such that consideration of the public and victim’s safety
23requires a more lengthy period of incarceration for the prisoner,
24but does not require a more lengthy period of incarceration for the
25prisoner than seven additional years.

26(4) The board may in its discretion, after considering the views
27and interests of the victimbegin insert and the district attorney of the county
28in which the offense was committedend insert
, advance a hearing set pursuant
29to paragraph (3) to an earlier date, when a change in circumstances
30or new information establishes a reasonable likelihood that
31consideration of the public and victim’s safety does not require
32the additional period of incarceration of the prisoner provided in
33paragraph (3).

34(5) Within 10 days of any board action resulting in the
35postponement of a previously set parole date, the board shall send
36the prisoner a written statement setting forth a new date and the
37reason or reasons for that action and shall offer the prisoner an
38opportunity for review of that action.

39(6) Within 10 days of any board action resulting in the
40rescinding of a previously set parole date, the board shall send the
P4    1prisoner a written statement setting forth the reason or reasons for
2that action, and shall schedule the prisoner’s next hearing in
3accordance with paragraph (3).

4(c) The board shall conduct a parole hearing pursuant to this
5section as a de novo hearing. Findings made and conclusions
6reached in a prior parole hearing shall be considered in but shall
7not be deemed to be binding upon subsequent parole hearings for
8an inmate, but shall be subject to reconsideration based upon
9changed facts and circumstances. When conducting a hearing, the
10board shall admit the prior recorded or memorialized testimony
11or statement of a victim or witness, upon request of the victim or
12if the victim or witness has died or become unavailable. At each
13hearing the board shall determine the appropriate action to be taken
14based on the criteria set forth inbegin delete paragraph (3) ofend delete subdivisionbegin delete (a)end delete
15begin insert (b)end insert of Section 3041.

16(d) (1) An inmate may request that the board exercise its
17discretion to advance a hearing set pursuant to paragraph (3) of
18subdivision (b) to an earlier date, by submitting a written request
19to the board, with notice, upon request, and a copy to thebegin insert district
20attorney of the county in which the offense was committed, or his
21or her representative, and to theend insert
victim which shall set forth the
22change in circumstances or new information that establishes a
23reasonable likelihood that consideration of the public safety does
24not require the additional period of incarceration of the inmate.
25begin insert The notice shall be forwarded to the district attorney and the victimend insert
26begin insert within 30 days of receipt of the inmate’s request.end insert

27(2) The board shall have sole jurisdiction, after considering the
28views and interests of thebegin insert district attorney of the county in which
29the offense was committed, or his or her representative, and theend insert

30 victim to determine whether to grant or deny a written request
31made pursuant to paragraph (1), and its decision shall be subject
32to review by a court or magistrate only for a manifest abuse of
33discretion by the board. The board shall have the power to
34summarily deny a request that does not comply with the provisions
35of this subdivision or that does not set forth a change in
36circumstances or new information as required in paragraph (1) that
37in the judgment of the board is sufficient to justify the action
38described in paragraph (4) of subdivision (b).

39(3) An inmate may make only one written request as provided
40in paragraph (1) during each three-year period. Following either
P5    1a summary denial of a request made pursuant to paragraph (1), or
2the decision of the board after a hearing described in subdivision
3(a) to not set a parole date, the inmate shall not be entitled to submit
4another request for a hearing pursuant to subdivision (a) until a
5three-year period of time has elapsed from the summary denial or
6decision of the board.

begin insert

7(4) Failure to notify the district attorney of the county in which
8the offense was committed, or his or her representative, or the
9victim of a hearing advancement described in paragraph (4) of
10subdivision (b) or paragraph (1) of this subdivision shall post pone
11any action being taken on the hearing advancement until the notice
12is properly made.

end insert


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